In order to boost inbound tourism, the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan has decided to extend visa-free for visitors from another 17 countries, taking the total to 100 countries, from where tourists can come without a visa.
“Kazakhstan plans to include several Latin American countries on the list. Bilateral agreements are being negotiated with Peru and Uruguay, among others,” says Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko.
The announcement was made during the first Kazakhstan Tourism Development Forum in Aktau on the coast of the Caspian Sea on Friday. According to Kazakhstan government, over 8.5 million tourists visited the country last year, 20 pc more than in 2021, thanks to the increase in the flow of visitors from China and India.
Tourism and Sports Minister Ermek Marzhikpayev stressed that the Kazakh government was determined to take measures to stimulate tourism, which include the improvement of infrastructure and services.
The government says that it invested KZT 350 billion or USD 750 million in tourism last year, this year, by order of the President, it is planned to increase spending by 75 pc, which this year could reach KZT 800 billion, he said.
Vasilenko stressed that the electronic visa issuance system introduced in 2019 simplified such procedures for 109 countries combining simplicity with maximum security.
He said that every week Kazakhstan receives 600 direct international flights from 32 countries, including Tel Aviv in Israel which began last month.
“And in the coming years we plan to open direct flights to Tokyo, Singapore and New York,” he added.
He stressed that the “Open Skies” policy had also been extended until 2027, which would attract more international airlines, reduce ticket costs and improve services.