Foreign tourists have a growing interest to Kazakhstan. Since the beginning of the year, the tourist inflow in Kazakhstan has grown by 4% compared to last year. According to the Ministry of National Economy, in six months, more than 320,000 foreign nationals visited Kazakhstan. Tourism industry revenues in January-June totaled 15.4 billion tenge. According to experts, this is no coincidence. Kazakhstan is interested in strengthening business and cultural ties and integration. Starting from next year, citizens of Poland, Austria, Germany, Brazil and another 44 states will be able to visit the country without entry travel visas.
Rashida SHAIKENOVA, DIRECTOR, KAZAKH TOURIST ASSOCIATION:
Visa-free entry to citizens of countries including South Korea played a positive role. Moreover, the list of visa-free countries has been expanded. Given the fact that this list will include 48 countries, it is clear that the number of tourists will grow too.
Today, the so-called business tourism accounts for major part of the industry. Foreigners arrive in Kazakhstan to conclude trade deals, to seek new contracts, share experiences at meetings and conferences.
Oksana TIKHONOVA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TRAVEL COMPANY:
There is a congress tourism, which includes people to attend a variety of events, conferences and exhibitions. And so we observe a positive surge of interest to Kazakhstan, and we want to boost this interest. We see how people from Southeast Asia, Singapore and Hong Kong are having higher interest in visiting Kazakhstan. Europeans are interested as well. The largest share of interest is seen from Russia.
According to research, the most frequently visited destinations are the cities of Astana, Almaty, and the cities of West Kazakhstan region. According to experts, the authorities are conducting major work to make the cities comfortable for leisure. Another interesting trend, according to experts, is the development of ecological ethno-tourism in Kazakhstan, where travelers have the opportunity to get to know the history of the country, experience its culture, stay in real villages, in other words to become a nomad for some time. Talking about prospects, market participants are optimistic about 2017, and hope that the expo will give an impetus to the further development and attraction of foreign tourists and investors. Concerning domestic tourism, experts also expect changes, mainly due to those companies that are focused on domestic and inbound tourism. In general, the market will maintain growth at the level of 5 - 10% per year.