ASTANA – The Kazakh government allocated 500 million tenge (US$1.5 million) in 2017 and more than 800 million tenge (US$2.5 million) in 2018 to build infrastructure to make the Alakol shoreline a tourism hotspot.
Due to natural climatic conditions, winter sports, fishing, hunting, medical, cultural and beach tourism are developing in the region, said Symbat Ramazanov, director of East Kazakhstan tourist information centre during the presentation of eastern Kazakhstan destinations at the recent international tourist exposition KITF in Almaty.
Natural attractions of East Kazakhstan are grouped into the Pearls of Altai cluster to promote their touristic potential. The cluster includes the Alakol, Zaisan and Markakol lakes, the Berel burial mounds and Katon-Karagai National Park.
Ramazanov also added that scientific research to study the medicinal properties of Alakol is underway. In the first stage, 27 microelements and the presence of healing radon gas were discovered. As a result, tourism businesses might expand their services to operate regardless of bathing season.
The East Kazakhstan region leads the country in terms of number of hotel rooms with 500 lodging places, totaling 27,713 rooms.
Last year, one billion tenge (US$3 million) was allocated to modernize tourism facilities around Alakol. An additional 900 million tenge (US$2.7 million) was spent to rebuild the road leading to Alakol and Zhalanashkol, a lake with medicinal clay.
In 2017, 750,000 tourists visited the Alakol area. The improvement of infrastructure continues, and the lake can be accessed by land, rail and air routes.