Insights into Destination Preferences: Kazakhstan Registers 10.5 Million Outbound Tourists 

ASTANA — According to the Bureau of National Statistics, the number of outbound tourists in Kazakhstan reached 10.5 million people in 2023. The tourism industry experts shed light on the evolving landscape of travel preferences among Kazakh tourists, at the recent international exhibition KITF 2024 in Almaty, reported Kazinform news agency. 

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According to Inna Ray, Chairwoman of the Turisik Kamkor (touristic care) Corporate Foundation, the primary destinations for Kazakh tourists are the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Türkiye and Egypt. Additionally, there has been an increasing flow of tourists to Vietnam and Thailand. Europe has become more accessible, with emerging destinations such as Prague and Milan due to enhanced air connectivity. 

Factors influencing travel choices 

“In tourism, the main thing is transport accessibility and the absence of visa formalities. We hope that European countries will simplify visa procedures in our country. It will be beneficial both for Kazakhstan and Europe,” said Ray, characterizing Kazakh tourists as high-quality tourists who prioritize comfort, top-tier hotels, exploration of new places and shopping. 

Kazakhstan’s reputation as a source of high-quality tourists presents opportunities for collaboration and mutual benefit with other countries, particularly in Europe and Asia.

Representatives of travel agencies and tour operators said destinations such as Türkiye, UAE and Egypt consistently experience high demand. Ray explained the appeal of warm destinations with a demand for relaxation from challenging climates, particularly in northern Kazakhstan.

“In general, our tourists choose visa-free destinations for holidays more often,” said Rashad Bunyadov, CEO of ANEX Tour Kazakhstan.

Rising demand for Southeast Asian destinations 

“Vietnam and Koh Samui Island in Thailand are gaining popularity,” said Anna Zagoruyko, Director of Kompas Tour Operator. She explained the constantly rising demand among Kazakh tourists, who are shifting their mindsets and priorities to experience a quality vacation.  

Lyudmila Brown, Regional Director of Sales at Fun&Sun Touroperator, added Indonesia, Bali, Maldives and Hainan Island in China to the list. She highlighted that AirAsia currently offers flights via Kuala Lumpur to Denpasar, Bali, facilitating this sought-after destination.

The reopening of borders in Southeast Asian countries after the pandemic has led to a surge in demand. The pent-up desire among travelers to visit destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam and Bali, coupled with the relatively affordable cost of living in Southeast Asia. 

Bunyadov delved deeper into factors driving Vietnam’s popularity among tourists. Vietnam has recently emerged as a focal point for Kazakh travelers due to its favorable price-to-quality ratio. Bunyadov highlighted the significant price reductions, particularly in luxury accommodations, making Vietnam a more affordable alternative to traditional favorites like Türkiye. 

Resilience of destination tourism 

Türkiye maintains its position as the top destination among Kazakh tourists, citing shared cultural and culinary similarities. Bunyadov observed a trend wherein other countries are endeavoring to replicate Türkiye’s success by offering attractive conditions and competitive pricing to attract tourists. 

Bunyadov has assessed that all tourist destinations have experienced an approximate 17% increase in prices compared to the previous year. He added that this surge has been observed in Türkiye due to the evolving geopolitical situation worldwide. 

Following the recent floods, Dubai has successfully recovered and resumed all flights from Kazakhstan to the UAE and vice versa. According to Brown, all hotels in Dubai are operating normally, and the flood-affected areas in tourist destinations have been effectively addressed and cleared, ensuring a seamless experience for travelers. 

Highlights of travel expenditures 

Based on insightful statistical findings obtained by Kazinform for 2023, most travelers from Kazakhstan are between 25 and 34 years old, with 260,804 individuals falling into this age group. The number of tourists in pre-retirement and retirement age is 111,518. 

The highest outbound tourism expenditures were made by travelers from Almaty, who spent approximately 115 billion tenge ($260 million). They were followed by tourists from Astana, who collectively spent nearly 44 billion tenge ($99.6 million). The Karaganda Region registered 34.5 billion tenge ($78.1 million), and the lowest expenditures were from residents of the Ulytau Region, who spent over 765 million tenge ($1.7 million). 

The main expenses for Kazakh tourists were transportation services, including the cost of tour packages, which exceeded 83.4 billion tenge ($188.8 million) nationwide. This was followed by expenses during the trip, including shopping for approximately 43 billion tenge ($97.3 million), food for 25 billion tenge ($56.6 million), and accommodation for 19 billion tenge ($43 million). 

The total volume of insurance premiums for mandatory tourist insurance was 6.8 billion tenge ($15.4 million), an increase of 24.8% compared to 2022. Meanwhile, the volume of voluntary insurance premiums was 4.3 billion tenge ($9.7 million). 

Based on the articles originally published in Kazinfrom. 

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