Tourism in Kazakhstan today is a popular and actively developing area of recreation, which is popular with residents of Russia, Belarus and many other countries. What can the traveler be offered here?
Tourism in Kazakhstan is often considered a frivolous thing, tends to be underestimated. Traveling in Kazakhstan will be fascinating for the whole family and you cannot refuse it. Is there much to see in Kazakhstan?
Cultural and historical, event, health, extreme, ecological tourism flourishes here. Families come from all over the world to enjoy nature, important sights, improve their health and enjoy their vacation. Kazakhstan is a great alternative to European countries and exotic destinations.
What are the national parks of Kazakhstan, national holidays in Kazakhstan, the Baikonur cosmodrome, which is located in South Kazakhstan, Lake Bahlash in the Western part, and much more. Rest in Kazakhstan is also suitable for extremists who have long wanted to warm up their bones.
Do I need a visa to Kazakhstan? If you were interested in a similar question, and your hands did not reach to ask the almighty Internet, then we hasten to please you - for Russia and Ukraine, entry has always been without a visa, Belarusians do not need a visa for up to 90 days, and in 28 countries it is also allowed without a visa. So you can safely go to Kazakhstan and not bother with a pile of documents.
Of course, you shouldn't dream of a great vacation in Kazakhstan if you have no idea how much you can get to this unique place. We will look at several ways of getting around.
Of course, when you come to Astana, you may have many questions. The most common - where should I stay? Don't worry, Kazakhs are very nice people and take care of the tourists who enter their country. Here you will find hostels, various hotels, and just spend the night with a friend's friend - as a last resort.
Do you know how successful and happy people around the world are advised to cope with stress? Lead a physically active lifestyle. A wave of doubts and anxiety rushed over you - straight into the saddle! At least a horse, at least a bicycle! Many, by the way, do it intuitively, without any scientific evidence. The number of people leading an active lifestyle in Kazakhstan is increasing from year to year, which is good news. And here are the five most common and affordable areas of active recreation in Kazakhstan: mountain and hiking, horse tours, bike tours and mountain biking.
So, hiking in the mountains is a very popular type of active recreation in Kazakhstan! The greatest variety of offers, both from travel agencies and from single guides, in the organization of mountain hikes today, you can find, of course, in the Almaty region. It is understandable - here in just half an hour you can get from the megalopolis to the beginning of the route, that is, in fact, to the foot of the mountain, therefore, both experienced climbers and lovers of mountain hikes come here from neighboring countries. And for many residents of Almaty, a walk in the mountains is like a trip to a dacha, a natural need to communicate with nature. Families and friends go to the mountains of the Zailiyskiy Alatau, and they organize teambuildings in the mountains. Mountain tourism is divided into sports (with categories and other sports paraphernalia) and amateur. We are now talking about the latter.
Mountain tourism, although not on such a scale as near Almaty, is popular in the East Kazakhstan and Turkestan regions. In the East, tourists from all over the world are attracted by the mysterious Belukha Mountain - the highest peak in Altai and Siberia. Here you can make mountain hiking trips from simple, non-categorical, to hikes of a higher category of complexity with the use of special mountaineering equipment. The Ridder area is also popular. Basically, the peaks of Three Brothers and Voroshilov Peak are heard, but if you are in Rudny Altai, you will certainly want to study it more thoroughly. Only the remoteness of the region prevents the flow of tourists from becoming more massive here. However, over the past few years, several recreation centers have opened in the East Kazakhstan region, the services of which are focused precisely on the organization of mountain trips. And in Ridder, a local college even graduated with certified tour guides in 2017-2018.
In the Turkestan region, tourist trips to the gorges of the Sairam-Ugam State National Natural Park are offered. Clubs, travel agencies, other organizations involved in the provision of services are based mainly in the city of Shymkent. The specialists of the TurkistanTourism Center information bureau will also help you choose the right place to visit.
By the way, mountain tourism, as a form of active recreation in Kazakhstan, can gradually develop into mountaineering for you over time, but that's another story ...
Hiking trails are usually laid in wild, uninhabited areas around the world. People tend to want to move away from civilization, to merge with nature, as if to become one with it. In our country, there are a lot of such places, remote, beautiful, wild. But there are not enough professional guides or travel agencies specializing in this area. Although, of course, it depends on the location of the natural object or landscape that interests you.
There is also "good news". Practically in every region of the country there are specially protected natural areas (hereinafter SPNA), in which, to a greater, and sometimes to a lesser extent, according to the status (less in the reserve, more in national parks), there are tourist routes. Hiking routes have been thought out here, and they, indeed, are an excellent form of active recreation in Kazakhstan.
