Kazakhstan, Russia to develop bilateral tourism, make border-crossing procedures more comfortable

ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s five-year tourism development programme will attract up to 13 million visitors and create more than 60,000 jobs, said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev Nov. 9 at the 15th forum on Kazakhstan-Russia interregional cooperation in Petropavlovsk.

Approximately 70 bilateral documents were signed at the event. The countries agreed to strengthen tourism, transport and logistics infrastructure coordination; develop road and railway transportation; study tourism opportunities; provide comfortable border control; improve border-crossing infrastructure and simplify the visa regime with Caspian countries.

The forum was devoted to new tourism approaches and trends in both countries.

“Tourism is one of the key drivers of growth of the global economy in current conditions. The tourism sector attracts hundreds of billions of dollars in direct investment. It has a multiplicative effect on all key sectors of the economy. Tourism is a tool for economic growth even during global economic crises,” said Nazarbayev.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, 1.8 billion people will visit popular resorts and cities and historical and cultural monuments by 2030.

“Kazakhstan and Russia need to use the opportunities. We need to take systematic measures to develop bilateral tourism. It is important to use the geographical proximity between our countries, China and India, which have high growth rates in tourism,” he added.  

The head of state noted neighbouring countries on the Caspian Sea should create a cooperation infrastructure to simplify visa and migration regimes.

“We need to increase tourist flow to the Caspian Sea and boost the potential of the Caspian Sea. There is a need to intensify work to develop the complementary entertainment and recreation infrastructure of the Caspian countries,” said Nazarbayev.

Approximately 1.7 million Russian tourists visited Kazakhstan in 2017. This year, the figure has increased by 2.3-2.4 percent.

“We expect that this indicator will reach two million people as a result of the interaction of our countries in the field of tourism,” said Kazakh Tourism deputy chairperson Timur Duissengaliyev.

The most visited sites include the Shalkar-Imantau and Shchuchinsk-Borovoye resort zones in North Kazakhstan and Akmola regions respectively, and Alakol, Balkhash and Zhasybai lakes. Fishing and hunting are popular in the West Kazakhstan region. Space tourism is also present at the Baikonur launch sites.

“Some 1.9 million tourists visit the Almaty region annually. We plan to increase the number of tourists to four million by 2019. This will create up to 30,000 workplaces. Deductions to the budget will increase and this will give impetus to the development of small and medium-sized businesses,” he added.

The 16th forum will be held next year in Omsk.