Investing in Uzbekistan
“Investing in Uzbekistan" is a comprehensive tool designed for investors, policymakers, and stakeholders. It provides a path for informed decision-making, strategic investments, and collaborative efforts aimed at fostering a tourism sector that is resilient, sustainable, and inclusive”
Secretary-General World Tourism Organization
The investment guideline "Tourism Doing Business, Investing in Uzbekistan" highlights the impressive transformation that the country has experienced in the last decade towards an open and market-driven economy. The report describes how its rich endowment of natural resources and cultural heritage, complemented by attractive incentive schemes offered for foreign direct investment (FDI), have been creating a favorable business environment. Uzbekistan, known as the state of the Great Silk Road, stands out for its strategic geographical location in the heart of Central Asia and well-developed infrastructure that facilitate travel and trade across continents.
This guide outlines the impressive economic performance of the country based on accelerated economic reforms since 2017. With an average rate growth above 5% during the last five years, Uzbekistan emerges as a stable and strong economy within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other neighboring countries in Central Asia. The main pillars of the reforms are summarized, recognizing the pivotal role of liberalization as well as the tax and custom system, which facilitates cross-border trade and private investment. It also describes certain social and economic aspects, including its growing and educated population, the structure of the economy by sector and an analysis of its main export partners.
Uzbekistan's performance in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) shows that FDI inflows have been growing steadily in the last decade. In terms of investments in fixed assets, the country has experienced a positive trend since 2017. Moreover, the chapter displays figures on the distribution of FDI inflows by region, concentration of FDI projects by business activities and the main FDI partners of Uzbekistan.
Regarding tourism, chapter three of the report highlights the outstanding numbers of tourism-related projects between 2019 and 2023 and the corresponding amounts of investment that observed a strong uptrend despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though around 85% of investment comes from FDI, the number of greenfield FDI projects is still limited. The chapter also includes information on investments in innovation and the county's startups ecosystems, particularly in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry. Details about the rapid and promising development of the venture capital sector are also provided.
Uzbekistan has a remarkable transport infrastructure that facilitate connections between countries across different continents and has contributed to stablishing its reputation as a strategic hub for regional and global trade and travel. It also describes the available natural resources, varied geography and vast biodiversity as well as the cultural diversity of Uzbekistan, with several architectural sites recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO.
Moreover, associated to the reforms towards an open economy, Uzbekistan setup a range of incentive schemes to foster private investment. This report offers an overview of the Uzbek tax regime and develops on general tax incentives for FDI. It also presents a summary of the legal framework supporting the development of the tourism sector and the main incentives schemes attracting investment into the sector. These schemes encompass, for instance, concessional loans, specific tax incentives, introduction of ICT in the tourism sector, hotel development, tourism services, film industry incentives, and entrepreneurship and innovation regimes, among others.
Finally, this report portrays the commendable determination of the country in pursuing structural reforms. Such reforms have contributed to Uzbekistan becoming one of the most constant and stable economies in the CIS and improve considerably its position in certain rankings such the Doing Business and the Economic Freedom Index. Regarding competitiveness of the tourism sector, the report highlights the swift increase in the export of tourism-related services and the need for further measures to promote private investment in the sector. It also portrays the Uzbek tourism cluster, including figures about tourist arrivals by country, purpose of travelling, accommodation facilities, among other indicators.