Some of the major countries in Central Asia, such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, are expected to benefit from trade, investment and tourism flows from both Asia and Europe, owing to their advantageous geographic position. Infrastructure and tourism developments in this part of the world , as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, will be vital to stimulate growth and bridge the gap with developed markets, and diversify local economies away from gas and oil.
Central Asia is a region which has been going through a transformation process, which it is hoped will improve the business environment and increase its attractiveness for foreign investment. Participation in different Belt and Road Initiative projects, whether in terms of infrastructure development, trade or logistics, will lead to diversification of these economies away from oil and gas, and the region can reap the benefits of its geographic position between East and West.
The airline category, which is only nascent in many of the countries in the region, is expected to show strong growth, especially after the removal of the blacklisting from the European Commission for local airlines to fly to Europe from such markets as Kazakhstan. Nevertheless, there are still significant barriers to entry, especially for international operators in terms of non-transparent pricing decisions by airports.
Open skies agreements can help bring additional passengers and generate more revenues. They can also drive cheaper fares, open more routes across different regions, and lead the development of free market competition and increased tourism across Central Asia. Therefore, local governments must work more closely with the private sector to find long-term solutions to the development of infrastructure and of credit payment systems.
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