Katherine Fox Ehlert with the Hospitality & Tourism Department held a meeting on Tuesday, September 11 at the La Fonda Hotel with the Uzbekistan Economic Delegation sponsored by the Santa Fe Council on International Relations.
Front row: Feruza Eshmatova, Member of Parliament, Katherine Fox Ehlert, Program Coordinator Hospitality & Tourism, Saida Chorieva, Public Affairs Specialist, Keith Kirk, General Manager Drury Plaza Hotel
Back Row: the gentleman behind Saida in grey jacket is Rakhmatulla J. Nazarov, Senator, Committee on Foreign Affairs, International Economic Relations and Tourism, and two assistants (unnamed).
The Delegation was on a fact finding mission to increase economic presence and revenue by developing tourism for their country. They also met with Randy Randall of the Santa Fe Convention & Visitors Bureau and the New Mexico State Department of Tourism.
Fox Ehlert was joined by Keith Kirk, General Manager of the Drury Plaza Hotel for their discussion.
Uzbekistan is currently building the infrastructure needed to provide a first class destination for individual and tour group tourists from the US and all over the world.
Right now, Uzbekistan, has direct flights from Paris, Istanbul and New York City. They are looking at creating tour packages with US Tour Companies as well as European. Fox Ehlert will be providing the contact for the top ten US Tour Operators. She also recommended that the country provide a familiarization trip for these operators getting educated feedback for improvements and additions for the destination.
Keith Kirk advised them to build on one of their current tourism festivals or events like the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta which brought 887,970 visitors in 2017 and has been operating for over 40 years.
Additionally, the Uzbekistan representatives and Fox Ehlert discussed their online presence in enhanced web sites containing videos of their current festivals.