ASTANA – Almaty and Astana have been among the top 10 most visited cities by Russian tourists this year, according to a survey by Russian website Travel.ru.
Minsk, Kiev, Baku, Yerevan, Vitebsk, Bishkek, Tashkent and Chisinau were also among the top 10, according to online bookings made without the aid of a travel agent.
The survey also showed that the number of online bookings for hotels in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) increased by almost 1.5 times in the last year.
Aktau and Aktobe were listed among the top 20 of the most visited cities of the CIS. Belarus’s Brest, Grodno and Gomel; Ukraine’s Lviv, Odessa and Kharkov; as well as Turkmenistan’s Ashgabat and Tajikistan’s Dushanbe were also on the list.
The research showed tourists spent an average of $73 per day for a hotel in Minsk, $87 in Kiev, $84 in Almaty, $78 in Baku and $63 in Yerevan.
Astana was named the most expensive capital of the CIS with hotel prices at $115 per day while the average hotel budget in Bishkek is only $30 per day.
According to Travel.ru, Kazakhstan was ranked as the third most visited country after Belarus and Ukraine. Sixteen percent of Russian citizens travelling to the CIS chose Kazakh cities as their destination. Thirty-seven percent went to Belarus and 22 percent headed to Ukraine. Azerbaijan and Armenia were also in the top five.
On average, Russian tourists spent four days and $80 per day for hotels in the countries visited.
The Borovoye resort is among the most visited places during the summer season, as well as Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan, Lake Narach in Belarus, the village Nabran in Azerbaijan and Sevan in Armenia.
The most visited attractions in Astana include the Baiterek Tower, Akorda, Hazret Sultan Mosque, Astana Opera, the Palace of Peace and Harmony and the Khan Shatyr Entertainment Centre. Astana is famous for its modern architecture, while Almaty offers more history. Almaty attractions include the Medeu Skating Rink and Ski Resort, beautiful lakes, the Kasteev Art Gallery, Panfilov Park and the Kok Tobe Cable Car.