Tour Agencies: Kazakhs Travelling Less Overseas, More across Kazakhstan

ASTANA – Kazakhs are tending to take fewer trips overseas due to decreased purchasing capacity due to devaluation of the national currency tenge and the fact many destinations have become less desirable. As travel agencies attempt to develop and promote the country’s own tourism, much work needs to be done by the government, said Meridian Travel & Tourism Director Tatyana Vertey.

“Decreased purchasing capacity has definitely affected Kazakhstan’s residents travelling too far abroad. People travel less now, however, clients are gradually starting to come back and purchase travel packages,” she added.

Egypt, Sri Lanka, Thailand and United Arab Emirates (UAE) are among the spots currently in highest demand.

“All destinations have ‘dived’ because of the national currency’s [devaluation]. Less people travel to Europe compared to UAE, Thailand or Sri Lanka. Europe has a different type of recreation and is more expensive from an economic point of view,” said Vertey.

Overseas resorts in UAE, India (Goa) and Sri Lanka are currently less expensive locations for residents. Georgia is also a popular spot.

The company tries to develop and offer tours across Kazakhstan, although Vertey noted it needs government support.

“There are certain gaps in Kazakhstan’s resort recreation such as service, accommodations and so on. First of all now, we need help from the government in this regard,” said the director. “From our side, we will be promoting and selling tours directly to and across the country, will be offering travelling to citizens of Kazakhstan and also plan to invite foreigners and show the country to them.”

More offers and special deals are available compared to last year. People travel less and companies keep acclimating to new situations.

“We will adapt to any conditions. Those people who flew for vacationing and who could afford to do it two or three times a year, they will be travelling once a year now,” said Vertey. “There are such clients and we will adapt to the current condition we are in now, will be developing and promoting tourism in Kazakhstan,” she said.

Despite complicated situations in outbound tourism, Kazakh tour operators and agencies are trying to promote and develop internal tourism both for citizens and foreign tourists.

Russians have started vacationing more in Kazakhstan and the country is slowly coming closer to a being popular tourist destination.

“I can’t tell exactly now, we have to see when the travelling season starts. Vacationers usually travel in summer… I hope there will be sales due to the situation that has unfolded… However, I don’t see active travelling now,” said Bakhyt Nusipbayeva, director of Aktau-based tour operator Kurorty Gruzii.

Her company has been operating for three years and particularly sends tourists to Georgia, which currently affords a rather inexpensive vacation. The company plans to develop internal tourism in the future.

“I always tell people I know to come and see Georgia, the beautiful sites it has apart from the sea. This year’s vacation is very cheap, too,” said Nusipbayeva.

Georgia also presently has a currency devaluation.

“Prices depend on the dollar, we do exchange of currency. Of course, the dollar in Georgia went up and the costs of a travel package went up as well.

“People who always vacationed and know how to do it, they will always be vacationing in my opinion. I can’t tell now because we have seasonal work, especially during the summer period… I don’t know what the situation will be this year, we are waiting to see as well,” she added.

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