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. The country inherited the culture of the ancient Silk Road, Nomadic lifestyle and Soviet Union which had a great influence on its formation. This mixture makes Kazakhstan so different from any other country in the region and in the world.
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 "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.
According to the UK consulting firm Brand Finance, Kazakhstan is one of the fastest growing nation brands of 2019. The country was ranked 44th in the 2019 report, which is 7 spots higher than in the previous year. According to the report, a good nation brand can help boost inbound tourism and promote economic cooperation with other countries.
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.
The 2006 comedy film Borat, which portrayed Kazakhstan as a comically backwards, racist and antisemitic country, resulted in an increase in tourism. The government banned the film and took out advertisements to defend the nation's honor. By contrast, upon the release of the sequel, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, in 2020, the national tourism agency Kazakh Tourism adopted the film's catchphrase as its slogan – Kazakhstan. Very Nice! – and produced a number of videos featuring it.
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.
In September 2020, Kazakhstan started issuing visas electronically. The country also expanded the list of countries whose citizens can get single-entry business visas, tourist visas and medical treatment visas online. The new list includes 109 states.
Arrivals by country
Most visitors arriving to Kazakhstan were from the following countries of nationality:
This section needs to be updated.October 2020)(
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