Uzbekistan is aiming to triple Malaysian arrivals from almost 4,500 in 2019 to 12,000 by this year-end, and has established various strategies, including leveraging Uzbekistan Airways, trade partnerships, and intensified consumer campaigns, to reach its goals.
Ravshan Usmanov, ambassador of Uzbekistan to Malaysia, underscored the pivotal role of Uzbekistan Airways in this endeavour. He said the airline had resumed flights from Tashkent to Kuala Lumpur on November 1, 2022, offering twice-weekly services, and will add a third service from October 30. Departures from Kuala Lumpur are scheduled for Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Uzbekistan Airways is presently the sole Central Asian carrier offering regular services to Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysian passport holders enjoy 30-day visa-free entry to Uzbekistan, making the destination an excellent starting point for exploring other Central Asian destinations.
Ravshan said Uzbekistan remains a relatively new destination for many Malaysian travellers and outbound travel agents. Located at the crossroads of the Great Silk Road, Uzbekistan has always charmed travellers from all over the world. Throughout centuries it was a melting pot of cultures and civilisations. World-famous pre-Islamic, Islamic and Buddhist shrines as well as modern tourism infrastructure in the cities of Bukhara, Samarkand, Khiva, Termez and Tashkent hold the potential of attracting tourists from various ethnic backgrounds from Malaysia.
To raise awareness of the destination, the embassy is planning a fam trip for outbound travel agents and invited media in conjunction with the Tashkent International Tourism Forum, a B2B2C travel mart taking place from November 15 to 17.
Recently, Uzbekistan had a pavilion at the MATTA Fair in Kuala Lumpur, during which six inbound agents from the country worked to create stronger brand awareness. It also invested in billboard advertisements in high-traffic areas of Kuala Lumpur and produced television documentaries highlighting Uzbekistan’s food, culture, and Islamic heritage.
Tagaeva Madina, founder of Another Travel, an inbound agent from Uzbekistan, shared that her company has primarily been catering to Muslim travellers from Malaysia interested in exploring the Islamic heritage and culture. However, at the recent MATTA Fair, she diversified her reach to the non-Muslim market, highlighting Uzbekistan’s historical and architectural monuments, as well as its appeal to food enthusiasts.