Despite all the statements of the Kyrgyz authorities and tour operators about the safety of rest in Issyk-Kul, there are new facts of looting of Kazakhstan citizens on the coast of the lake.
The political instability in this country led to the fact that the holiday season at the resort lake really had to “unwind” only after the presidential elections were successfully held in Kyrgyzstan. In previous years, tourists from Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan came to Issyk-Kul in June. All the hopes of this year were associated with the velvet season - by August, the Issyk-Kul resorts were expecting a large influx of tourists from Kazakhstan. By this time, the Kazakhstanis should have been convinced that nothing threatened their security.
In order to dispel the last doubts, in the middle of July a press tour to Issyk-Kul was organized for Kazakhstan journalists, initiated by the authorities of Kyrgyzstan. According to statements by the authorities of Kyrgyzstan, taking advantage of the difficult political situation in the republic, Kazakhstan’s competitors intentionally denigrate the resorts of Issyk-Kul, which is why Kazakhstan tourists lost interest in recreation on the lake. The figures eloquently testify to this: if in previous years the share of Kazakhstanis vacationing at the resort was at least 70-80%, today this figure reaches only 30%. During the press tour it was repeatedly stressed that black PR against Issyk-Kul has nothing to do with reality. The political situation in the country has stabilized, and the local population, realizing that their only income depends on hospitality, is determined to create favorable conditions for tourists and ensure their safety.
According to the deputy governor of the Issyk-Kul region, Kabylbek Jumaliev, this year, 150 cadets of the high school of militia were additionally attracted to ensure the safety of holidaymakers. On the territory of the region there are many billboards with indication of hotlines.
The administrations of boarding houses and rest houses assured that in order to ensure a relaxing holiday for tourists, the staff of the security service was increased this year. In addition, militia of local departments of internal affairs is on duty at health resorts. For Kazakhstani citizens, there is still a visa-free regime - check-in to Issyk-Kul is carried out upon presentation of a passport or military ID.
Such a courtesy of the Kyrgyz authorities is quite understandable - the economy, if not of the country, then of its north, depends largely on the income of tourist activities. However, what kind of rest can we talk about if there is a threat to the physical safety of tourists ...
Back in June, rumors appeared in Almaty about the dangers of traveling to Issyk-Kul this year. From the second, at best, the mouth told stories about robberies, rapes, car thefts. It is clear that many, including the author of these lines, treated such “horror stories” with a certain degree of doubt. Moreover, the sweetness of the velvet season has done its job and still a few Kazakhstani people are drawn to the familiar and habitable Issyk-Kul expanses.
But these doubts were dispelled when I was told the story of a direct participant in one incident, moreover, to my friends.
Most recently, he and his wife and a group of friends (only two men and four women) went on a traditional holiday to Issyk-Kul. He was pleasantly surprised by the lack of numerous employees of the traffic police on the roads and the ease of passport control. And in the rest home the company was welcomed cordially, convincing that all the horror stories are nothing more than rumors. It was somewhat surprising that not a single Almaty car was met either on the road or on the territory of the holiday home. But a year ago, at the height of summer vacations, the Issyk-Kul towns and villages were flooded with cars with Almaty numbers. However, this did not have any effect on the determination to rest, and even more so the prices turned out to be very acceptable - $ 10 a day with meals (in previous years it was not necessary to count on less than $ 20). Soothed by the fact that in the next cottage were representatives of the local police.
However, the pleasure lasted a little more than a day. The day after arrival, at 23.30, when our main character was number one (the rest went for a walk), about ten people rushed into his house, Kyrgyz by nationality aged 18-20 years under the leadership of an older one. This senior pulled out a sharpening, another one of the robbers took from the table an unposted bottle of beer and brought it over our hero's head. Warned: if you scream, we kill. The rest at this time searched the room. In the end, they took the cell phone, all the cash, the watches, tore off the gold chain from the neck. Locked the door to the key on the back side and retired.
