President Seeks to Boost Almaty Tourism Infrastructure

ASTANA – President Nursultan Nazarbayev recently tasked Almaty Akim (Mayor) Akhmetzhan Yessimov to continue developing Almaty’s infrastructure and underlined that tourism is to play a key role in the region’s development.

“I have instructed (the akim) to extensively work on the development of tourism where skiing plays an important role, (utilizing the) potential of the mountains in region. This will create more jobs,” the president said in an Oct. 10 meeting at the Akorda presidential palace in Astana.

“We bid to host the Winter Olympic Games in 2022 in Almaty. Such significant sports venues should have a positive impact on the development of sports in the city and let the world learn about our country through Almaty,” said Nazarbayev.

According to the presidential press service, Yessimov updated President Nazarbayev on Almaty’s development over the last nine months and assured him that the city will continue to develop in all areas.

“We had a meeting with the management of the World Tourism Organization. Winter sports experts from all over the world have visited Almaty and we had progressive discussions and have agreed to host several events with their support,” the Almaty Akim said at the meeting.

Yessimov emphasized that a lot of work is being done to make Almaty a tourist centre, according to president’s instructions.

The world’s ninth largest country by landmass boasts historical mausoleums, mountains, national parks and, resorts such as Burabay near Astana and Karkaraly near Karaganda. But in many respects, Kazakhstan’s tourism potential is overshadowed by a lack of infrastructure in most of these areas.

However, Kazakhstan does have significant winter sports infrastructure as a result of hosting the Asian Winter Games in 2011 in Astana and Almaty. Almaty now boasts a large multipurpose sports complex, a ski jump and a biathlon stadium. The country’s top mountain skiing facilities, Shymbulak and Medeo, also underwent significant renovations in 2008.

Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, is currently preparing to host the World Winter Universiade in 2017.

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