The Karaganda Region’s convenient location, rich historical and cultural heritage, unique architectural monuments and sacred sites make it a unique tourist destination. Its diversity of attractions offer active, recreational, ethnographic and ecological tourism, said Karaganda Region Deputy Akim (Governor) Almas Aidarov at a recent tourism forum in Balkhash.
Tourism industry growth in the Karaganda Region is driven by the Ulytau historical and cultural centre and resort zones of the Balkhash and the Karkaraly districts. Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company created the master plan for the development of a resort zone encompassing Balkhash, Priozersk and settlements Torangalyk and Chubar-Tobek. Tourist inflow to the resort zone may increase four times by 2030, said Karaganda Region’s Business Department Head Tatyana Ablayeva at the forum.
“In Balkhash, 253 sites offer accommodation and recreation, places such as hotels, summer camp sites and boarding houses that serve more than 280,000 people a year,” said Aidarov. “We set ourselves the goal of attracting up to one million tourists. If this inflow exceeds the population of the Karaganda Region, I believe it will really be a success.”
Forum participants reflected on the 2019-2025 state programme on the development of the tourism industry that was approved in May. The programme is to create 75,000 jobs in remote rural areas, increase tourist inflow by four times and contribute 4.5 billion tenge (US$11.83 million) to the gross domestic product in Kazakhstan.
“It is very good that the focus was on domestic tourism, which is a field that I have worked in for many years,” said Tatyana Vernitskaya, who heads a travel agency in Nur-Sultan. “Kazakhstan’s lifestyle and national food – all of it is interesting to foreigners, and they want to see the country as tourists. We must try to present it with dignity because there are still many problems, such as poorly built roads and a lack of adequate toilets and professional guides. Society is developing, and people from Kazakhstan travel frequently around the world and want the same civilised conditions for recreation as abroad.”