At about the same time, the other five people, unaware, enjoyed the walk. But it was worth the second man (by the way, also a Kirghiz by nationality) to fall short of the ladies, as he was surrounded by unknown persons who put a piercing object on their side and demanded money. No explanations in the native language had any effect - one more amount migrated to the bandits. Fortunately, the ladies escaped a similar fate.
After the announcement of the incident, the police instantly appeared (the same one from the neighboring cottage). However, our company refused to write a statement, obsessed by one thought - to leave this place. And early in the morning I went in the opposite direction - to Almaty. On the way, we stopped at a wild beach - to plunge finally - where there were a lot of local cars and holidaymakers. In less than 15 minutes, three cars arrived from the neighboring village. Two people came out of one of them (one of them was dressed in a police jacket) and in the ultimatum form demanded to pay 500 soms from the car, as environmental fees. Otherwise, promised to break the windshield. The explanations that the environmental contributions already paid before entering the republic did not seem convincing. And another 1000 soms facilitated the contents of the wallets of Almaty. After that, it was unanimously decided not to make any stops to the territory of Kazakhstan.
Telling me this incident, our hero, who, by the way, goes to Issyk-Kul every year for more than a quarter of a century, said the following: “I will not go there anymore! I do not want to help the economy of Kyrgyzstan ... ".
The above case can be recognized only as a particular fact, which always happens regardless of where the person came from and where he is resting. But these particular cases are the main reason why many Kazakhstanis deny themselves the pleasure of resting in Issyk-Kul.
Against this background, the statements that the Kazakhstani domestic tourist business took advantage of the situation to attract the domestic public to themselves do not look entirely correct. After all, in previous years there have been repeated attempts to reorient Kazakhstani tourists to, if I may say so, the “domestic tourist market”. However, they all turned out to be in vain - for residents, first of all, Almaty Issyk-Kul remained preferable. It is obvious that one positive summer season is enough, which would prove a high degree of safety (service, roads, traffic police are not so relevant) and many fans of rest on Issyk-Kul from Kazakhstan will again fill the health resorts of the fertile land.
According to the Kabar news agency, this year the arrival of foreign tourists to Issyk-Kul has halved. This was announced at a press conference by the mayor of the Issyk-Kul region Turusbek Mansurov. According to him, last year, visits to Issyk-Kul by tourists were at the highest level and amounted to about a million people. In the same year, the arrival of foreign tourists reduced by 50% due to political instability and black PR.
“But thanks to the press conferences that were held in Almaty by the government of Kyrgyzstan, we managed to dispel these stories,” said Mansurov, referring to the fears of potential tourists.
For its part, AKIpress news agency reported that the Government of Kyrgyzstan, together with the Issyk-Kul region, was commissioned to organize in 2006. in Almaty, a tourist information center and resort and recreational facilities. The corresponding Decree was signed on August 9, 2005. then acting president of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiyev. According to the Decree, in the tourist center there will be the possibility of computer booking and sale of tourist vouchers to Issyk-Kul Lake. Also, the government and the Issyk-Kul region were entrusted with resolving the issue of organizing a regular automobile communication, starting in the first half of 2006, between Almaty and Cholponata.
The Government is entrusted “on the principles of partnership and cooperation” together with the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan to develop and introduce a draft Law “On Social Tourism”. Travel companies, in turn, need to conduct an audit of regulatory legal acts that impede the functioning and development of tourism in the country.
“To provide in the republican budget for 2006. and the next 5 years, an increase in financial resources allocated to measures to promote Kyrgyzstan as a country of tourism and an increase in demand for tourist services, ”the Decree says.
The Government of Kyrgyzstan will ensure the fulfillment of its commitments to co-finance the project “Organizations for the Promotion of Kyrgyzstan as a Country of Tourism” within the funds provided for by the State Committee on Tourism and Sport. July 4, 2005 The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) allocated $ 1 million 100 thousand for the implementation of this project.