One of the most famous children's books in Soviet times is the creative translation of the famous “Wizard of Oz” written by Alexander Volkov, a resident of the Kazakh city of Ust-Kamenogorsk. The house of a practically cult writer is now planned to be demolished. Because building shopping and business centers, markets are more profitable than tolerating a house-museum.
Facelessness as a concept
Such is the concept of tourism development in Kazakhstan. The word “concept” in this case is simply a term that does not reflect the reasonableness and systematic nature. Just look at the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, to understand that conceptualism is weak here. In architecture, solid eclecticism - weak bottling of the Emirates, Moscow, etc. Even the left bank in Astana - conceived, as a completely new modern space, apparently, began to be built up exclusively in the image of the largest capitals where rivers divide the city. And although in European cities this happened historically, in Astana, the muddy and dense river Ishim should complement the image of the capital as well as the Thames, Seine, Danube or Rein. And the project itself of moving the capital to the north is very similar to the plan of Peter I.
Continuing the theme of the absence of one’s “face” in Kazakhstan (there are a lot of examples): one gets the impression that there is not even serious work in this direction. Meanwhile, the facelessness of the country seriously affects such an important sector of the economy as tourism. Against the background of a rather active interest in the country, the authorities have not yet decided what Kazakhstan should become. If the UAE is a blend of oil, beaches and shopping, and Thailand is an exotic cocktail of transvestites, sun and foot massage, then Kazakhstan, rejecting the historical core, is trying to become either an oil or a grain “power”, then the most democratic in Central Asia. someone else.
De facto, Kazakhstan has strategic, economic-forming primary industries: oil, metals, coal, uranium, etc. However, the country's leadership is trying to diversify the economy, and has announced several non-primary sectors with high added value as priorities. Among them - inbound and domestic tourism. At the same time, as you know, it is tourism that is the most diversified industry that “feeds” the adjacent ones - construction, agriculture, transport, communications, energy, service, food industry, etc. According to expert estimates, tourism is the third largest in the world in terms of profitability among legal industries, after oil production and the automotive industry.
However, in Kazakhstan, which has truly unique natural opportunities, little is being done to develop tourism. Although the authorities are hoping for these opportunities, as well as for the needs of the global tourism industry. Outwardly, everything seems to be good - there are working groups for the "promotion" of a number of resorts - the Borovoye and Alakol lakes (both with healing radon water), etc .; funds are allocated for “research of recreational potential”, a tourist cluster is being developed, etc.
But the overwhelming majority of about 1000 Kazakhstani travel companies are working “out”. Clients from other countries prefer to spend money on trips to countries with bright exotic and good prices. There is neither one nor the other in Kazakhstan. The names of the famous among the Kazakhs biys (people's judges) and batyrs (warriors) do not say anything to the tourist from Europe, who would prefer Mongolia if he loves history, or Thailand, if he likes the sexually liberal atmosphere.
Official statistics say that “inbound” tourism is even more developed than “outbound”. So, in 2005, 3 million people left Kazakhstan for tourist purposes. And about 4.3 million people arrived foreigners. True, for some reason, there is a feeling that, due to inertia and a great desire of officials, labor migrants from neighboring countries, fruit and vegetable traders, and other people, as a rule, exporting currency from the country, which means that they are not suitable for status of "tourist." In addition, official statistics recognize that 90% of non-residents arrive in the country not to rest, but “for business and professional purposes”. Of the far-abroad visitors, most of them are from Germany, China and the USA. Official state revenues from tourism are still small - $ 228 million in 2005. However, the volume of this market is generally quite large. According to forecasts - $ 3 billion in 2006, with growth of half a billion each subsequent year. Quantitatively, maybe these predictions will come true, but it is unlikely to be qualitative. There are quite a few reasons for this: poor development of the tourist infrastructure, little-known country, lack of historical allusions (such as, for example, Genghis Khan or Dracula). In addition, in Kazakhstan there are still few hotels that meet modern requirements. Most of them in Almaty, in the province, hotels are built under the employees and partners of large companies and do not play a serious market role. True, at the recent meeting of the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization), which, by the way, was held in Almaty with the participation of the Secretary General, Francesco Frangialli, Kazakhstan was called promising in terms of tourism. So, Mr. Frangialli noted that here security and the industry are becoming more and more comfortable, and Kazakhstan is gaining more and more confidence from the world community. Although it is unlikely that an educated and tactful leader, especially world tourism, would be scolded, being a guest, the hosts. For example, the actively announced desire of Kazakhstan to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics in Almaty does not cause optimism in a busy city with a traffic-intensive seismic city. And the idea to create a tourist “Mecca” in almost Russian Baikonur, like Cape Canaveral, is still very similar to a beautiful fairy tale.
It would seem that the need for maximum simplification of visa procedures is obvious - but it is going very slowly. The visa has fallen in price in a few years at $ 5-10, its design for Western citizens can formally be taken right at the airports of Kazakhstan, but hardly anyone would risk flying several thousand kilometers without a visa. It is no coincidence that foreigners complain: “Kazakhstan needs to simplify the process of obtaining a visa,” advises Cornelia Riedel, a German journalist.
Returning to the writer Volkov: his hero, the magician Goodwin, created among his subjects, wearing green glasses, the feeling of the emeraldness of their city. This is about the idea of Kazakhstani people - they argue about the uniqueness of their landscapes, about the development of economic clusters, without even noticing that they are simply eating raw money. Not realizing that there is no intellectual potential in the country to implement large-scale search projects. Not understanding what they are and who they should become, consoling themselves with pseudo-stability, the greatest democracy and money in Central Asia, borrowed styles and ideas, and losing the main thing.