The Chairman of the Committee for Tourism Development under the government of Tajikistan Numon Abdughafforzoda, head of the Rural Economy Development Project at the World Bank Andrea Dall’Olio and Senior Private Sector Specialist at IFC Tarik Sahovic opened today’s workshop on tourism development in Tajikistan.
The goal of the workshop was to present the findings of a World Bank supported survey of tour operators aimed at understanding their view on Tajikistan’s tourism development. The survey aimed to analyze the constraints and opportunities in developing the country’s tourism supply and demand. This analytical work is meant to complement data on tourism, which is mainly quantitative with qualitative information to show a more complete picture of the sector.
The survey helped to design activities related to tourism under the World Bank financed Rural Economy Development Project, which aims to increase economic opportunities in bordering districts with Afghanistan in Khatlon region and Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast.
According to the survey, Tajikistan is becoming increasingly popular for tourists from Europe, North America, China and Australia, but it can certainly do more to respond to the demand, which is steadily increasing.
TourismThe survey shows that the demand is increasing largely due to growing knowledge and information about Tajikistan and the Central Asia region in general. Almost 50% of local tour operators and almost 90% of international operators are of the opinion that Tajikistan has not yet reached its full tourism potential. However, Tajikistan can do more to attract more tourists and to extract more benefits from those who are currently visiting the country. On average a visitor spends between $800 and $1200 for a 6-12 day stay, which is significantly below the global average..According to UNWTO adventure tourists spend an average of $3000 on an 8 day-trip. Tajikistan is known as a safe destination to visit despite its proximity to Afghanistan, according to the surveyed tour operators.
The survey identifies a number of areas, which can be looked at to attract more tourists and to increase tourism spending. Improvements in air connectivity into and within Tajikistan, preservation and upgrading of tourism sites, simplification of the regulatory environment, improvement of the facilities for homestays (electricity, water and sewage), and upgrading the skills in the tourism sector are among the areas pointed out by tour operators, which could help Tajikistan reach its full tourism potential.
The survey covered the nationwide Tajikistan experience, but gave particular focus to the two regions targeted by the Rural Economy Development Project, – Khatlon and GBAO.