A two-day international tourism forum titled,“New Akkol – The Centre for Eco-Tourism” concluded on Feb. 8 in Akkol, which is located in the Akmola region.
This was the first forum held to discuss the consolidation of efforts between the government, businesses and the tourism industry on supporting the transition to a green economy, reported the Zakon.kz news website. Various conferences, fairs, excursions and workshops were held during the forum.
Among forum organisers were the Sustainable Development Fund, the World Tourism Organisation, the Association for the Conservation of the Biodiversity of Kazakhstan, KazAlliance (an association of students from Kazakhstan studying in the United States), Shanyrak Creativity Centre, Alem Zhastary (an association for overseas students) and theDamu Entrepreneurship Fund among others.
The forum began with a conference titled, “Ecotourism: Past, Present and Innovations,” which was attended by the Deputy Akim (Governor) of the Akkol Region Vladimir Yeliseyev, Managing Director of Astana EXPO 2017, Saltanat Rakhimbekova, the head of the Department of Tourism in the Akmola Region, Shynarbek Batyrkhanov, President of Tabigat Ecological Union of Kazakhstan Associations and Enterprises Mels Eleusizov , Deputy U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Michael Klecheski, head of the Astana Adventure Association Diyaz Baiseitov, as well as investors, representatives of the scientific community and tourist industry and experts.
Plans to develop eco-tourism in the Akmola region and Akkol, located 100 kimoletres north of Astana, were discussed at the conference, as well as the experience of other countries in this field and possibilities to apply similar policies in Kazakhstan. Other topics presented to the public included geo-cultural branding, appeal of regional investments and participation from national and regional tourism associations in promoting eco-tourism in local and foreign markets. Participants presented their tourism development projects in Akkol, such as Akkol – Youth Resort City and Yernazar Ecovillage. City deputies agreed to allocate 20 hectares to the latter project on which the resort village will sit.
“I hope that this meeting will have a strong and direct influence on the Akmola region and in particular, the city of Akkol. I expect that these ideas and projects presented today will come to life within the next few years,” President of Sustainable Development Fund Alan Besen told Zakon.kz.
He also noted that Kazakhstan is becoming known for its hospitality and the importance of this in promoting tourism, saying that Kazakhstan is ready to “smile to the world”. He said that the forum’s younger participants, who generally have new ideas about promoting tourism, are ready to stay in Akkol and help further the project.
The tourism department of the Kazakhstan Ministry of Investments and Development, the Akkol Akimat and the Akmola Regional Tourism Development State Institution helped organise the forum.