Nowadays, tourism is closely connected with development and encompasses growing various new destinations. Visitors are continually opening new travel destinations and purposes encouraged by friends and family members, mass media, social media, marketing campaigns and other information sources. Travel information has never been as easy to access as it is these days. Such presence of information makes it very simple for tourists to choose the “ideal” destination and plan their journeys in detail.
The influences of the tourism on the world economy are already significant and are constantly growing. As the emerging nationals economies have more and more people that can afford to travel, it is crucial for the nations, particularly in Central Asian countries, to develop and create attractive images of the countries.The person travel for a variety of reasons: to relax, investigate, understand, and take part.
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However, at the core of the experience extends the destination — the place that hands something to the traveler to keep forever and share with other people. This toolkit helps destinations put in place strategies and programs that will best tell their unique story and become an inviting host for travelers no matter the purpose of their journey.Equally, the climate and culture of a country are of high significance for the destination image formation. A study has shown that people living in places with hot climates tend to have holidays to colder areas. Further, people who grew up in bigger cities do not tend to have adventurous holidays. Their needs and desires are one of the key factors in selecting a tourist destination. (Marshalls 2008) Destination image and destination branding are significant for a city in order to attract many tourists. The images visitors have about certain destinations have been shown to be of high importance when choosing a destination for leisure purposes.
Uzbekistan is becoming one of the new tourist destinations for residents of Europe and Asia. Uzbek tourism is actively evolving and making new steps to attract tourists to the country. On the streets of major cities, you can already meet a large number of foreigners who arrived with a desire to see the history of Uzbekistan and monuments of ancient times. Literature reviewThere is no conclusive meaning of destination image.
Lawson and Baud-Bovy (1977) distinguished a destination image as the expression of all knowledge, impressions, prejudices and emotional thoughts an individual or group has of a particular object or place. Later Crompton (1979) portrayed it as a “the amount of beliefs, thoughts, and feeling that a person has of a destination”.At the same time destination image consists of various segments. Two main of them are cognitive and affective elements. Cognitive image is characterized as evaluative image, which is alluded to beliefs and knowledge about an object whereas affective refers to feelings about it. (Baloglu and McClearly, 1999).According to Crompton (1979) and Balogly, McClearly (1999) the main source of influence when choosing a destination is the information from the social environment, formed by friends and family.
Consequently, destinations should keep in mind that providing a fascinating experience for their visitors have a major influence on the development of positive images for non-travelers. Accordingly, any individual can design an image of any destination while never having been there. In other words, the image of the destination will be based on historical, political, economic and social information which, in turn, will shape the image that the person already held (Echtner and Richie, 1991).Since getting its Independence in 1991, Uzbekistan has started to structure and organize its tourism industry. The first step in charge of tourism issues was creation of National Company “Uzbektourism” which was established upon the resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on July 27, 1992.Because of Uzbekistan possesses various tourism attractions and resources, there is a potential development of various types of tourism products.
A great cultural and historical heritage, location along the Great Silk Road, as well as ancient traditions and in culture and arts can attract to the country cultural, religious, archeological and ethnographical visitors.In the strategy to promote the country as a tourist destination, an effective brand holds special place.In the tourist community of Uzbekistan there is a conception that a successful tourism brand contributes not only fortify the position of the national tourist product in overseas markets, but also enhance the overall image and credibility of the country as a tourist destination. Having analyzed numbers of foreign travel agencies who offer Uzbekistan as a tourist destination we face that almost all promotion are connected with the “Silk Road”, “The Golden Road to the Samarkand”. In turn of Uzbek travel agencies along with Silk Road brand the stress is made on promotion and information about Uzbekistan as a country with a great culture, amazing architecture and centuries old history. Uzbek travel agencies suggest wider choices of places of interest not only standard tours.
Apart of historical places, it is offered hiking, rafting, natural reserves and less known cities of Uzbekistan. In October-December 2013, Euronews began to broadcast programs about the historic cities of Uzbekistan – Samarkand, Shahrisabz, Bukhara and Khiva. From December 2013 Euronews initiated to broadcast a 30-second advertisement about tourism potential of Uzbekistan.
Lastly, the trademark was established for Uzbekistan “Uzbekistan – the symbol of the magic east” in December 2013.Methodology Two particular questionnaires, which combine structured and unstructured methodology, were produced to investigate the image of Uzbekistan. The program IBM SPSS 21 was used in order to measure results of both surveys:a) Survey of touristsb) Survey of tourism officials in Uzbekistan As a result of the survey of visitors 17 respondents are citizens of the Russian Federation and 34 are residents of all other countries, who are mostly Europeans, but also residents of some Asian nations such as Malaysia, India, Pakistan, and Singapore.The survey of visitors was conducted through the internet by means of personal emails in cooperation with one of the Uzbek travel agencies. The image of destination of non-visitors, potential visitors and returned visitors will be different. In our case, the survey was directed among returned tourists who had visited Uzbekistan only once.
The results received with a sample of fifty one visitors, which evaluated several characteristics of the destination and the appreciation of the same by travelers. The survey analysis combines qualitative and quantitative aspects. The questionnaire was completed in two Russian and English languages.
Both studies contained open-ended questions in order to measure the holistic component of the destination. The question seeks to depict the general feelings respondents have about destination. It is part of unstructured methodology, having qualitative nature. Once the information was collected, it had been segmented and separated into various groups with similar characteristics. Expected outcome and ImplicationsUzbekistan has long been considered to have a great deal of potential as well known tourist destination.
For no less than ten years, the industry has been expected to boom, and in many ways the country has prepared itself for this potential to be realized, but tourism is developing at only a relatively slow pace. These days tourism in Uzbekistan has low income into the GDP of the country. However, since independence the growth of tourist arrivals was recorded in the country. Contrasted with some other countries located in the same region and offering similar tourism products, Uzbekistan has more difference and number of tourist resources, and more exactly, it has an advantage geopolitical location, rich cultural, historical and natural heritage.
After have been establishing and suggesting worldwide experience, the attractiveness of tourism considered to become as one of the significant one in the Central Asian destination. Furthermore, the optimization of visa facilities has listed as one of the main advancement of tourism policy by the UNWTO research group. Tourism could easily become the most important Uzbek industry in terms of incomes, job creation and number of people benefiting from its direct and indirect effects.References:1. Marshalls, M.
2008. Country Image and its Effects in Promoting a Tourist Destination: A Case Study of South African Destination Image.2.
Baloglu, S. & McClearly, K.W. 1999. A Model of Destination Image Formation. Tourism Research, 26, 4, pp. 868-897.3.
Echtner and Richie, 1991. Destination Image towards a Conceptual framework4. Lawson and Baud-Bovy (1977)5. MacCannell, D. (1973). Staged Authenticity: Arrangements of Social Space in Tourist Settings.
American Journal of Sociology