Kazakhstan Expands Tourism Horizons with Malaysia’s AirAsia 

ASTANA — Deputy Minister of Tourism and Sports Yerzhan Yerkinbayev held a meeting with representatives from Air Asia X, led by General Director Benjamin bin Ismail on Dec. 21, the ministry’s press service reported. The discussions centered around the collaborative efforts to develop Kazakhstan’s tourism sector, plans to amplify passenger traffic, and joint initiatives to foster tourism. 

Photo credit: Ministry of Tourism and Sports

Yerkinbayev emphasized the pivotal role of direct flights, stating that they not only break down barriers for travelers but also contribute to making the country more accessible.

Ministry of Tourism and Sports

“Direct flights not only reduce barriers for travelers, making the country more accessible, but also help increase the number of tourists, expand the geography of inbound tourism, and create new opportunities for the tourism business,” said Yerkinbayev.

With the launch of direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Almaty, Yerkinbayev anticipates a surge in business tourism, fostering the exchange of experience and knowledge and creating new investment avenues.

For its part, Air Asia expressed its commitment to the partnership by revealing plans to initiate direct scheduled passenger flights between Kuala Lumpur and Almaty. These flights are expected to operate four times a week on Airbus A330 aircraft, starting from March 2024. 

This move is anticipated to unlock new opportunities for tourism, trade, economic, and investment cooperation between Kazakhstan and Malaysia. 

The initiation of direct flights between Kazakhstan and key destinations is just the first phase of the partnership. Negotiations with various AirAsia entities began in 2018, with AirAsia X management visiting the Kazakh capital as part of the Routes Silk Road initiative.

Kairat Sadvakasov, Chairman of Kazakh Tourism national company, detailed plans for a joint marketing campaign to increase the flow of tourists, mainly from Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand, all of which enjoy visa-free access.

AirAsia X, the largest low-cost airline in Southeast Asia specializing in medium- and long-haul passenger transportation, is poised to provide affordable prices for air tickets, further encouraging travel between Kazakhstan and Southeast Asian destinations. The move is expected to invigorate tourism, trade, and economic ties between the nations involved in this collaboration.

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