Kazakhstan is set to develop domestic ecotourism
Embark on a journey into the world of wild nature, stroll through the untouched places, visit the authentic atmosphere of ancient nomads and feel like a nomad – all these are features of the main tourist direction of Kazakhstan, which is ecotourism. In the vastness of the immense Great Steppe, everyone can purchase eco-tours to the most remote places and visit unique natural sights.
“In recent years, Kazakhstan has been increasingly marked on the map of world tourism as a destination for ecotourism. For example, at the beginning of this year, the British Backpacker Society included Kazakhstan in the Top Five of must-visit countries in 2020 for fans of active eco-travel. According to the newspaper Gulf News, Big Almaty Lake was included in the Top Five travel destinations for residents of the United Arab Emirates. According to RIA News Agency, Kaiyndy Lake is one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in the world,” Chief Manager of Department of Kazakh Tourism National Company Yernur Kenzhebekov said.
He said that secluded travel, and especially active walking on eco-routes, is particularly relevant now, during the current situation in the world caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus. Mass tourism is now increasingly replaced by solitary type of recreation.
“Kazakhstan, with its vast territory, low population density and abundant natural parks, is a unique destination for solitary travel, in which social distancing will be something unobtrusive and natural - a natural physical distancing,” Kenzhebekov added.
13 national parks, 10 reserved areas, six reserves, 50 natural areas, five preserved areas and 79 natural sanctuaries are scattered throughout the country of the Great Steppe. The total area of all specially protected natural areas occupies nearly 9 percent of the entire area of Kazakhstan, on which, for comparison, the whole of the United Kingdom can easily fit. In this regard, experts believe that there is a need for the sustainable development of tourism in specially protected natural areas.
“We are currently carrying out such work in four of 13 national parks of Kazakhstan, so far only in Almaty region, including Ile-Alatau National Park, Kolsai Lakes, Charyn Canyon and Altyn Emel National Park. Active preparatory work is underway in Ile-Alatau National Park. The improvement of the park will make recreation in protected areas more organized, as the project envisages a visit center, a meeting point where tourists will receive all the necessary information about visiting the park, as well as about what is and what is not allowed. Specially equipped camping areas, hiking trails with navigation infrastructure, availability of service points for meals, provision of guide services, sanitary facilities and more will make it possible to minimize the harmful anthropogenic impact,” Kenzhebekov said.
Local experts also plan to create conditions for the development of ecotourism without harming the environment in other national parks and natural territories of Kazakhstan. According to Kazakh Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources, it is planned to attract private investments in the amount of 500 billion tenge (US$1.2 billion) to the tourism industry in the next 10 years, while it is expected that revenues from ecotourism by this time will amount to nearly two trillion tenge (US$4.784 billion).