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ECOTOURISM INDUSTRY IN KAZAKHSTAN: PROBLEMS AND DEVELOPMENT

Pazylkhaiyr Bauyrzhan

Master of Science in Tourism, Heritage and Sustainability, L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University Astana, Kazakhstan

Karataev Didar

Master of International Business in Hospitality Management,

 L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University Astana, Kazakhstan

 Duisembaev Azamat

 Candidate of Economic Sciences, Associate Professor

L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University Astana, Kazakhstan

 

ECOTOURISM INDUSTRY IN KAZAKHSTAN: PROBLEMS AND DEVELOPMENT

 

Ecotourism is one of the best ways to develop the tourism industry for any country. In fact, ecotourism helps not just to have income, but also to save the nature. Therefore, the countries, which want to keep their environment for the future generations, should attempt to practice ecotourism. There are some countries, including Kazakhstan that do not focus on the ecotourism development widely, however. Nevertheless, these countries have opportunities (ecotourism destinations) to be the center of ecotourism.   

Kazakhstan with its huge territory, various kinds of fauna and flora, and ancient traditions can attract many international ecotourists. These people seek new ecotourism challenge around the world, so Kazakhstan is able to give them it. In this country visitors have possibilities to access to the activities, such as hiking, bird watching etc. Yet, even though Kazakhstan has these opportunities, the government does not develop them further. For instance, the country has difficulties with infrastructure, environment regulations, air and water pollution, poaching, education etc. Furthermore, the Kazakhstan government focuses on the oil and nonferrous metal export, and put all other sectors to the second line. Thus, the second line sectors including, ecotourism etc. suffers from it. Kazakhstan ecotourism industry can be developed through restarting [2].

 ‘Ecotourism is now defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education".  Education is meant to be inclusive of both staff and guests’ [1].

Ecotourism has grown roughly by 30 percent annually since 90s, and it is faster than the tourism sector. In fact, ecotourism trips will be approximately 5 % of total tourism industry share by 2024; moreover, the number of ecotourists will increase dramatically [2].

There should be some ecotourism principles in Kazakhstan: To have a minimum impact on the environment. To respect local people’s culture and traditions; To finance environment conserving activities; To have exact ecotourism laws and regulations; To teach children about ecotourism advantages at schools [3].

Ecotourism sector has not found its place in the Kazakhstan tourism industry yet; nonetheless, the country has many possibilities to reach the goal as being one of the best ecotourism destinations in Asia. There exist several ecotourism programs around the country: bird watching; horse riding; hiking; visiting Nature Reserves and etc. Even though ecotourists are able to watch flamingos in Korgalzhyn Nature Reserve, they cannot go there easily. Firstly, the visitors need to have tranquility, since the roads to the reserve are not in perfect conditions. In addition, there are not enough hotels and restaurants. Although the tourists can find a hotel or a room in private houses, the service in this place requires more attention from the local government. Thirdly, the price for tours is expensive. Despite the Kazakhstan national currency, tenge is lower than other foreign currencies, tourists from different countries see visiting the reserve by themselves much cheaper than with special tours. Ultimately, as a result of the mentioned problems, not many local and international tourists visit this destination. If they visited, probably these people wouldn’t advice to their relatives or friends to do so [2].      

Ecotourists require more active trips and holidays: to emphasise sightseeing; to cater sporting interests; to deliver environmental aspects of the destinations; to have high quality cultural heritage-based vacations. Ecotourists as other tourists always have expectations from their trips at the destinations, and the expectations should be met, since the travellers can return to these places.

Kazakhstan economy receives a significant part from oil and nonferrous metals export, so the government concentrates on others sector less and less. Nevertheless, the government creates several tourism development programs per decade, but they have not worked or just have suited to Kazakhstan tourism industry.

The government ought to have a financial support for the ecotourism. For example, ecotourism development can have small share from ‘Running expenses on environment protection’. Consequently, the government will prevent damaging the environment, and in the future fewer spendings will be need for protecting the Kazakhstan nature with its flora and fauna [2].   

Australia government uses a few ways to develop the ecotourism across the country: ‘1. Integrate into national and regional legislation/regulations that encompass and encourage Green Economy strategies. 2. Profile tourism in Green employment strategies, Green investment, planning, procurement, fuel efficiency, and renewable energy programs [1].

The Kazakhstan government is able to learn from the countries (e.g. Australia, Costa Rica) where ecotourism developed, although for all these countries and Kazakhstan there is no common infrastructure, environment regulations, education system etc. Kazakhstan ecotourism needs new programs, best examples, and goals, in order to be successful.   

 

References

  1. What is Ecotourism? [Online]. Accessibility: https://www.ecotourism.org/what-is-ecotourism. (21.09.2016) - The international ecotourism society.
  2. Ecotourism in Kazakhstan. [Online]. Accessibility: http://guluna.com/kazakhstan/kazakhistan_ecotourism.shtml (23.09.2016) - Guluna.
  3. Kazakhstan Is the Latest Oil-Curse Casualty. [Online]. Accessibility: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2015-08-20/kazakhstan-is-the-latest-oil-curse-casualty (23.09.2016) - BloombergView.
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