Turkmenistan has opened a new $2.3 billion air terminal at Ashgabat International Airport as the former Soviet republic’s tries to become an international transport hub in Central Asia and reduce its dependence on revenues from natural gas exports, RFERL/RL reports.
President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said during the opening ceremony on September 17 that Turkmenistan has “all the opportunities to become a transport bridge facilitating economic cooperation between Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and South Asia.”
The government in Ashgabat has taken part in a railroad project connecting Central Asia to Iran.
It also is building a $2 billion port on the Caspian Sea and is involved in a project to build a railway through Afghanistan.
Turkmenistan has a strict visa policy and only attracts about 100,000 tourists a year.
But authorities there say they hope higher numbers of foreign visitors when Ashgabat hosts the Asian Indoor Games in 2017.