Tourism in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is the ninth-largest country by area and the largest landlocked country. Today, tourism is not a major component of the economy. As of 2014, tourism has accounted for 0.3% of Kazakhstan's GDP, but the government has plans to increase it to 3% by 2020. According to the World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017, travel and tourism industry GDP in Kazakhstan is $3.08 billion or 1.6 percent of total GDP. The WEF ranks Kazakhstan 81st in its 2017 report, which is four positions higher compared to the previous period. Kazakhstan received 6.5 million tourists in 2016.
In 2012, Kazakhstan ranked 51st in the world in terms of number of tourist arrivals. In 2000 total 1.47 million international tourists visited Kazakhstan, which was increased to 4.81 million in 2012. The Guardian describes tourism in Kazakhstan as, "hugely underdeveloped," despite the attractions of the country's dramatic mountain, lake and desert landscapes. Factors hampering an increase in tourist visits are said to include high prices, "shabby infrastructure," "poor service" and the logistical difficulties of travel in a geographically enormous, underdeveloped country. Even for locals, going for holiday abroad may cost only half the price of taking a holiday in Kazakhstan. High-end tourists like Britain's Prince Harry have visited for the skiing.
The Kazakh Government, long characterized as authoritarian with a history of human rights abuses and suppression of political opposition, has started an initiative named the "Tourism Industry Development Plan 2020". This initiative aims to establish five tourism clusters in Kazakhstan: Astana city, Almaty city, East Kazakhstan, South Kazakhstan, and West Kazakhstan Oblasts. It also seeks investment of $4 billion and the creation of 300,000 new jobs in the tourism industry by 2020.
In May, 1999 the Kazakhstan Tourism Association (President - Roza Asanbayeva) was founded with the approval of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. KTA is a non-commercial, non-governmental organization including following members: the Kazakhstan Association of Hotels and Restaurants (Honour President - Kuat Tanysbayev), Amadeus computerized reservation systems, tour operators, insurance companies, airlines, universities and the media. The association's main objective is to protect the interests of over 400 members, by lobbying the government and promoting tourism within the national economy.
Kazakhstan offers a permanent visa-free regime for up to 90 days to citizens of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia and Ukraine and for up to 30 days to citizens of Argentina, Azerbaijan, Serbia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
Kazakhstan established a visa-free regime for citizens of 45 countries including European Union and OECD member states, the USA, UAE, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Arrivals by country
Most visitors arriving to Kazakhstan were from the following countries of nationality:
- Joanna Lillis for EurasiaNet, part of the New East. "Summer holiday in Kazakhstan? Astana eases visa restrictions to attract tourists | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- "Kazakhstan: Astana Announces Visa-Free Travel for 10 High-Investing States". EurasiaNet.org. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- "Country profiles". Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- "International tourism, number of arrivals – Kazakhstan". Mecometer.com. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- Lillis, Joanna (17 July 2014). "Summer holiday in Kazakhstan? Astana eases visa restrictions to attract tourists". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- "Prince Harry in Kazakhstan: ski resorts and other attractions". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
- Zarakhovich, Yuri (27 September 2006). "Kazakhstan Comes on Strong". Time. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
- "Kazakhstan to develop its tourism industry. Environment. Tengrinews.kz". En.tengrinews.kz. 18 June 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- "Две крупнейшие ассоциации туризма в Казахстане отмечают дни рождения".
- Template:Cite web="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/kazakhstan/9221240/Borat-has-given-Kazakhstan-tourist-boost.html"
- "Visa Information". Timatic. IATA. Retrieved 30 April 2016.[permanent dead link]
- "Kazakhstan abolishes visa requirements for travellers from 45 countries". The Lonely Planet.
- Туризм Казахстана. 2.4 Количество посетителей по въездному туризму