President Shavkat Mirziyaev has postponed by nearly four years a plan to introduce visa-free travel in Uzbekistan for citizens from 27 other countries.
Uzbekistan's official website for legislation on January 9 published a presidential decree on the issued that was signed on December 29.
The decree says the postponement was proposed by the State Tourism Committee, the Foreign Ministry, the Interior Ministry's State Customs Committee, and other ministries "in order to provide steady and balanced development of tourism activities" and to "secure safety for lives and health of foreign tourists and citizens of Uzbekistan."
The decree says the government also wants to "support further equal economic partnership with foreign countries."
The December 29 decree delays the plan, initially approved by Mirziyaev on December 6, that would have introduced visa-free travel on April 1, 2017.
Instead, the plan is now set to come into force on January 1, 2021.
Under the plan, tourists would be allowed to visit Uzbekistan for up to 30 days without a visa if they are a citizen of one of 15 different countries.
They are Australia, Austria, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, South Korea, Singapore, Finland, Switzerland, and Japan.
Tourists over the age of 55 also would be allowed to visit Uzbekistan without a visa for up to 30 days if they are citizens of the United States, Belgium, France, Poland, Hungary, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, or Israel.
Despite removing the need to obtain a formal visa, citizens from all 27 countries would still have to pay a $50 fee to enter Uzbekistan.