NUR-SULTAN – The Kazakh government will allocate extra funds to travel companies for each foreign tourist to offset the costs of companies starting from Jan. 1, 2022, according to the decree of the Kazakh Ministry of culture and sports from Dec. 15.
The subsidy amount is 15,000 tenge (US$34,61) for each foreigner, who comes to the country using the services of local travel firms.
As several tourist experts point out, such a reform was implemented to foster the recovery of the tourism sector after the pandemic lockdown measures and motivate travel companies’ employees to attract more tourists and raise the industry to a new level.
To receive a subsidy, a tour operator has to submit an application in paper or electronic form by email or personally to the relevant authority.
“We would like this system to operate, but it is slow because our country is still closed to foreign visitors,” said Inna Rey, President of Kazakh Association of Tour Operators, in her interview with the KTK television channel.
According to data released by the Kazakh Bureau of National Statistics, there were 8,789,314 foreign tourists in the country in 2018, 8,514,989 – in 2019, and 2,034, 753 – in 2020.
To date, nationals of 54 countries need a visa to enter Kazakhstan. They may also receive a single entry visa without a letter of invitation in such categories as A3 (service visa), B1 (business visa), B3 (business visa), B10 (private visa), and B12 (tourist visa).
There are several countries whose citizens are eligible to enter without visas, as Kazakhstan has concluded separate bilateral agreements on mutual visa-free travel with them. They include Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.