Kazakhstan’s 30% Surge in Foreign Arrivals Reveals Top Five Must-Visit Regions

ASTANA – By the end of the first nine months of 2023, domestic tourist numbers in the country surged by 11%, totaling around 5.4 million individuals, while foreign tourist figures soared by over a third, reaching approximately 835,000, reported the Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ press service on Feb. 13.

Almaty. Photo credit: The Astana Times/Aiman Nakispekova.

Almaty emerged as the top destination for international travelers, welcoming 409,394 visitors.

The city attracts foreigners with its ski resorts, picturesque landscapes, and pleasant climate. Recently, the Italian edition of the renowned magazine Condé Nast Italia recommended the Shymbulak ski resort in Almaty as a must-visit destination worldwide. The New York Times also included Almaty among its top 52 places to visit in 2024.

Astana ranked second, primarily drawing foreign guests for business tourism, with 220,000 visits recorded during the first nine months of 2023.

The Mangistau Region secured the third spot, with Aktau, situated on the Caspian Sea shores, witnessing the arrival of 34,435 foreign travelers during the same period.

Astana. Photo credit: The Astana Times/ Aiman Nakispekova.

The top five also included the Atyrau Region, attracting 24,431 foreign tourists, and Shymkent, which saw 20,837 foreign visitors.

“Thanks to Kazakhstan’s tourism potential and traditional hospitality, the country is becoming one of the most popular global tourist destinations,” said Nurtas Karipbayev, the Acting Chairman of the Tourism Industry Committee of the ministry. “Currently, citizens from 81 countries enjoy visa-free entry to Kazakhstan, with plans to expand this to 100. International air routes now connect Kazakhstan with more than 28 countries across 120 routes”.

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