NUR-SULTAN – The Kazakh Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources and Ministry of Culture and Sports are planning ecological tourism projects in Charyn, Ile-Alatau and Kolsai Lakes national parks.
The programme will increase the annual tourist flow from 1.3 million to 3.4 million by 2025 and ensure the quality of services provided, the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources press service reported Aug. 14.
“National parks have the great potential for the development of ecological tourism. These are specially protected natural areas. The task is set to protect the ecosystems in the parks and to monitor their conservation zones for environmental, educational, scientific, tourist, recreational and limited economic purposes,” said Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources Magzum Mirzagaliev.
The ministries will launch the pilot project in an effort to introduce a new management model using best world practices to develop sustainable tourism.
“The tourism in national parks today is not well-developed. It is characterised by poor service, lack of infrastructure, inability to promote unique natural sites as the brand of a national park, lack of professional personnel in the field of tourism and other issues. We plan to develop sustainable ecological tourism with the Kazakh Tourism company to test a new management model in three national parks,” he added.
The new model will create approximately 20,000 jobs and attract about 100 billion tenge (US$258 million) in investment in the next five-seven years.
“This will happen due to diversification of tourism products. Today, as a rule, people visit the parks for a short overnight stay. There are a limited number of equipped routes and viewing platforms in the national parks. Now, we will improve the infrastructure,” said Kazakh Tourism Board Deputy Chairperson Kairat Sadvakassov.
The plans will be reviewed. While previous plans focused mainly on biodiversity and environmental conservation, international experience proves it is possible to save the environment and increase the number of tourists.
The project is expected to implement and promote innovative ideas, programmes and technologies aimed at developing high-quality tourism infrastructure, taking into account the interests of preserving the existing ecosystem. International experts and organisations will be invited to execute best practices.
Kazakh national parks are part of the specially protected natural areas regulated by law. There is a special regime that ensures conserving the natural resources, complexes and objects of the state nature reserve fund. Conducting the pilot projects will make it possible to apply the experience to the 13 national natural parks.