ASTANA – Burabay State National Natural Park commenced its winter season with a festive concert at the Kazakh Lapland on Dec. 17. Known for its breathtaking nature, characterized by dense forests and pristine lakes, Burabay draws thousands of tourists annually. The winter season enhances the region’s allure, transforming it into a fairy-tale wonderland.
Discovering Kazakh Lapland
One notable winter attraction is the Santa Claus Village, located beside the Rixos Hotel, or Kazakh Lapland.
Kazakh Lapland was established in 2012 as a representation of Finnish Lapland winter festive zones. It is a smaller version of the real Lapland, with activities like reindeer rides, dog sledding, skating, skiing, and horse and pony rides. The park appeals to children and adults, featuring encounters with a shaman in a village and a magical ice town with slides and a skating rink. For many, visiting this park has become a cherished tradition.
Letters to Santa arrive annually from every corner of Kazakhstan, and Santa’s helpers, the elves, assist in sorting and responding to them. Santa’s residence is adorned with intricate details, and this year, a new addition is the terrarium.
Maral breeding farm
Another noteworthy destination is the maral breeding farm, offering daily excursions for school children to encounter real marals and learn about national dishes and traditions. Visitors can also purchase healing remedies from the pan-treatment center, which is known for strengthening immune systems. The on-site agro-farm lets visitors buy local treasures such as mushrooms, berries, and herbal blends.
Unlocking tourism potential
The Akmola Region plays a pivotal role in realizing Kazakhstan’s tourism potential. Contributing more than 9%, equivalent to 16.5 billion tenge ($36 million) out of the total 175.7 billion tenge ($385 million) to tourism services, the region boasts 9% of all accommodations in the country (353 out of 4,009 units).
A comprehensive master plan aligns with the detailed project for the Burabay settlement, envisioning the construction of large parking areas for 500 and 1,800 vehicles on a 700-hectare site. In 2023, a successful project implemented a 500-space parking lot.
The region welcomed a total tourist flow of 956,700 people in the first eight months. This includes 404,200 people staying in accommodations, 17,200 in sanatoriums and health resorts, and 535,300 visiting the State National Natural Park. There’s a high likelihood of exceeding the year-end target, surpassing 1.2 million people, including residents (domestic tourists).
Between January and September, the region welcomed 15,838 foreign tourists, marking an increase of nearly 3,200 people compared to the previous year.
Burabay Damu Company oversees the development of the national park and the Shchuchinsk-Burabay resort area. Responsibilities include maintaining and servicing facilities within the resort area, such as the visitor center, multimedia interactive complex on Abylai Khan meadow, Kazakh Lapland, zoo, and maral breeding farm.
The upcoming Ice Town Festival is anticipated to provide a unique platform for professional craftsmen to showcase their creative skills by crafting captivating ice sculptures.
The article was originally published in Kazinform.