Amendments made to the country’s tax code, in particular, provide for exempting the newly established tour operators from paying income tax during the first five years.

“To-date, 26 new tourist companies have been established in the country,” Numon Abdughafforzoda, the head of the Tourism Development Committee under the Government of Tajikistan told Asia-Plus in an interview, noting that they will be exempted from paying income tax during the first five years.

“Besides, craftspeople working at home have been exempted from paying all types of taxes,” said Abdughafforzoda.  “This will create the favorable atmosphere for development of small and medium-sized businesses and promote development of tourism and relevant industries in the country.”    

He further noted that a special SIM card for tourists had been developed in Tajikistan.  The SIM card has reportedly been developed by the country’s communications service agency in cooperation with Tcell.  A free travel package reportedly includes 50 minutes, 100 megabyte of internet and 150 SMS.  The SIM card holder will receive a message containing information about hotels, restaurants, taxi services and tourist sites in Tajikistan in three languages – Tajik, Russian and English.  

The current share of tourism in the structure of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is only 1.6 percent but it is expected to rise to 5 percent by 2020, Abdughafforzoda said.  

According to estimates of international experts, each tourist spends from 500.00 to 750.00 U.S. dollars during a trip to Tajikistan.  According to the statistical data, 460,000 tourist visited Tajikistan last year.   

Recall, the Tourist Information Center that will provide tourists with information about Tajikistan, ideas for trips and much more opened in Dushanbe in January this year.  The main objective of the Tourist Information Center is in informing citizens of other countries about tourism opportunities of Tajikistan. 

Tourism industry provides both direct and indirect employment.  Firms such as hotels, restaurants, airlines, and resorts provide direct employment because their employees are in contact with tourists and provide the tourist experience.  Employees of firms providing goods and services to the direct employment firms, such as aircraft manufacturers, construction firms, and restaurant suppliers, create indirect employment.

Tourism provides economic benefits such as job creation and inflow of foreign exchange.  The Tajik government has also made ecotourism a priority.  Ecotourism benefits rural residents, increasing employment and economic growth in rural areas by means of creating hostels, providing tourists with food products, transport service and other types of services.