Government Seeks Tourism Sector Innovations

ASTANA – “There is a need to create national brands and innovative approaches to attract foreign tourists to Kazakhstan,” the country’s Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev said on March 29.

According to Issekeshev, this has already been discussed with artisans and cultural workers. Examples of ways to promote tourism include holding festivals, developing Kazakh auyls (“villages” in Kazakh) and identifying national historic sites for the development of domestic tourism, especially for the patriotic education of children. In addition, ways to improve routes to tourist sites were thoroughly examined. This request was forwarded to the Ministry of Transport and Communications for inclusion in the Programme for Infrastructure Development, which the ministry is elaborating. A joint team will work out all the proposals. These issues are now being worked out with the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Issekeshev also mentioned issues that were discussed in the framework of the Tourism Development Programme. Issues of personnel training with the possible founding of a university in cooperation with foreign partners and issues of guides training are still on the table. Issekeshev reported that issues regarding the development of airports, tourist trains and buses were raised.

Recently, Almaty International Airport and Lufthansa Consulting finalised a comprehensive master plan development project. Now Kazakhstan’s largest international airport is on track to face future challenges in its market environment and meet international safety standards. According to the master plan results and the integrated traffic forecast to 2031 and beyond, the airport will be able to accommodate future growth in terms of passengers, cargo and aircraft movements. The expected air traffic expansion will have an important impact on the economic and social development of Almaty and Kazakhstan as a whole.

Issekeshev also emphasised that it is important to take into account the social side of these projects. It is necessary to consider ecological issues and take a careful attitude to nature, as well as to develop tourism for the disabled.

As Minister Issekeshev reported, protocols have been drawn up on each issue and all arrangements on further steps have been set forth. Most importantly, the government has decided to revive the Tourism Council with the participation of all concerned bodies and business representatives. The first meeting will be held in April, during which answers to the questions put forth so far will be discussed.

Natural landscapes, geographic features, cultural heritage, a well-developed infrastructure and safety attract tourists to potential destinations. Kazakhstan has the opportunity to cultivate a positive tourist image. It is situated in the heart of Eurasia, on the crossroads that connect the largest Asian and European countries. This beneficial geographic location can have a favourable effect on the development of international tourist relations.

Kazakhstan also has many unique wilderness areas and national reservations, as well as archaeological and historical monuments. Kazakhstan’s “Stonehenge” and the ancient Turkic clocks of Bayanaul National Park can become a brand of Pavlodar region, for example. According to archaeologists, the restoration of these sites will not only recreate their original forms, but will make the Bayanaul National Park one of the centres of tourism in Kazakhstan.

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