ASTANA – During a press-conference at the Central Communications Service, Mainyura Murzamadiyeva, chairwoman of the Tourism Industry Committee of the Kazakh Culture and Sports Ministry, reminded Kazakhs there is an emergency fund available to assist them in the case of emergencies while traveling abroad.
“Due to the frequent cases of fraud on the part of some representatives of the tourist market, when it was their fault that a large number of Kazakh tourists stayed in foreign countries without a paid accommodation or a return ticket in late 2016 in Kazakhstan, the system of guaranteeing the rights of citizens of the Republic Kazakhstan in the sphere of outbound tourism, Turistik Qamqor, was introduced at the legislative level,” she said, reports ortcom.kz.
She also said more than 12,000 Kazakh traveling abroad have experienced problems with tour operators who have gone bankrupt, or due to fraudulent schemes or problems with charter airlines. She said the damage has exceeded “tens of millions of dollars.”
To access the emergency fund, Kazakhs traveling aboard must first obtain a TURKOD (tour code), said Fund Director Assylkhan Yessilov, according to Kazinform. It is issued before the crossing of the border and is indicated on the travel voucher. All tourists when buying a tour must be verified by TURKOD.
“TURKOD is a guarantee of return to the country if the tour operator cannot fulfil its obligations. If there is a situation with the impossibility of your return due to the failure of the tour operator to fulfil its obligations in the presence of the TURKOD, the administrator of the guarantee system will ensure your return home,” Yessilov said.
The emergency fund launched in 2017, and travellers are now required to get a code before international travel. Yessilov explained, however, that the fund’s employees cannot force tour operators to join the system, since the company does not have supervisory and control functions.
While the fund exists to help Kazakh tourists abroad, they should not depend only on the fund in the case of an emergency. The fund, for example, does not provide help for health-related emergencies.