DUSHANBE, August 22, Asia-Plus -- Specialists from the Ministry of Economy and Trade expect revenues from tourism this year to increase three times compared to last year.  

Erkin Muqimov, the head of the tourism and stock-exchange activity department of the Ministry of Economy and Trade remarked this in his interview with Asia-Plus today.  According to him, increase in number of foreign tourists traveling to Tajikistan will lead to rise in the revenue from tourism.  “Over the first six months of this year alone, 14,612 tourists from Europe, Russia, America and Asia have visited Tajikistan, which is equal to a number of foreign tourists that visited Tajikistan over the whole year of 2005,” Muqimov said, noting that last year, revenue from tourism amounted to more than US$7 million.   

According to him, Tajik government’s resolution easing visa requirements for citizens of a number of countries has promoted increase in number of foreign tourists traveling to Tajikistan.    The resolution of March 31, 2006 allows citizens of 68 countries to obtain 45-day visas within three days.  The countries include France, Germany, Iran, Japan, and the United States, etc.

Muqimov noted that foreign tourists most are interested in active and so-called extreme kind of tourism.  “A number of those wanting to ascent the Ismoili Somoni Mount is increasing but not all tourists can afford this for health condition,” said Muqimov, “Besides, various resort places are becoming more and more popular among tourists.” 

According to the Asia-Plus interlocutor, the country’s sector has invested more than US$500,000 in improvement of Romit and Varzob gorges over the past several years.  

 According to information from the Ministry of Economy and Trade, a number of tourism operators functioning in Tajikistan has increased from 65 to 71 over the last three months.  

Like other countries, Tajikistan marks World Tourism Day today.  World Tourism Day is to be commemorated on September 27 each year by appropriate events on themes selected by the General Assembly, on recommendation of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO/OMT) Executive Council. This date was chosen to coincide with an important milestone in world tourism: the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes on September 27 1970. The main purpose of World Tourism Day is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic values.  UNWTO, a specialized agency of the United Nations, is the leading international organization in the field of tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and practical source of tourism know-how.