Year of Kazakhstan tourism in China to explore new trends in outbound tourism

Astana: More than 25 events will be held to mark the Year of Kazakhstan Tourism in China. The opening ceremony is scheduled for the end of March, reported Kazinform.

Kazakh Minister of Tourism and Sports Yermek Marzhikpayev and Chinese Minister of Culture and Tourism Sun Yeli discussed cooperation and a preliminary plan during the meeting in January.

“China is one of the priority tourist markets and partners for Kazakhstan. This is due to the two countries’ geographical location and deep historical ties along the Silk Road,” Marzhikpayev told Kazinform.

China Tourism Academy President Dai Bin noted that China sees revival in inbound and outbound tourism due to the increased flights and simplified visa procedures.

“Tourism between Kazakhstan and China rebounds to the pre-pandemic level,” said Marzhikpayev.

According to the Kazakh National Statistics, more than 75,000 tourists visited Kazakhstan in the first nine months of 2023. The number of visitors from China to Kazakhstan exceeded 200,000.

“We anticipate further growth considering a visa-free regime since November and plans to increase direct flights to 30 per week… We plan to develop the eco and ethno-tourism sector and adventure tourism,” said the Kazakh minister.

Promoting Kazakhstan’s tourism potential in China includes collaborations with and participation in international exhibitions including the China Outbound Tourism and Travel Market (COTTM) 2023. Talks with Chinese officials also focus on marketing, investment, digitalization, and exchange of experience.

B2B conferences, forums, and cultural exchanges as part of the Year of Kazakh Tourism in China seek to deepen tourism exchanges and cooperation between the countries.

The Development Strategy until 2025 outlines the measures to enhance tourism cooperation within the SCO. The member states focus on facilitating travel across the region. Initiatives include restoring direct flights, aligning payment systems, and enhancing insurance mechanisms.

President of Eurasian Tourism Association Rysta Karabayeva believes that the visa-free regime between Kazakhstan and China will boost cross-border tourism. These include weekend tours and international bus routes through Almaty-Urumqi. There is also a potential for the medical tourism development in border areas.

The expert noted the importance of establishing a pool of certified guides to ensure high-quality excursion services.