Kazakhstan Sees Record Tourism Indicators in 2023

ASTANA – Last year, Kazakhstan fully recovered from the pandemic and has reached an all-time high in key tourism indicators, Minister of Tourism and Sports Yermek Marzhikpayev said at a May 14 government meeting chaired by Prime Minister Olzhas Bektenov.

Tourist is walking climb in the mountain valley with snowy peaks at sunset cloudy sky background in Central Asia, Kazakhstan. Photo credit: Shutterstock.

In 2023, foreign tourist arrivals in Kazakhstan doubled to 9.2 million from 4.7 million recorded in 2022. Meanwhile, the number of domestic tourists exceeded 9.6 million.

Services provided to tourists at accommodation sites reached 230 billion tenge (US$521.1 million), contributing 450 billion tenge (US$1 billion) in tax revenues to the treasury.

Investments in fixed assets surged by 53% to 787 billion tenge (US$1.7 billion). In the first quarter of 2024, investments in the tourism sector increased threefold to 177 billion tenge (US$401 million).

Bektenov instructed governors of the Atyrau, Karagandy, Pavlodar, Akmola, West Kazakhstan, and Zhetisu regions to comprehensively resolve infrastructure issues and enhance service quality, as these areas have not fully realized their tourism potential, recording a decrease in the rate of investment attraction.

“We have a lot of beautiful places that are extremely difficult to reach,” he said. “Take, for example, Eastern Kazakhstan or lakes Balkhash and Alakol. There are no proper roads and access routes, parking at attractions, or campsites.”

The Prime Minister necessitated providing infrastructure in tourist areas and creating attractive conditions for investors, given that foreign nationals currently face overpriced services due to low competition in the market.

Despite visa-free entry for citizens of 82 countries and international flights to 29 countries on 108 routes, foreign visitors encounter visa issuance challenges due to technical problems.

To address this, the government is considering introducing a modern Neo Nomad Visa, offering long-term stays in Kazakhstan with an expected annual economic impact exceeding 3 billion tenge (US$6.7 million).

Bektenov highlighted Kazakhstan’s enormous potential for ecological, cultural, pilgrimage, and health tourism, urging the development of agro-rural and ecotourism projects, completion of infrastructure projects in recreational areas, an increase in the number of trains, and improved pricing for air tickets.

Get The Astana Times stories sent directly to you! Sign up via the website or subscribe to our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, YouTube and Tiktok!