For the fourth year in a row, Shabanbai-bi village has been the centre of ecotourism in the Aktogay district. The Kyzylarai nature reserve, with its combination of mountains and steppe, rare animals and Bronze Age monuments, continues to attract travellers to the region.
Karaganda travel agencies have developed a special tour route for the district and now ecotourists from Europe are exploring Aktogay’s historical and natural heritage. Shabanbai-bi borders the wildlife reserve and has guesthouses that cater to tourists. One of them belongs to forester Askar Murasov and his family. His wife, Raushan Dyusembekova, owns a small hotel which she opened following the example of her neighbours. The village hosts tourists all year round.
This spring, when the family wanted to rebuild their old house but did not have the funds, the regional employment centre offered Dyusembekova a loan through the Employment 2020 programme, which supports the development of small businesses. Work was soon underway and the opening of the house is planned for January. The new house will be one of the most comfortable in the village, with three bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom with running water. Every month, they receive 15 visitors, enough to maintain their business at a good level.
The hostess’s task is to keep the house clean and cook local dishes that the guests love. Dyusembekova says that their foreign visitors like kuyrdak, beshbarmak and baursaks. If the business grows, the family says they will build a new house.