Uzbekistan has rolled out a new initiative to reassure travellers that it is safe to visit the Central Asian country.
In fact, they are willing to stake thousands of dollars on it.
The country, which only reported 19 COVID-19 related deaths, has launched the “Safe Travel Guaranteed” campaign, offering travellers US$3,000 (AUD$4,370) if they become infected with the virus while travelling in Uzbekistan, according to Business Insider.
The amount of money offered is based on an estimate of how much COVID-19 treatment would cost in the country.
Uzbekistan’s tourism authority said any foreign tourist visiting on a group tour with a local tour operator will be protected by the guarantee.
“The government is so confident that the new safety and hygiene measures being implemented across the tourism sector will protect tourists from COVID-19, that the President is prepared to put money where his mouth is: if you get COVID-19 on holiday in Uzbekistan, we will compensate you,” said Sophie Ibbotson, Uzbekistan’s tourism ambassador to the UK.
For travellers to get the compensation money, the local tour operator they travel with must use only hotels, restaurants and other tourist establishments that have certification to show they have been following health and safety guidelines.
Businesses which do not comply with the new hygiene standards and can be traced as the source of infections will be held liable for treatment costs.
This month Uzbekistan began welcoming international visitors from low-risk countries like China, Israel, Japan, and South Korea.
However, arrivals from Europe and the UK are only allowed to visit if they spend 14 days in self-isolation.
Uzbekistan is not the only country offering compensation to lure travellers back, with Cyprus also promising to cover medical costs if a traveller catches the infection while visiting, and Sicily offering to cover accommodation costs.
Before the global pandemic, Uzbekistan was tapped as a growing market for off-the-beaten-track travellers.
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