NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan’s wildlife and unique environment were identified as some of the main advantages of travelling in the country during a recent public talk by travel bloggers in the capital.
“Tourists always spoke about the unusual, colourful and diverse nature and culture in Kazakhstan. Foreign tourists are now eager to explore the unknown locations and landscapes. In this direction, Kazakhstan can compete with its closest neighbours – Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan,” said Kazakh Tourism Deputy Board Chair Kairat Sadvakasov.
A tourist often sees everything through his or her phone camera and before visiting, watches reviews on YouTube.
“A modern tourist is an absolutely fearless person. He or she does not care about any unrest in Egypt or explosions in Thailand. There are 1.3 billion travellers in the world and this number is increasing every day. This means that people will still come whether we have infrastructure or not. At the same time, Kazakhstan is not in an absolutely win-win situation. Neighbouring countries mainly focus on the same aspects as we do,” he noted.
The country’s rich culture and nature are interesting for tourists, said PhotoSafari.kz project manager Konstantin Kikvidze.
“We should pay attention to the country’s advantages. For example, the lack of the internet is a good opportunity to enjoy nature and relax without endlessly responding to messages in instant messengers. The fact is that you can come to Kazakhstan and enjoy life to the fullest. You can get lost in the wildness and enjoy what the world may not have left because of widespread globalisation. Then, we can also develop comfortable, standard, adventure and luxury tourism. At this stage, let’s focus on adventures in the wild environment,” said website co-founder and project manager Kateryna Koshko.
The PhotoSafari team has been traveling throughout the country for 10 years, showing and telling tourists about its hidden sites, mountains and lakes, dunes and deserts, steppes and forests. Its work helps them receive feedback from authorities, talk about the tourism industry’s major issues and highlight strengths that need to be further developed.
“As an experienced traveller, I am proud that I am Kazakh. I have such a wonderful opportunity to study and travel in my country. I explore our country. I sleep under the stars, climb dunes, struggle with the wind, walk around the steppes and forests. Our country is the best one. I’ve lived in the United States. I have been to Southeast Asia and the Himalayas, but you probably will not find as diverse landscape, people and culture on the whole earth as we have in our country,” she added.
Koshko shared the story of a recent trip to East Kazakhstan, where travel bloggers from East Asia, the Philippines, Russia and the United States spent an hour and a half photographing a herd of horses. They were also intrigued by a shepherd watching his flock.
“What is normal for us is simply ‘Wow’ for a foreigner. This was a unique thing that they came for. They came for stories. East Kazakhstan is a place full of magic, fairy tales, legends, mountains, lakes and fogs. They come to see landscapes, but first of all, tourists want to see how local people live,” she said.
Turkish travel blogger and photographer Umit Yoruk, who visited the country as part of this summer’s Open Kazakhstan expedition, was impressed by the nature and landscapes. The local people and hospitality also amazed him.
Yoruk created an album on Instagram, where he shares some hacks about how they shot and edited the photos.
“Exploring Turkestan, a city in amazing Kazakhstan, and the Khoja Ahmed Yassawi Mausoleum is a must visit… You can see how friendly and full of life the people are. Hope to visit this fantastic country again soon… We had an amazing lunch in this friendly family’s home in Turkistan in Kazakhstan. I love travel because it helps me to find amazing people like this,” he wrote on his Instagram account @iamtravelr.
This trip inspired him to launch his new project, Greetings from Kazakhstan.
“People were so friendly and welcoming to us and that is why we decided to create a project about them. We want to show the world how beautiful they are, so we shot a series of portrait photos with our iPhones,” he said.