Considering that today in Kazakhstan there are 13 state national natural parks, 10 state nature reserves, then the choice of where to go on a hike is quite large. Of course, other types of tourism are practiced in protected areas, but more often they are still hiking tours, because they cause the least harm to the surrounding nature and are most acceptable for conducting in territories under state protection. It is there that such famous objects as the Singing Dune, the Katutau Mountains, Aktau (Altyn-Emel National Park, Almaty Region) are located; Kolsai Lakes and Lake Kayindy (Kolsai Kolderi National Park, Almaty Region); the amazing Charyn canyon and its "Ash Grove" (Charyn National Park, Almaty region); the most beautiful low mountains, rocks and lakes of the Bayanaul National Park (Pavlodar region); the famous rocks Zhumbaktas and Okzhetpes, many lakes surrounded by a pine forest - this is a natural heritage of the Akmola region - the state national natural park "Burabay"; Mount Belukha, numerous waterfalls of the largest national park of the republic - Katon-Karagaya (East Kazakhstan region); picturesque gorges of the Sairam-Ugam park, by the way, a World Heritage Site (Turkestan region). Among the state nature reserves, first of all, it is necessary to mention such objects as Lake Markakol (Markakol Reserve, East Kazakhstan region), "Stone Fairy Tale" in the West Altai Reserve (East Kazakhstan Region), the Aksu-Zhabaglinsky Reserve gorge, which is also a World Heritage Site.
In all of the above-mentioned state-protected areas, several (from five to ten) tourist routes have been developed. Finding contacts of national parks and reserves will not be difficult for you, because almost all of them have their own websites.
By the way, you will definitely go to any route in the park and reserve accompanied by a guide, which, of course, will make your trip not only exciting, but also safe. If you go on a trip to other territories, do not forget to take various means of communication with you, up to a satellite phone, in remote regions of the country you will really find yourself out of civilization, without infrastructure and cellular communications!
Surely on the wish list, each of us has a fad to do something that goes beyond the boundaries of the usual way of life: jump with a parachute, raft down a turbulent river, get up on mountain skiing or snowboarding. However, for someone an adrenaline rush is required not once in a lifetime, but constantly. This material will be useful to everyone! What types of extreme recreation in Kazakhstan are the most popular and available, we will tell you here.
“Extreme” implies certain risks. Therefore, all the types of extreme leisure listed below require either hard training or "work" in tandem with an experienced instructor. No independence at first!
Fortunately, today the tourism industry, including extreme tourism, in Kazakhstan is developing by leaps and bounds, the offers on the market are very diverse. These include air walks on small three-seater planes, where, at the request of customers, active aerobatics is provided, including a combat turn, a spin, a slide. This includes training in para- and hang-gliding flights, parachuting, river rafting and much more
We have identified for you the five most popular and affordable types of extreme recreation in Kazakhstan.
Alpine skiing and snowboarding breaks all records in winter.
Today the ski service is much better and more varied than ten years ago. There are slopes almost everywhere, both for beginners and professionals. And the ski resorts themselves have become much more. The Almaty region occupies a leading position in terms of the quality of service, however, the ski resorts of the East Kazakhstan region benefit from climatic conditions: here snow lays much longer on the slopes (from mid-November to mid-April), thereby delighting all lovers of this type of extreme recreation.
Snowboarding mainly attracts young people, guys who are ready to learn, active, fearless, not sitting still! Today in our country there is an opportunity to learn not just skiing and snowboarding, but also to take professional training courses for instructors in alpine skiing and snowboarding. In particular, similar courses operate in the East Kazakhstan region on the basis of the Altai Alps ski complex, where the "teachers" are members of the National League of Instructors (NLI) of Russia.
In the warm season, alpine skis can be replaced with water skis! Water skiing is currently actively practiced in the Kapchagai reservoir, Alakol, and the Caspian Sea.
It would seem, where in Kazakhstan, the country of the Great Steppe, can a large number of divers come from? You will be surprised, but in the warm season this is the most popular type of extreme recreation for Kazakhstanis. Of course, the underwater world of our reservoirs is not as colorful as, for example, in the Maldives or the Red Sea, but we also have something to see! Moreover, not only the beauty itself attracts divers, makes them dive again and again into tens of meters of the water column. Here we are talking about overcoming your fears, training the body, controlling your breathing. Aerobatics of a diver - diving to a depth holding your breath, without an oxygen cylinder. The duration of breath holding for a normal person is no more than a minute. But, as you know, our possibilities are almost endless, if you train hard, you can achieve amazing results. Today there is an official freediving discipline called static apnea. It consists in holding your breath for a while under water. The current champion in static apnea today is the Spaniard Alex Segura. In 2016, he held his breath for 24 minutes. and 3 sec.
If you ask Kazakhstanis to tell about the beauty and sights of Kazakhstan, then any schoolchild will name a standard set: Shymbulak, Medeu, Borovoe, Alakol, Turkestan, Balkhash. Slightly more advanced (we will not take into account the Almaty residents) remember the Kolsai lakes, the Big Almaty lake, the Charyn canyon, etc. And the Kazakhs will name these places, most likely, not because they have been there, but simply because they more or less know the geography of their native country and have seen pictures on the Internet.
And although the government is developing various programs for the development of tourism, tourists are not yet seeking us, and if they come, they are not too happy with the service and infrastructure. Meanwhile, the nature of Kazakhstan is in no way inferior to similar places abroad, and some places are completely unique, but even this fact does not help yet to invite massively travelers. There are many significant places in Kazakhstan, but for comparison we have selected four, which clearly show the general picture.
