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"It is necessary that we take a serious attitude to environmental
protection, flora and fauna, the environmental situation, and to this
end we have achieved a revision of the approach to improving
legislation in this area."
Emomali Rahmon

 Development of ecological tourism in Tajikistan

Ecological tourism is one of the types of nature tourism, the main goal of which is to present the rich and colorful nature of the country, nature protection and maximum impact on natural complexes to tourists. Ecological tourism is based on environmental protection. First of all, the organization of trips with a small number of participants to natural areas and the places of historical and cultural importance are visited in order to implement programs for the protection and rational use of natural resources. According to the description of the World Tourism Organization: "Ecological tourism is a careful and responsible journey through natural areas, where environmental protection is envisaged and the need to respect the local population is organized."

One of the factors in the emergence and formation of ecological tourism, in connection with the mass nature of tourism, is the increase in the anthropogenic load of natural, cultural and historical resources.

Ecological tourism ranges from a wide range of excursion and educational routes for schoolchildren to regular tourist routes to national parks and reserves. In modern conditions, several types of ecological tourism are popular. One of the types of ecological tourism is trips to regions and natural areas.

It should be noted that at the initiative of the highly respected Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, 2018 year has been declared in the country the “Year of Tourism and Folk Crafts Development”.

Tajikistan does not lose sight of tourists for its beautiful nature, high peaks, roaring rivers, clean waters, healing springs, and these factors make it possible to develop ecological tourism. The nature of Tajikistan is unusual and can offer tourists two seasons at the same time - winter and summer.

One can observe a different climate and nature in Tajikistan, which is unique only for our country. Tourists have the opportunity to plunge into the permanent Arctic snows of the Pamirs from the scorching heat of the Vakhsh valley in one day and enjoy both the attractive foothills and the snow-capped peaks of the mountain climate.

Ecological tourism is a clean atmosphere outside the city, for which the national park is very important, which occupies 22 percent of the territory of Tajikistan. The area of ​​the reserves "Zorkul", "Romit", "Tigrovaya Balka", "Dashti Jum" and "National Park of Tajikistan" have a very rich and colorful nature. Rare species of plants and especially animals listed in the Red Book, such as the markhoor, mountain sheep known as Marco Polo, Bukhara ram (Urial), Bukhara deer, snow leopard, Tien Shan bear, mountain eagle and Indian goose live in these reserves and are under state protection.

In order to develop hunting tourism and attract foreign tourists for 2017-2018, the Government adopted a resolution. To this end, the Committee for Environmental Protection has allocated a quota for hunting 85 Marco Polo mountain sheep, 3 Bukhara mountain sheep (Urial), 12 markhoors and 60 Siberian mountain goats. For the purpose of hunting tourism, , 150 foreign tourists visited the republic within the period from September 2017 to March 2018, 54 of them were citizens from the USA, 8 persons from Russia, 4 persons from Mexico, 3 persons from Italy, the rest of the citizens were from Germany, Chile, Norway, Canada, Kazakhstan, Belgium, Iran and from a number of other foreign countries.

Recently the experts of the Committee, together with representatives of the relevant state bodies, as well as scientists of the Academy of Sciences and experts from foreign organizations, conducted monitoring to determine the number of wild animals. The monitoring results showed that the stocks of the Marco Polo mountain sheep and the markhoor are sufficient for hunting. According to the recommendations of the scientists of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic, there is the possibility of obtaining up to 100 Marco Polo mountain sheep and 12 markhoors in nature, and in the case of hunting these animals, the above-mentioned figures and the number of populations of these animals will not be harmed.

At present, the experts of the Committee, together with other relevant bodies, are conducting monitoring in order to determine the number of rare animals Marco Polo, markhoor, Urial and Siberian ibex in their habitats. After submission of materials and determination of the number of rare animals by the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, a recommendation on the number of rare animals from nature is submitted to the Government of the republic.

It should be noted that the Association of Hunters of the Republic, the Forestry Agency, domestic companies engaged in hunting tourism are building modern hotels to accommodate both domestic and foreign hunters. On the territory of GBAO tourist and hunting companies "Bars", "Badakhshan", LLC "Murgab", in the Shamsiddin Shokhin district of the Khatlon region, LLC "Sayod" built houses for hunters in accordance with all the necessary requirements. Only animals over 7-8 years old are allowed to be hunted. Animals over 7 years old are identified by experts using special binoculars based on a number of characteristics, such as large horns and their speed of movement. On the other hand, foreign hunters are not interested in small-horned animals. The representative of the state environmental protection authority participates in and controls the hunting process.

According to the TV channels of Tajikistan, the majority of tourists visiting our country say that the main reason for their visit is the mountainous relief of Tajikistan. From the statistics it follows that the number of tourists is growing from year to year. Considering this tendency, as mentioned above, with the assistance of the Government of the republic, a lot of work is being done to attract tourists. Tourism is considered an important sector of the economy, and a number of measures are being taken to develop it.

It should be noted that in 2017, a Committee for Tourism Development was established in the republic. According to available data, the number of tourists visiting Tajikistan in 2017 is more than 400 thousand people. It is planned to increase the number of tourists entering the country to 1 million people per year.

More foreign tourists will enter Tajikistan in the case of the development of national tourist attractions, based on rare natural and historical monuments and recreational features of the republic and its effective development in the world tourism market.

It should be recalled that the Committee for Environmental Protection under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan, as a state body, will use all available opportunities for the development of tourism and the organization of ecological tourism.