Astana to open world-class tourism and hospitality university

ASTANA – The Kazakh government is planning to open an international tourism and hospitality university in the capital, the first institution of its kind in Central Asia. The university should become one of the main driving forces for Kazakh tourism growth, said Minister of Culture and Sports Arystanbek Mukhamediuly at a Sept. 24 Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) meeting.

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The ministry noted tourism in the country is lagging due to a lack of a proper corporate culture among the staff and, in particular, the shortage of tour guides speaking world languages, said Vice Minister of Culture and Sports Yerlan Kozhagapanov.

The university, as a part of the tourism development programme through 2023, should supply high level professionals that in the short term will significantly develop the travel industry, noted Mukhamediuly.

It will provide world-class diplomas using the best teaching practices of leading hospitality schools such as George Washington University, the Hong Kong School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Salzburg Institute of Hotel and Tourism Management and certain educational institutions in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, he added.

The university should fill the gap in human resources, as it will target students from the Central Asian region. The newly-certified specialists will increase the number of those employed in the field from 400,000 to 650,000.

The ministry also expects to increase external tourist flow by 2.5 million to approximately nine million visitors and domestic tourists from the current 4.6 million to 8 million.

The state project should improve the tourism contribution to the GDP from 1 to 8 percent by 2023. Mukhamediuly also envisions Kazakhstan entering the list of the 30 leading tourism countries.