Vice Minister of Investment and Development Albert Rau recently announced the creation of a new insurance fund for Kazakh tourists travelling abroad at the beginning of next year. The announcement was made during a Central Communications Service (CCS) press conference held on Sept. 18.
“We have faced cases when a tour operator, after sending people to resorts, appeared unable to pay their return. Moreover, there are a lot of travel agencies going bankrupt nowadays. In order to ensure that Kazakh citizens will return back home safely, the Ministry of Investment and Development sent a bill to establish compulsory insurance for people going abroad to the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) for consideration,” said Rau.
It is planned that the bill will be introduced for signature to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev this year. According to the vice minister, the new organisation will be managed not by the government, but the business community, which is represented by tour operators and insurance companies. It is believed that such measure will make the work of the fund as transparent and efficient as possible.
“Every tourist before going abroad will be obliged to pay 0.5 of a monthly calculation index (MCI), which composes approximately 1,000 tenge (US$4). The money will be spent to cover insurance risks. These funds will be returned after the tourist season is over and in case of an absence of accidents. It will affect air traffic as well. In case a tour operator decides to use charter flights, he will be obliged to contribute to the fund by paying a special deposit. If the market collapses, tourists will be able to come back using the charter flight, which has been insured by the travel agency,” explained Rau.
The proposal to create a fund has been made based on the experience of such countries as the U.K., Finland, Norway and Sweden.
A large number of Kazakh tourists this year went had negative experiences while on holidays in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Thailand and Malaysia, when they realised that their tickets were invalid.
“The initiative was suggested by local business representatives. Our goal is to provide a legislative framework. All financial flows will be managed by business itself,” said Timur Duisengaliyev, who directs the tourism department at the Ministry of Investment and Development.
It was also announced that prices for tourist vouchers are not expected to be changed, as it is not in the interests of travel agencies.