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Jeong, J.Y.; Karimov, M.; Sobirov, Y.; Saidmamatov, O.; Marty, P. Sustainable Tourism Development in Uzbekistan. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 19 June 2024).
Jeong JY, Karimov M, Sobirov Y, Saidmamatov O, Marty P. Sustainable Tourism Development in Uzbekistan. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 19, 2024.
Jeong, Ji Young, Mamurbek Karimov, Yuldoshboy Sobirov, Olimjon Saidmamatov, Peter Marty. "Sustainable Tourism Development in Uzbekistan" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 19, 2024).
Jeong, J.Y., Karimov, M., Sobirov, Y., Saidmamatov, O., & Marty, P. (2023, May 21). Sustainable Tourism Development in Uzbekistan. In Encyclopedia.
Jeong, Ji Young, et al. "Sustainable Tourism Development in Uzbekistan." Encyclopedia. Web. 21 May, 2023.
Sustainable Tourism Development in Uzbekistan

Tourism is one of the fastest-growing and most visible sectors of the global economy, contributing significantly to boosting a nation’s economy. Tourism-led economic growth considering sustainable approaches is becoming increasingly important in public policy. Urban and regional studies have begun to focus on the sustainability of tourism from social, economic, environmental, and cultural perspectives.

sustainable tourism culturalization strategies Global RPM

1. Introduction

In many parts of the world, tourism is a major economic activity [1][2][3][4][5], creating jobs in large numbers [6] and attracting investments and foreign capital [7]. As well as promoting and developing peace, prosperity, and national and international relationships, tourism can contribute to the realization of sustainable development goals [8]. The tourism industry has emerged as a key force for sustainable socioeconomic development globally [9][10]. Essentially, sustainable tourism refers to tourism that does not harm nature and the local community and also contributes to the country’s environment, society, and economy in a positive way [11]. There is a broad range of activities associated with tourism, including accommodation, transportation, entertainment, leisure, nourishment, and shopping, being related to travel aims for business, recreation, medicine, and visiting friends or relations [10][12]. Currently, most agree that tourism’s growth needs to be sustainable, although the question of how to achieve this is a subject of debate [13].
The importance of sustainability is being increasingly recognized by the world, so all industries are encouraged to come up with their own sustainable solutions. Sustainability focuses its “attention on a set of ethical values and principles, which guides action in a responsible and harmonious way, incorporating the environmental and societal consequences of actions, as well as economic goals” [14]. Several fields are currently using the term ‘sustainable’, such as the development of communities, agriculture, architecture, and tourism [15]. Many industries have therefore begun to prioritize sustainability in their strategic planning [16]. As an example, tourism, which is the fastest-growing industry in the world, has been taking steps to become a sustainable industry by developing responsible methods [17]. Additionally, tourism, an essential industry for both social and economic development, can positively affect production, gross revenue, and employment. Alternatively, it can negatively impact the environment [18]. It is important to note that in the event of poorly planned and managed tourism, there may be permanent damage to a tourist destination’s economic, social, physical, and cultural environments [19]. In this regard, sustainable tourism must be emphasized as an important issue. A number of issues, such as the failure to preserve natural, historical, social, and cultural resources, the loss of social values, and the disruption of the ecological balance caused by global warming, make sustainable tourism an essential part of any tourism strategy [20].
As a goal of sustainable tourism, culturalization strategies have an important role in sustainable development, where sustainable and long-term achievements are more important than short-term achievements in conserving natural beauty and cultural values [21][22]. Culturalization strategies are not only designed to generate income, but they also protect and preserve local assets, history, local traditions, and customs by providing economic support for maintaining those assets and traditions. In recent decades, indicators, data, and statistics on the cultural sector have demonstrated that culture can play an important role in socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural development. It is common in the tourism industry for the culture of the destination to be considered a tourism investment, as well as any changes, such as the opening of a region to tourists, must also be taken into account when planning any tourism project [23] and cultural resources are seen as one of the most important aspects of any tourist attraction [24][25]. As a powerful socioeconomic resource, culture can be incorporated into sustainable development strategies and policies, promoting an inclusive and humanistic development perspective. There is no doubt that culture plays a significant role in sustainable development, but as part of that consideration, it is imperative to give due attention to both the process and the outcome. For this reason, the choice of culturalization strategies is rational for the subject of sustainable tourism because they provide a framework for managing tourism in a way that is respectful of cultural heritage, promotes intercultural understanding, supports the conservation and preservation of cultural sites, assets, and products, as well as contributing to the economic development of local communities. Culturalization strategies for sustainable tourism can help to address some of the negative impacts of tourism on cultural heritage sites and communities. These impacts can include over-tourism, degradation of cultural sites, and erosion of traditional cultural practices and values. Culturalization strategies can provide guidance on how to manage tourism in a way that minimizes these impacts while maximizing the positive benefits of tourism to be a more peaceful, tolerant, and sustainable world that can be preserved for future generations.
With its ancient and cultural heritage, as well as its natural attraction, Uzbekistan is able to expand its tourism sector. British publication The Telegraph named Uzbekistan as one of the top 10 beautiful and amazing travel destinations for 2019 [26]. Furthermore, The Telegraph points out that Uzbekistan, home to the Silk Road, offers many reasons to visit, with Bukhara, Khiva, Shakhrisabz, and Samarkand as the main UNESCO-recognized tourist hubs. In fact, Uzbekistan is one of the world’s 30 safest countries, according to the Global Terrorism Index-2019 [27]. It is estimated that Uzbekistan is home to almost 7400 objects of cultural heritage [28]. Specifically, Uzbekistan is attracting more international tourists, with there being 6.7 million international tourists in 2019 as compared to 1.9 million people in 2014 [29]. Based on the above-mentioned information, Uzbekistan’s tourism sector is growing rapidly and has significant economic importance.

