From 30 November to three December, the UNWTO’s (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) 159 member states might be assembly in Madrid. Their biennial Common Meeting is the world’s most essential tourism discussion board, with an agenda that features committees on schooling, innovation, and the safety of vacationers, as nicely, in fact, worldwide initiatives to get better from the affect of COVID-19 and convey again tourism.
Two delegations — Portugal and Uzbekistan — are going face to face in Madrid to host the 25th Common Meeting in 2023. To take action, they should persuade different international locations that their tourism providing is outstanding and that they’ve the capability to ship a world-class occasion and to win the members’ votes.
Their tourism choices are wildly totally different, however how do the 2 contenders stack up? So we appeared into a few of the arguments the international locations will attempt to make.
As we cautiously resume journey after COVID, security is prime of many individuals’s priorities. Portugal emphasised security as certainly one of its key promoting options in its nomination letter to the UNWTO, and certainly the nation ranked a powerful #13 on the World Peace Index 2021.
However Uzbekistan additionally prides itself on being a secure vacation spot for vacationers. The Gallup Regulation and Order Index 2021 ranked Portugal and Uzbekistan neck and neck at #11 and #13 respectively, and a earlier Gallup ballot of the world’s most secure international locations to go to put Uzbekistan at #5, solely behind Singapore, Norway, Iceland, and Finland.
COVID is beneath management
Portugal and Uzbekistan might want to persuade international locations that they’ve sturdy COVID measures in place for 2023, notably as this 12 months’s Common Meeting moved from Marrakech to Madrid on the final minute as a result of a pandemic surge. Nonetheless, in the case of the vaccination fee for its inhabitants, Portugal is forward: as of late November 2021, 86.6% of the inhabitants is absolutely vaccinated. In Uzbekistan, that determine is 17.2%. Uzbekistan will argue, fairly, that it began receiving vaccine deliveries a lot later than Portugal. Half of the inhabitants have had their first doses now, willingness to be vaccinated is excessive, and they need to meet up with Portugal (and even surpass it) by summer time 2022.
There’s additionally a query of COVID case numbers. Can present authorities controls and public behaviour preserve issues beneath management?
You would wish a crystal ball to see what the COVID image will appear like in late 2023. Nonetheless, thus far, Uzbekistan has reported 192,175 instances and 1,385 deaths (approx. four per 100,000 of the inhabitants), in comparison with 1.three million instances and 18,370 deaths (approx. 178 per 100,000 of the inhabitants) in Portugal. As we reported in summer time 2020, Uzbekistan is so assured it could preserve vacationers secure from COVID that it launched a $three,000 COVID-free assure!
It’s simple to get right here.
The belief is that Portugal is way simpler for UNWTO delegates to get to than Uzbekistan, however that’s not essentially the case. Portugal hasn’t declared which metropolis would host the occasion, however Lisbon can be an affordable guess because it has the nation’s greatest flight connectivity and MICE services. Uzbekistan’s host metropolis is the Silk Highway jewel of Samarkand.
Greater than 40 airways fly to Lisbon from dozens of locations, however with a focus in Europe and Latin America. Samarkand’s new worldwide airport will open in December 2021, and passengers also can fly into the close by Tashkent Worldwide Airport (a two-hour experience away by high-speed practice). Uzbekistan’s geographical location signifies that flying occasions from international locations in South and Southeast Asia are a lot shorter than to Portugal, and there are additionally short-haul flights from Russia and the CIS and the Center East. Some direct flights from Europe, together with from London and Frankfurt, and passengers from the Americas and Africa can conveniently route by way of Istanbul.
Visas are one other consideration: the price and time to get a Schengen visa for Portugal may very well be a deterrent issue, particularly for delegates in creating international locations. In distinction, Uzbekistan grew to become visa-free for 45 nationalities in 2019, and the scheme has now been prolonged to passport holders of greater than 90 international locations. Many different nationalities are eligible for a $20 e-visa, which is often issued inside 48 hours.
There’s heaps to see and do
Samarkand is a UNESCO World Heritage Website and epitomises the splendour of the Silk Highway. Uzbekistan will subsequently be emphasising the town’s 2,750 years of historical past and cultural heritage of their bid. Specific highlights embody the Registan, the enduring vacationer web site which is to Uzbekistan because the Taj Mahal is to India; the gilded mausoleum of the 14th-century emperor Amir Timur, who’s Uzbekistan’s nationwide hero; and the beautiful Shah-i Zinda necropolis with its distinctive blue and turquoise tiles. Vacationers love to go to Samarkand’s central market, and there are additionally alternatives for ecotourism and studying about native handicrafts in close by areas such because the Konigil Vacationer Village.
Though it can’t compete with Samarkand within the sheer variety of historic and medieval monuments, Lisbon has its UNESCO treasures, too.
The 16th-century Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém are a World Heritage Website, and there are some glorious museums. Guests also can take pleasure in Lisbon’s many parks and outside areas, recognizing peacocks in Jardim da Estrela and climbing up Miradouro for panoramic metropolis views.
There are nice locations to remain
In accordance to Turismo de Lisboa, Lisbon has simply over 200 accommodations. Favorite locations to remain within the Portuguese capital embody the stylish Tivoli Avenida Liberdade, which was inbuilt 1933 and is called the Grande Dame of Lisbon. The 4 Seasons Lodge Ritz additionally impresses visitors with its crystal chandeliers, marble flooring, and gilded furnishings.
Samarkand’s lodging providing contains 160 accommodations, but additionally 170 native guesthouses, a lot of that are in historic buildings within the metropolis centre. The Samarkand Vacationer Centre, which is beneath building, will embody six new four* and 5* accommodations, together with the Samarkand Regency Lodge. This 234-room luxurious property will open in 2022 and can change into the primary Central Asian member of the Main Motels of the World.
In case you had to decide on between visiting Portugal and Uzbekistan, the place would you need to go?
Featured imaged c. Most Publicity