Bishkek, Feb. 14, 2018. / Kabar /. Central Asia's Uzbekistan and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of tourism and cultural heritage, Uzbek media reported.
The memorandum was inked between the Culture Ministry, the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Tourism Development and the EBRD in London.
EBRD First Vice President Philip Bennett noted that he was sincerely glad that Uzbekistan was chosen as the first pilot country for implementation of this project.
He stressed that Uzbekistan has a unique cultural and historical heritage that can be effectively used to enhance competitive advantages in the global tourism market.
The document envisages financing of projects related to cultural heritage sites, including those that contribute to the development of infrastructure, the preservation, sustainable management and exploitation of historical heritage, promotion of cultural tourism, and assistance in strengthening various instruments for the creation of an effective chain of sustainable development.
The signing of the memorandum was held within the framework of the round table on "Inclusive sustainable tourism and commercialization of cultural heritage: challenges and opportunities" dedicated to launch the new initiative "Cultural Heritage" of the EBRD. The bank plans to direct €150 million to this initiative.
The number of tourists who visited Uzbekistan in 2017 exceeded 2.5 million, which is 24 percent more than in 2016. More than 100 hotels launched activity in 2017.
The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Central Asia, with close to €11.6 billion ($12.3 billion equivalent) committed to projects in a variety of sectors, from infrastructure to agriculture, with a focus on private sector development.
To date, the EBRD invested €875 million in Uzbekistan in 60 projects. After more than a decade absence from Uzbekistan, the EBRD relaunched its activity in the region in 2017.