Head of State chairs meeting on tourism promotion

14.06.2024
Head of State  chairs meeting on tourism promotion

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev chaired a meeting on promotion of tourism in the country.

Attending the event were Prime Minister Olzhas Bektenov, head of the Presidential Administration Aibek Dadebai, Prosecutor General Berik Assylov, Chairman of the National Security Committee Yermek Sagimbayev, government members, mayors of Astana and republican significance cities and regional governors, heads of national companies and the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs Atameken, business representatives.

Opening the meeting, the Head of State stressed that tourism acts as a driver of dynamic development of global economy. The sector is among the most attractive ones for investors, he added.

Today, the share of tourism in the global gross product exceeds 9%. Thus, it can be said that the figure is recovering to the pre-pandemic level. Tourism is responsible for around 10% of the total jobs worldwide, generating each fourth new job. Tourist services account for 30% of the global export, 7% of investments and 5% of tax revenues. Kazakhstan has everything needed to promote all types of tourism: from eco- to business tourism, said the Kazakh President.

Tokayev pointed to a failure in unraveling the tourist potential taking into account the country’s geographic location, diverse nature, rich and unique historic and cultural heritage.

Head of State Tokayev slammed the government and regional authorities as the share of tourism in the country’s economy has fallen from 3.7% to 3.2% in the past four years.

This figure is lower than the global average by almost three times. Moreover, the country falls behind its neighbors with the same climate and culture, said Tokayev, calling for prompt systemic measures for a quality leap in promoting tourism.

The Kazakh President outlined a number of priority areas requiring special attention. According to him, it is necessary to increase the tourism sector’s investment attractiveness in the first place.

For example, out of 17 breakthrough investment projects, there were only two major tourist projects, that need considerable budget infusions. It seems like the government’s work with investors ready to carry out projects at their own expense lacks efficiency. They only need support in terms of infrastructure. It is necessary to create transparent and stable conditions to attract investors in the tourist sector, said the Kazakh President.

Tokayev believes that it is important to attach great attention to attracting in Kazakhstan leading foreign IT specialists – digital nomads from around the globe. The government was tasked to launch the special programs Digital Nomad Visa and Digital Nomad Residency this October.

According to the Head of State, one of the serious problems facing domestic tourism is poor transport infrastructure, affecting the influx of guests from abroad as well.

Almost 90% of foreign tourists arrive in Kazakhstan from the neighboring CIS countries. There are few tourists coming from far abroad. The international studies show that over 70% of travelers prefer visiting vacation destinations within four hours of flight. That is, Kazakhstan could be very attractive for tourists from China, India, countries of East Asia and the Middle East... Basically, it is possible to double or even triple the number of tourists in the next five years. It is important to develop air transport. It is necessary to expand the presence of low-cost carriers on the popular flights in the first place, accounting for a mere 21% of the airline industry of Kazakhstan, said the Kazakh President.

Head of State Tokayev criticized the government’s plans to develop 20 tourist zones in all regions of the country at once, stating that such an approach is inefficient and will lead to splitting over-allocated resources. According to him, it is important to develop the most perspective facilities set to become Kazakhstan’s visiting cards at the global level as soon as possible.

The best destinations are the mountain cluster of Almaty region, beach tourism of Mangistau and Shchuchinsk-Burabay resort zone. Almaty is the major tourism center in Kazakhstan. The city accounts for a fourth of the total tourist flow, including half of the foreign travelers. However, the city’s tourist infrastructure cannot deal with the growing demand. At Shymbulak, the flow of visitors exceeds its capacity by 2.5 times on weekends. Therefore, it is necessary to develop the ski cluster, including through construction of an all-season mountain resort in the Turgen gorge in Almaty region, said the Head of State.

Tokayev noted that the unique natural, historic and cultural sites of the Shchuchinsk-Burabay resort zone are the country’s unique heritage.

Burabay’s close location to Astana ensures it has a constant flow of residents and guests of the capital. The number of tourists grows every year. However, the construction of infrastructure moves very slow. As a result, the environmental situation in the places of mass recreation remains difficult, while the authorities delaying the realization of major infrastructure projects, said the Kazakh President.

Concluding his speech, the President touched upon environmental concerns, stressing that it is important not to harm nature under the pretense of tourist development.

By Kazinform