In setting the target to develop Bukharaas one of the leading international centers of tourism, one of the key issues is a real estimation of the number of foreign tourists visiting the city annually. Due to the fact that there is no a unique estimation on the issue, let us state our version in this regard.

Hotel service of Bukhara in its quantitative and qualitative terms has made a huge leapforward over the past decade. The amount of accommodations in hotels and guest houses in Bukhara today is estimated as of 3.5 thousand (maximum amount of tourists that can be hosted by the city at one time). The average number of days that a tourist spends in the city is about 2 days.

     Optimistic assessment of the ratio of hotels’ workload: December-February – 0.15, March-May – 0.8, June-August to 0.35, September-November – 0.7. That is, on average – at best 50% per year or around 180 man-days.

Then the number of tourists visiting the city during a year can be optimistically estimated as 3.5 thousand x 180/2 = 315 thousand people. Not less than one third of this number are tourists-residents of Uzbekistan itself, i.e.,  the real number of foreign tourists visiting Bukhara (the number of inhabitants of the city – 270 thousand) per annum is unlikely to exceed 200 thousand people or 2 or 3 tourists per each resident of the city. For comparison, the number of foreign tourists annually visiting Florence (with population of 350 thousand people) is 6 million (more than 30 times!) or 17 tourists a year per 1 resident of the city.

These figures are just estimations, they can be checked more carefully, but the way of the assessmentseems to be correct. So what should be done in order to increase the flow of tourists to Bukhara, at least,for 2-3 times?

Is the transport infrastructure, for example, ready for this increase?It should be noted that transport ability/accessibility of Bukhara is gradually increasing. The reconstruction of the airport has created a basis for air-traffic growth. Opening in September 2016 of the fast railwayservice between Tashkent and Bukhara byTalgotrains was a quality step towards increasing the volume of tourist transport by railways (in perspective, opening of a high-speed railwaylinebetween Bukhara and Urgench will have a strategic importance;that line would link the flow of tourists toKhiva and Bukhara).

However,we assume that both hotel and transport businesses, as well as the tour-operator business servicing the flows of tourists directly depend on the tourism resource of Bukharaitself. What figure estimations can be applicable here?

Infrastructure of tourism business in Bukhara. From the above figures we can imply that in peak days the city hosts (or can take) today up to 2.5 thousand foreign tourists.

Host route (or the route of one day) includes only 6 tourist complexes-clusters:

1) Lyabi-Hauz,

2) memorial-shopping cluster “Toki Saraffon” – “Gau-Kushan” – “Magoki-Attari” – “Toki-Tilpak-Furushon”,

3) memorial-shopping cluster “Tim Abdullah-khan” – “Toki-Zargaron” – “Ulugbek madrasah- Abdulaziz Khan madrasah”

4) Poi-Kalyan,

5) Arcs and Bolo Hauz,

6) parkzone with Samanids mausoleum, Chashma-Ayub and Kosh-madrasah.

Namely they receive the main tourist flow (estimatedas 2/3). Considering that the movement through objects bears a “rotary character” and on average within the frames of one cluster tourists spend about an hour, it comes out that the peak load of the tourist ensembles is around 300 people at one time.

This seems to be the maximum figure. On one hand, in reality the peak parameters are lower. On the other hand, they indicate a certain ceiling of the growth. It may not be true that the Arch can, for example, host simultaneously, i.e. take leisure, of more than 400 tourists. With a glance of 8 hours work (from 9.00 to 17.00), the ultimate modern tourism resource of such an object as the Ark can be estimated at 2.4 thousand people per day (8 hours x 300 pers.). Indeed, today’s hotel businessalso can only give such ultimate indicators. Hence it is clear that both hotel and transport, as well as tour operator businesses are likely in the secondary, “catch-up” positionin relation to the tourist resources.

      This means that a significant increase in the tourist flow is impossible without target development of tourism resources of Bukhara, and as they mainly are run by the state, there is a need for a systematic State programat the republican level orat the municipal level,at least. Its elaboration is not an easy task, and within the frames of this material it is relevant only to put some questions in this regard.

      The key issue of developingthe tourism resource is the EXPANSION of ARCHITECTURAL-HISTORICAL andMUSEUMSPACE of Bukhara.

In this connection, it is important to estimate how many real memorial-trade-craft touristic clusters Bukhara has today, how are the tourist flows are distributed among them, what new clusters can be organized in the near future? How to optimize the “submergence” of tourists in already existing clusters?

Is it possible to increase the “busy-ness” of tourists in museum direction, i.e., to increase the interest of foreign tourists in Bukhara museums, their willingness to give them (museums) more time and attention? What modern museum technologies are needed for this?

What historical sites of Bukhara are out of tourists’ attention (make a list of “forgotten” monuments – monuments of the “second” round) and why? How to attract tourists there? What monuments of the ancient Bukhara need “transcoding” tofirst roundtourist sites? Is it possible to organize sight platforms opening panoramic views of the city? What might awake the interest of foreign tourists (to distinguish European tourists, easterntourists of Islamic circle, Far Eastern tourists) in Bukhara? …

Arapov A.V.

Marakanda Expedition

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