Daniyar Kazakov, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, discusses Kyrgyzstan’s tourism potential and the ministry’s current projects.
European Times: How has Kyrgyzstan’s tourism sector evolved over the past five years?
Daniyar Kazakov: We have definitely made a lot of progress in upgrading the tourism sector and making it more desirable for investors. One major achievement is Kyrgyzstan’s adoption this year of visa-free entry for citizens of 44 countries. We have already seen an increase in tourism arrivals thanks to this. In addition, we have improved the legal framework for tourism projects, built new tourism infrastructure, attracted domestic and foreign investment, stepped up our tourism marketing, created diverse new kinds of tourism offerings all over the country, and improved tourism services.
By the end of this year, we will have instituted new classification systems for hotels and for industry standards, and the government has created the Interdepartmental Commission on Tourism Development to coordinate the work of government agencies, local communities and the private sector in the field of tourism.
European Times: What are the top attractions for tourists in Kyrgyzstan?
Daniyar Kazakov: Every region of the country has its own special attractions. In the capital, tourists can visit our many museums and cultural venues, while outside the capital, they can travel to our rugged mountains, national parks and nature preserves, lakes, spas and ski resorts.
European Times: Can you highlight tourism segments with particularly strong potential?
Daniyar Kazakov: Adventure tourism, spa and wellness tourism, cultural tourism, eco-tourism, tourism on the Silk Road, and sports tourism all have enormous potential in Kyrgyzstan. The Talas area in the Tien-Shan mountains is just one natural wonder with great prospects for eco-tourism, while the Osh region is ideal for cultural tourism. Saimaly Tash has the biggest cluster of petro-glyphs in the world, while the Chatkal region offers excellent opportunities for white water-rafting. The unique Issyk-Kul lake is an excellent place for rest and the Tien-Shan mountains provide numerous possibilities for mountain-biking, trekking, helicopter skiing and skiing. These are just a few examples.
European Times: What is your message to potential investors in tourism projects?
Daniyar Kazakov: We are improving the investment climate and will continue to do so. Projects in the works include the creation of a special tourist zone in the lovely Issyk-Kul region, near Tamchy international airport.
Kyrgyzstan has a lot of mountains and may offer skiing services 6-7 months a year, so we welcome investors there. Also the construction of an Olympic training base on the shore of Issyk-Kul lake is very prospective.
I invite international travellers and investors to come here and see for themselves what makes Kyrgyzstan an outstanding tourism destination and investment target.