Sky is not the limit for Kazakhstan


(eTN) – Needless to say, Kazakhstan flies people to the moon and suborbital space from its Baikonur Cosmodrome, the world’s oldest and largest operational space launch pad. Being the first space harbor on the planet, the destination considers it important to develop tourism at the Baikonour, after the world’s first ever space tourist Anousheh Ansari was blasted off September 2006 from this spot. About 200 kilometers from the Aral Sea, this gets a few tourists to the remotest of all destinations, pass the stratosphere and the ionosphere. Very few tourists – this way aboard the shuttle.

Sooner rather than later, the Kazakh republic will target more people, large groups and perhaps mass tourists descending on-ground on dry land, rather than up and into space stations or some other galaxy.

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About to become the center of tourism in Central Asia is this relative newcomer to the industry, Kazakhstan. Then again, maybe not.

For instance, the Great Silk Road passed through Western Kazakhstan, leaving behind many historic and archaeological monuments from the Beket Ata tomb to the Shakpak Ata and Yeset Batyr memorial complexes, and other necropolises, many centuries ago.

The territory of Kazakhstan embraces parts of the Great Silk Road which unites all states of Central Asia. But today, the ministry of tourism is carrying out a mammoth activity restoring the ancient caravan path of lengths of 1,200 km while building support infrastructure.

According to Tourism and Sports Minister Temirkhan Dosmukhambetov, they have begun work on global tourism projects in the republic, providing the creation of three international tourism centers which meet the highest requirement of modern tourism. “The main idea of centers is to render all types of tourist services including hotels, entertainment and sports field/ exhibition centers and folk villages. Taking into consideration our vast land area, these centers will be located in the south, north and west of our country,” he told eTurboNews exclusively.

The first center is on Borovoe, near the new capital of Astana. The second is in Zhana Li, not far from Almaty City on the Lake Kapshagai. And the third will be at the Aktau City, on the coast of the Caspian Sea, the minister added.

Borovoe, the first center, was dubbed Small Switzerland in the glorious day of old. In the beginning of the 20th century, Borovoe actually paid host to a medical sanatorium. Between 1920 and 1920, the Borovoe resort became the most famous in the country. The great landscape and natural beauty of Borovoe and the resort were captured in photos exhibited at a 1938 New York exhibition. It was described as the tourist heaven on steppes. Many tourists visited this capital for relaxation, fishing, ecotourism, hunting and excursion to the mountains.

“We pay special care and attention in the development of the tourism product, including looking into issues of safety, ecology and infrastructure,” said the minister. “Economic growth causes worsening of ecological problems, that’s why we note the stable development of our economy, the solution to ecological problems through joint efforts by all states.”

Kazakhstan, from the time of its independence, successfully implemented political and economic reforms. These strategies provided the sustainable development of the national economy. GDP grew in the last years to about 10 percent annually. GDP per capita, by the end of 2006, constituted more than $6.5 million. Over the years after independence, Kazakhstan has attracted more than $70 billion of foreign direct investments.

“In comparison with previous years when our economy was still developing due to oil resources, high rates of growth were achieved lately. Thanks to non-raw products in the economy,” said Dosmukhambetov.

Who would think a country like this in Central Asia would actively back-up global climate change? “We are actively cooperating with the UN on this effort,” said the minister.

Among its first decision since gaining autonomy, it decided to close the Semipalatinsk nuclear probing ground. The country dropped its nuke industry, having been number four in the world’s nuclear missile arsenal, it liquidated its infrastructure. “These measures determined the strategy of our state within the global security standards. For the first time in human history, our nation which possesses destructive nuclear power, voluntary gave it up. I am confident, having taken this decision, Kazakhstan gains the world’s approval,” said the tourism minister.

Central Asian countries contributed a lot to the rehabilitation of the Aral Lake. “We achieved more success in the rehab of the Aral, having restored the so-called Small Aral,” the official said. But without consolidation of efforts by the world community, this issue cannot be solved. In light of this, the minister announced the president of the Republic proposed to create a register of all the world’s ecological problems, a document which will help create effective mechanisms in dealing with ecological crises all over the hemisphere.

And that, from the leader of a destination that cashes in on aerial or space tourism.