Travelers love to compare the Charyn Canyon with its big brother in the United States, and the Kazakh landmark is not worse at all. Nature has tried both here and there. But human efforts are visible so far only in the States. Crowds of tourists speak about it, and some to Arizona just for the sake of this place. It is estimated that the Grand Canyon is visited by about 6 million tourists every year.
Here tourists are offered accommodation (from camping to hotels), food outlets (from small eateries to restaurants), shops (not only souvenir), post office, bank, bicycle rental, showers, laundry, picnic areas, amphitheater, clinic, parking and toilets.
But the presence of a well-developed infrastructure does not mean at all that the national park was given up to be torn apart by travelers, and there will soon be nothing left of nature here. Tourist flows are strictly controlled and so are their places of stay. The Havasupai tribe of North American Indians still lives on the territory of the canyon. You can get to them only by helicopter or hiking trails.
The sale of water in plastic bottles has recently been banned on the territory of the canyon. The Americans believed that 20% of the park's waste was plastic, and decided to fix it. However, there is no need to worry, the traveler will always be able to quench his thirst: throughout the territory there are special "watering stations" where you can draw water for free.
What awaits a tourist in the Charyn canyon, besides nature?
The infrastructure is rather modest, a small eco-park (with yurts and bungalows for sleeping) and a cafe. Travelers do not complain about the living conditions and prices, but the crowds of tourists here will clearly not be able to accept.
At present and in the long term, ecotourism looks like a more attractive international market from an economic point of view than ski tourism. The development of potentially more profitable ecotourism requires significantly less investment of money and time and makes it possible to engage primarily small and medium-sized businesses, and not large ones, as in the case of a ski resort.
On the other hand, the development of ecotourism has its own difficulties. In particular, the attraction of the population to the tourism business may meet with misunderstanding among the residents of the region. Moreover, ecotourism does not have to be confined to one mountain plateau to be effective. It should include the entire range of capabilities of the national park and the region as a whole, while the methodology for the implementation of such projects in Kazakhstan has not been worked out.
In any case, taking into account the current situation around the project, when making a decision, one should not be limited to considering the ski resort as an uncontested project for the development of tourism in Almaty and the region.
On October 8-9, Almaty will host the First Eurasian Conference on Ski Resorts: “Development of new tourist destinations for winter tourism”. The purpose of the event is obvious - to provide information support to the ski resort "Kok-Zhailau", which they plan to start building next year. The event is expected to be massive and widely reported in the media. Obviously, there will be a lot of interesting material on the industry, and conclusions will be drawn about the "strategic importance of ski resorts for the national economy."
At the same time, the question of the fate of Kok-Zhailau requires, in our opinion, a somewhat different approach to considering the benefits of the proposed ski resort. There is a practice of project evaluation taking into account the so-called. opportunity costs, when not only the income from the planned enterprise is assessed, but also the efficiency of this enterprise as a whole in comparison with other projects possible under the given conditions and with the same resources. Such an assessment allows you to see not only what the investor of the project will benefit from the implementation of the project, but also what he could get using his capital differently.
This is not an economic assessment of natural resources (although it would not hurt to make such an assessment either), but a comparison of the planned ski resort with an alternative business project in the same tourism industry. This alternative was first publicly announced at the recently held civil hearings "Project" Kok-Zhailau ": Delusion or a scam?", Organized by the informal public movement "Protect Kok-Zhailau" together with the parties ANSDP "Azat" and the environmental union "Tabigat". In one of the speeches, a proposal was made to build the Kok-Zhailau Eco-Park instead of the Kok-Zhailau Ski Resort.
Of course, the opponents of the ski resort, making this proposal, aimed to protect the plateau from unwanted development, however, from the point of view of economic benefits, such a proposal is not devoid of sense.
Part 1. Kazakhstan in the global tourism market. Dynamics of indicators of international tourism, WTO
The proposal of the tourism industry as a kind of replacement for the oil industry is well-grounded, and the point is not even that oil is running out in Kazakhstan. The global market for services is much wider than production: today, 71% of the world GDP is represented by services and only 26% - by production.
Of course, oil production brings more income, however, its volume - about $ 2,382 billion (BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2011) - is comparable to the volume of tourism ($ 1,300 billion in 2012 .), while tourism creates more than 230 million jobs, and, according to the International Labor Organization, only about 5.5 million hired workers are involved in the extraction of crude oil and gas and oil refining (International Labor Office, Working conditions of contract workers in the oil and gas industries, 2010).
In contrast to the “elite” energy market, the threshold for entering the tourism market is much lower, which makes it more “democratic” and allows for the involvement of wide segments of the population: over 1400 travel companies operate in Almaty alone.
The number of international tourists has also progressed since 2009, both in developed and developing countries. If in 2005 800 million people were sent to foreign trips, then in 2012 there were - already more than 1 billion, and by 2020 the World Tourism Organization (WTO) expects 1.56 billion of such trips.
However, tourism as a global market consists of regional and markets, which differ, among other things, in the dynamics of development. For example, today most of the trips are made in Europe, however, according to WTO forecasts, in the future 2030, the greatest increase in tourists will occur in the Asia and the Pacific region.