ASTANA – From March 4 to 9, a Kazakh delegation headed by EXPO 2017 Commissioner and First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Rapil Zhoshybayev visited Germany to participate in the 49th International Tourism Exhibition, better known as ITB-2015. He also visited Norway and the Netherlands where he had a number of bilateral meetings.
As one of the largest exhibitions in the world, ITB, with more than 100,000 visitors each year, covers all aspects of travel and tourism: destinations, tour operators, booking system developers, airlines, hotels and other businesses engaged in tourism. In the 26 rooms of the Messe Berlin fairgrounds, about 10,000 representatives of 190 countries demonstrated tourist services and products from their respective regions. Kazakhstan was among them.
Every year, Kazakhstan participates in the ITB, which is a good opportunity to present the country’s history, culture and natural beauty. The exhibition is an effective platform for building partnerships and exchanging experience with leaders in the tourism industry.
Kazakhstan’s pavilion attracted many visitors. They had the opportunity to taste Kazakh cuisine, see national dances, hear Kazakh music on Kazakh folk instruments, and watch clothes being made from felt and the assembly of silver jewellery.
During the exhibition, the commissioner took part in the 5th World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Silk Road Ministers’ Meeting and presented a plan to bolster Kazakhstan’s tourist industry. He also informed participants about preparations for EXPO 2017, highlighting that the upcoming event will be the main driver of the development of tourism in both Kazakhstan and the region.
The head of Kazakhstan’s delegation, together with UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai helped open the Kazakhstan pavilion. Rifai emphasised how much holding EXPO 2017 in Astana will increase the number of tourists and develop city infrastructure. Rifai also noted the importance of the UNWTO Silk Road programme, in which special importance is given to Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan’s delegation also included representatives from the ministries of foreign affairs, investment and development, regional administrations and the state-owned company Astana EXPO 2017. Travel agencies and representatives from companies that make Kazakh handicrafts and jewellery also presented their products at ITB-2015.
While in Berlin, Zhoshybayev held a number of bilateral meetings with senior German officials. He met with State Secretary of the German Federal Foreign OfficeStephan Steinlein, the Deputy Minister of Economy and Energy of Germany and leaders from major German companies. He also participated in a conference titled EXPO 2017 in Astana: Opportunities for German Companies.
At a meeting with economy and energy ministry officials, the German officials responsible for Germany’s participation in EXPO 2017 discussed specific opportunities available to German companies at the event. Other issues discussed included the further deepening and widening of raw material, industrial, technological and investment cooperation between the two countries and attracting German investors to priority sectors of Kazakhstan’s domestic economy. Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Working Group for Trade and Economic Cooperation Eckhard Franz assured that Germany will be represented by one of the best pavilions at the exhibition.
In Oslo, Zhoshybayev met with State Secretary at the Foreign Ministry Morten Høglund. The sides discussed issues pertaining to international policy, as well as the current state and future of the two countries’ bilateral relations. They stressed the need to further develop political, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation.
In this regard, Zhoshybayev made note of how important it is for Norway to participate in EXPO 2017, as the country is a world leader in alternative and renewable energy sources. In turn, Høglund noted that the event’s theme, Energy of the Future, is of particular interest to Norway in its efforts to promote dialogue on energy and environmental security issues and sustainable international development.
During his time in Oslo, the commissioner also held talks with the Norwegian State Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries Dilek Ayhan. The sides expressed interest in intensifying trade and economic cooperation, including undertaking joint efforts in water management, energy efficiency, the green economy and new technologies.
Zhoshybayev told his counterpart about ongoing preparations for EXPO 2017 and on behalf of Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov, handed an invitation to Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway Erna Solberg.
In the Netherlands on March 9, on the last leg of his European visit, Zhoshybayev spoke at a round table conference on EXPO 2017, arranged by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in the Hague. Representatives of major Dutch companies such as Shell, Philips and DSM, amongst others, took part. Dutch business people learned about ongoing EXPO 2017 preparation measures and discussed ways in which they can participate in it.
In his remarks at the conference, Zhoshybayev noted the importance of the Netherlands to EXPO 2017, as the country is a major investor in Kazakhstan’s economy and one of the world leaders in the design and development of cutting edge renewable energy technology.
Dutch business representatives expressed their willingness to take an active part in organising EXPO 2017 and presenting their best technologies.