Uzbekistan sets eyes on Malaysian tourists

Uzbekistan is setting ambitious sights on attracting 12,000 tourists from Malaysia to its shores this year.

This marks a remarkable increase from last year’s inbound arrivals from Malaysia which was around 4,500 visitors. In 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, arrivals from Malaysia to Uzbekistan was around 4,300.

Landscape view of Ichan-Qala, the walled inner town of the historic city of Khiva

Central to Uzbekistan’s bold aspirations are the direct air links between Tashkent and Kuala Lumpur. Currently, Uzbekistan Airways operates three weekly flights utilising the A321neo aircraft from Tashkent to Kuala Lumpur. Otabek Akhmedov, general manager for Malaysia, described the load factor for this winter season as “very good”.

Adding to the accessibility, Batik Air initiated weekly services every Friday from Kuala Lumpur to Tashkent since mid-December 2023, and has plans to increase flight frequency to twice weekly from April 15.

Speaking to TTG Asia at the recent B2B Tourism Presentation programme that was jointly organised in Kuala Lumpur by Uzbekistan Airways and Smart Global Adventures (the passenger sales agent for Uzbekistan Airways), Uzbekistan’s ambassador to Malaysia, Karomidin Gadoev, expressed the embassy’s commitment to supporting airlines with direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Tashkent through collaborative marketing and promotional efforts.

The B2B Tourism Presentation event holds particular importance for Uzbekistan Airways, showcasing the carrier’s commitment to expanding tourism and its route network. Supported by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Kuala Lumpur, Gadoev opened the half-day programme which showcases Uzbekistan as a central hub in Central Asia to selected outbound travel agents from Malaysia.

He highlighted Uzbekistan’s allure, which lies in its rich history, captivating architecture, vibrant culture and delectable cuisine. Notably, Malaysia is one of the 93 countries benefitting from Uzbekistan’s visa-free policy.

He mentioned that the Embassy of Uzbekistan will actively organise roadshows in major Malaysian cities this year to increase awareness of the destination’s numerous attractions to Malaysians residing beyond Kuala Lumpur.

To further tap into the Muslim market, Gadoev aims to position Uzbekistan as an ideal stopover destination for Muslim Umra pilgrims.

Additionally, the embassy is dedicated to enhancing awareness of Khiva, within the Khorazm Region, among Malaysians. Despite its comparative obscurity to Tashkent, Bukhara, and Samarkand, Khiva boasts considerable potential as a tourism hotspot that will appeal to Malaysians of various ethnicities. This initiative is expected to contribute to the extension of the average length of stay for Malaysian visitors to Uzbekistan, presently set at seven nights.

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