2. Sustainable Tourism Development in Uzbekistan

The development strategies of sustainable tourism have been studied in different regions. A sustainability assessment of the Egyptian tourism planning mechanism was carried out by [30]. He showed that programs for the development of sustainable tourism are lacking in the planning system for tourism in Egypt, and the tourism sector needs to cooperate more with the government to succeed. Marketing strategies for sustainable tourism were formulated for Barcelona [31]. The authors highlighted the need to reduce carbon emissions from transportation, normalize the behavior of tourists, minimize social and environmental consequences, and compensate for implications for the negative that tourism may have on the environment, human health, and culture. Ref. [32] provided another example of how the Bolivian government adopts sustainable tourism strategies to improve the state’s economy. As she noted, sustainable tourism development must be aligned with the community’s self-actualization and contemplated in advance. Geographic Information System (GIS) and The Analytic Network Process (ANP) were used for sustainable tourism development in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands [33]. By integrating GIS and ANP, the researchers have shown that the analytical tools can provide useful assistance in spatial planning in terms of sustainable tourism. An empirical study [34] examined the possibility of enhancing sustainable tourism by combining the Fuzzy Set Theory with the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and demonstrating its application to Taiwan’s Green Island. According to the authors cited above, tourism development is potentially beneficial for the economy, but it can also negatively affect the environment, which is why a well-crafted plan for tourism development is essential in order to maintain the balance between the two. Additionally, they highlighted that more attention should be paid to environmental and ecological protection by the tourism authorities.
Though there have been many studies contributing to sustainable tourism development [35][36][37][38][39], neither the Global RPM nor SANEL HERMES models have yet been published or used with QSPM. However, there is some literature in which the authors have applied alternative methods to the models to analyze sustainable tourism and formulate strategies based on QSPM or a strategic management tool. Several scholars have used QSPM together in combination with SWOT and PESTEL analysis in order to compare different strategies and determine which of them is the most advantageous [40][41]. In the case of the sustainable ecotourism development of Rameswaram city in India, using SWOT and QSPM approach, ref. [42] presented that visitors’ satisfaction level was low about services, lodging, unique food habits, and pollution in the city. Ref. [43] used PESTEL analysis and QSPM to analyze local people’s and farmers’ perspectives on rural tourism. They showed that the level of materiality intertwined with the PESTEL sizes of rural tourism, and each dimension was important for the perception of rural tourism both with each other and alone. Ref. [44] conducted research regarding the strategies to develop the tourism sector on Changbai Mountain. To determine the optimum strategy, the combined SWOT-AHP model with four criteria and 28 sub-criteria was used, with offensive methods being prioritized over defensive methods. According to their results, managers and planners must give special consideration to the tourism potential of this region to strengthen the tourism industry and the local economy and create jobs. Despite the methods that can be alternatives to Global RPM analysis and SANEL HERMES of tourism model, they differ from others for several reasons, such as spheres, features, opportunities, and purposes of use.
Compared to the literature on sustainable strategies, which has grown steadily and contains commonly known discourses, the literature on culturalization strategies requires further discussion. Thus, one of the main purposes of this research is to describe and offer culture-related strategies for sustainable tourism. The term culturalization can be defined to identify culturalization strategies. Refs. [45][46] defines culturalization as “the process by which a specific community transforms its economic activities and empowers its members by developing products and services based on its particular cultural and geographical environment”. In addition, ref. [47] described that “a culturalization strategy is the tool that local and regional policymakers have to boost their cities’ or territories’ comparative advantage and competitiveness through their existing or potential cultural endowment”. He mentioned that culture could contribute to sustainable development through some suggested measures that aim to integrate traditional environmental practices with high-tech advances while also supporting culture-based urban revitalization, sustainable cultural tourism, cultural and creative industries, and cultural institutions.
Culturalization strategies are referred to in the literature [48][49] as the process through which sustainable development is promoted through the integration of culture. Within previous pioneering research of the strategies, ref. [46] conducted an assessment of the commercialization and culturalization of Mayan traditions and culture throughout the world. They presented strategies for developing cultural tourism as an effective source of income for Guatemala, identifying sustainable tourism as well as analyzing rural community participation for its integration and development. Ref. [50] applied culturalization strategies for community tourism in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and showed a classification by type of the indigenous people who live and work there through Community Tourism. Besides using the tourism industry, ref. [51] explain what culturalization is, how it influences communities and economic performance with strong cultural elements, and show how these strategies have been applied to the coffee industry in Guatemala. According to the results of a comparative study in Bucharest and Paris [52], a comprehensive analysis of cultural tourism categories and subcategories is essential to identify ways to promote and capitalize on cultural tourism and make it more sustainable, particularly in Bucharest.
It is important to note that foreign tourists were partially restricted from entering Uzbekistan for more than a decade, but now the government has begun to welcome tourists and facilitate tourism development by allowing foreigners to access Uzbekistan’s rich cultural and historical heritage [28]. Currently, the tourism sector has a high potential for growth in the view of the government of Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan’s tourism industry is undervalued in comparison to its potential and being home to ancient archaeological and cultural sites and has not received the rights and consideration it deserves [53]. It is apparent that there is a significant gap between demand and service delivery. There are a few studies for Uzbekistan to conduct detailed analysis in order to come up with an optimal solution to the issue of tourism in the country. Nevertheless, there have been relatively few studies that have examined Uzbekistan’s sustainable tourism in depth and evaluated its economic, social, cultural, and environmental impacts. Therefore, this research suggests a comprehensive analysis is best for sustainable tourism in Uzbekistan.


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