The state information agency TDH reports that, in the course of the Cabinet Session on Friday, 3 March, President Berdymukhammedov expressed discontent with the performance of the state Tourism Committee.
Deputy Prime Minister A. Garadjaev, responsible for culture and who also oversees tourism, gave a progress report at the session.
The Minister stated: Year-to-date revenue from the financial and business operations of the tourism committee amounted to over 4,8 million manats (approximately $1,37 million using the government established exchange rate or $685,000 at the black market rate) and services have been rendered to about 17,000 tourists.
Based on this data it turns out that from each tourist who has been serviced Turkmenistan receives on average $80 using the government established exchange rate, or $40 using the black market rate. It should be noted, however, that the application fee for obtaining the cheapest tourist visa equals $35.
It appears that the tourists who have been serviced include those who have just applied for Turkmen tourist visas.
According to Chronicles of Turkmenistan, a total of 913 tourist visas were issued by Turkmenistan's consular offices during 2015.
All over the world tourism is one of the most profitable industries, � the President was quoted as saying.
At the same time, the President announced: Despite available recreational resources, numerous objects of culture and art capable of attracting tourists, the work carried out in this direction is of quite a low standard in our country.
The head of state authorized Deputy Prime Minister A. Garadjaev to address this issue and make proposals for improving the situation and correcting shortcomings.
It is extremely complicated to obtain a tourist visa to enter Turkmenistan. The application process can take up to 3 months and visas are denied to the majority of those wishing to visit the country.
Yet, even after obtaining the visa, the travel itinerary within the country needs to be agreed upon beforehand. Upon exiting the capital a tourist must be accompanied by a local guide.
Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan