According to the minister, an ambitious task is set before tourism — to increase the industry's share in GDP from 1% in 2016 to 8% by 2025. The work in 2017 was directed to achieve this goal.
"2017 was a turning point in the history of Kazakhstan's development. Thanks to the personal participation of the Head of State and the successful holding of Expo-2017, the world opened Kazakhstan as a new tourist destination located at the crossroads of the cultures of the West and the East. For the first time since gaining independence, Kazakhstan has received clear outlines on the world tourism map," Arystanbek Mukhamediuly said.
Firstly, an updated Concept for the development of the tourist industry was adopted until 2023, in which the cluster principle was identified as key to the successful transformation of tourism into the active sector of the country's economy. For the first time in the history of tourism development between the regions and the Ministry of Culture and Sports, memorandums of cooperation were signed.
Secondly, for the first time in the history of the development of Kazakhstan's tourism, according to the best experiences of the developed countries, an office for tourism management was established at the state level — Destination Management Office, represented by the Kazakh Tourism national company.
Thirdly, the foundation was laid for the development of tourism in the so-called "post-Expo" period. The program documents for the development of the infrastructure of Astana and the Shchuchinsk-Borovoe resort zone were adopted.
Fourth, serious progress was achieved in the field of visa and migration regimes. A unique visa-free regime — 72 hours of transit for citizens of China following through the cities of Almaty and Astana was introduced and extended until the end of 2018. In the near future, we plan to introduce a similar regime for India.
Fifth, tourism by the Government was included in the so-called "Olympic track" the sixth driver of the diversification of the national economy.
Sixth, the process of legislative changes has been initiated with the aim of economic transformation of tourism into a full-fledged competitive branch of Kazakhstan, capable of attracting both national and foreign tourists.
Seventh, work is under way to develop domestic tourism within the framework of the Rukhani Zhangyru program. So, for the first nine months of 2017, the number of visitors to domestic tourism increased by 25% to 3.5 million people.
For the successful development of the tourism industry, it is planned to introduce OECD international standards in the management of the tourism industry this year.
"We are also planning to introduce electronic visas to increase the flow of inbound tourists; continue to stimulate the development of domestic tourism through the implementation of the Rukhani zhangyru; improve the quality of tourist services in all locations through the introduction of international standards in the development of the industry; launch a large-scale information campaign to attract domestic and foreign tourists. In addition, it is very important for us to create the best tourist climate in the world," the Minister Arystanbek Mukhamediuly summed up.