The regional conference "Central Asia in the system of international transport corridors: strategic perspectives and unrealized opportunities" was completed in the capital of Uzbekistan in Tashkent, within which the transport strategy of the region was presented. One of the proposed proposals was the development in cooperation with the World Tourism Organization of a concept for the development of tourist hubs in Central Asia.
On the Bright Path
It should be noted that at the beginning of September, during the third meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council between the RK and Turkey Nursultan Nazarbayev announced that Kazakhstan is renovating the transport infrastructure as part of the Nurly Zhol program. As a result of its implementation, the republic plans to become the leading logistics and tourist hub in Central Asia. In this regard he said that it is necessary to effectively use the transit potential of the country.
According to experts, at least three large metropolises of Kazakhstan - Almaty, Astana and Shymkent - can become such hubs. The first two due to its history, status, and the third - due to the rapid development of the south of the country and the growing interest in the shrines of Turkestan.
All collection points
According to the tourist information center «Visit Almaty», 75% of all tourists have absolutely no tourist purposes of the visit to Almaty. The most attractive places for foreigners are Charyn Canyon, Kaindy-Kolsai, Assy Plateau, Altyn-Emel.
Earlier, the head of the department of tourism and foreign relations of Almaty Erlan Zhailaubay informed that within the development of the city's potential, its tourist and logistical capabilities, a tourist hub will be opened on the basis of the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace. All collection points for excursion buses will be there, including Shymbulak and Medeu.
The outlook for Astana is also appreciated quite high, in light of not only the capital status of the city, but also due to the legacy of the EXPO exhibition and modern futuristic buildings executed by the architect Norman Foster. However, according to experts, in a minus the climatic conditions and high cost of service, and also scarcity of a tourist product play.
In this sense, Shymkent could become an anchored city for the creation of a tourist hub, where suitable climatic conditions for tourists, rapid economic growth and in general the south has great prospects as the future center of historical tourism.
Shymkent will become a leader?
Political scientist, director of the Risk Assessment Group Dosym Satpayev noted that Shymkent is a unique city for Kazakhstan, in terms of a large concentration of human capital. The south of the country has always been a region where the able-bodied population and a large percentage of young people live.
«Now stabilization of relations between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan is noticeable. Agreements have been signed on the creation of free economic zones of the two countries, there are reasons to believe that Shymkent can become an economic, transport and tourist hub of the whole of Central Asia», — thinks Dosym Satpayev.
Logically aligned structure
According to him, understanding these prospects the South-Kazakhstan oblast was renamed into Turkestan, which immediately gives landmarks, including for tourists, that this is a historically significant place.
«Foreigners know Turkestan, for them this concept is a magnet, from this point of view in terms of development in the south of tourism renaming had a completely logically built structure », — said the political scientist.
Bridge to Europe
Expert of the Institute of Economic Studies of Central Asian countries Alisher Khamidov noted that not only in Kazakhstan, but also in the whole region, there is an urgent need to unite the common efforts for the development of tourism and the creation of transport infrastructure. He stressed that the first steps in this direction are being taken. For example, the idea of multiviza for foreigners coming to Kazakhstan, and then getting the opportunity to travel peacefully to other countries in the region.
«The idea of tourist and logistic hubs in Central Asia is not new. It somehow sounds the last 10 years, but the progress was not due to various reasons, including because of the position of closedness of Uzbekistan under the previous government. Now is the ideal time for this. Firstly, there is liberalization in the issue of border control and open previously closed doors for tourists. Secondly, within the framework of the One-Belt - One-Way project, the transit potential, primarily of Kazakhstan, and then of other Central Asian countries, has grown significantly. China makes significant investments in the logistics of the region and this is also an incentive for the growth of the tourist potential of Central Asia. Thirdly, it is necessary to take into account the flow of tourists from China itself, neighbors open a region for themselves, and the number of tourists from China will only grow», — said Alisher Khamidov.
For example, last year only 7% of all tourists who visited Almaty were from China.
The expert stressed that Beijing is closely monitoring the participation of Astana in the implementation of the road project, since in the Middle Kingdom they understand that Kazakhstan can become a link between Asia and Europe for the PRC.