Residents discuss benefits, inconveniences of EXPO 2017

ASTANA – Some capital residents are happy the much-talked-about EXPO 2017 will benefit the city, entrepreneurs and Kazakhstan’s image. To others, however, it seems like a waste of budget money and resulting discomfort. The Astana Times interviewed several residents to get their impressions of the upcoming international specialised exposition.

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“As a resident, the upcoming expo exhibition pleases me, with a chance to see new technologies in the energy field as well as other events tied to the exhibition such as concerts, circus, performances and exhibitions,” said entrepreneur Gulnara Ashirbayeva.

Families will have an opportunity to rest and learn something new on their off-days.

“We can also invite our relatives and friends to Astana and as part of showing the city to them, we can take them to this grand happening and attend all the activities to be held within the exhibition,” she added.

Ashirbayeva noted while all international expositions cost quite a bit of money, they are worth it. In addition to providing entertainment and insight, such events help boost Kazakhstan’s image in the world, make it recognisable and attract tourists who pay local businesses for services in hotels, airlines and other areas.

“In a tax form, this money will renew the city’s budget. The exhibition gives a job to entrepreneurs and joy to ordinary people,” she said.

Serik Abduov does not enjoy telling people about Kazakhstan when traveling abroad, so EXPO 2017 will do the talking for him.

“Unfortunately, the country is not always known far beyond its borders; that’s why for me, EXPO 2017 is a chance to showcase our country. This exhibition will not simply be about new technologies, but also Kazakhstan. We can demonstrate our culture, cuisine, hospitality and our capital,” he said.

The lead-up to the exhibition does not always create a positive impression, as all the buzz around the event and its preparations can result in dissatisfaction. People don’t always like it when a lot of money is being spent from the state budget.

“Getting to work gave me discomfort at traffic jams, as many roads are under renovation and a lot of construction work is going on. Areas near houses are dug up and all that,” said Abduov.

Yet he believes the exhibition will benefit the country, certain individuals, entrepreneurs and ordinary citizens who can receive some dividend from it in the long run.   

“I think it is really hard to evaluate the prestige of the country and our capital in terms of money; therefore, I think in the future we will see what the exhibition gave to this country and Astana. It is early to make judgments about it now,” he added.

Dina Botabayeva believes this is a grand occasion for the capital city, as a variety of important events often take place there. She feels EXPO 2017 is more of a cultural event.

“For example, cultural events are held more often in Almaty rather than Astana, while this time the capital was selected to host the exhibition. Many people can come and get to know Astana thanks to the expo. This is important and interesting to me as a native, that the city is changing due to this exhibition. Various new technologies are being introduced, like for example stands for charging mobile phones near the Congress Hall concert hall. I think we wouldn’t have this without EXPO 2017,” she noted.

Botabayeva is glad the exhibition will be held, despite the fact that a lot of money was spent on it. She suggests the event is more about human resources and energy rather than money.

“Many foreigners are interested in coming to visit the exhibition and see the city. Many people think wrongly about Astana, like it is a place where horses and yurts are. They will understand that Astana is modern when they come to visit,” she said.

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