According to experts of the Davos forum, which makes the rating of the most competitive countries, domestic tourism is an important indicator of the level of development of the economy and the state as a whole. Tourism in many countries is a major source of income.
There are three main directions in tourism: outbound, inbound, domestic.
Obviously, in order for tourism to become one of the clusters of the country's economy, it is necessary, first of all, to develop domestic and inbound tourism. Currently in Kazakhstan, most travel companies providing services to the population are focused on outbound tourism. According to the Kazakhstan Tourist Association, these are about 84% of companies. This is connected, first of all, with high competition in the industry, because it is much easier to sell already developed routes to recognized resort areas abroad than to spend money on developing new routes within the country. But another important factor is that in Kazakhstan, the tourist infrastructure, which includes not only the construction and arrangement of hotels, but also a network of roads to places of recreation, and the level of service, is practically not developed. At the same time, prices for accommodation and service are extremely high, and the quality leaves much to be desired. While the development of infrastructure occurs mainly due to private capital, which, of course, affects the pricing policy, since prices are not regulated by anyone except the owners and are often unreasonably high. Sometimes the prices for holidays in the country exceed the cost of rest (together with the flight) somewhere in Turkey, moreover, the level of service offered by us is much lower.
After the collapse of the system that had developed in Soviet times, there was a decline in all branches of the tourist infrastructure. In the major cities of Kazakhstan, good hotels have now appeared, with corresponding rates, but this is primarily related to business tours, and does not lead to a massive influx of foreign citizens to us. If we turn to the very natural resources of Kazakhstan, it becomes obvious that our country has a very large potential for the development of tourism. Our mountains, for example, can compete with the world's best ski resorts. Mountain rivers, in all their diversity, are ideal for rafting, rafting. Around the world in recent times there has been an increase in the popularity of eco-tours. By and large, so far there is no clear formulation of this concept, but it is possible to single out the main aspects that fundamentally distinguish this species in the tourist industry. First of all, it is a journey to get acquainted with wildlife, as well as with local customs and culture, with the involvement of local residents, who have the opportunity to receive income from their tourist activities. And as a result, everything - this together leads to the strengthening of measures for the protection of nature of the regions visited, as well as to their socio-economic development. Taking into account the historical and geographical features of Kazakhstan, this very direction in theory should become a priority.
And here it becomes very important for the state to participate in the regulation of the tourism industry. Kazakhstan does not have a rich cultural and historical heritage, important historical monuments. But the country's natural resources associated with its geographic location are unique. And the main thing is not only a rational policy of the state to use natural potential, but also restoration, preservation of existing natural objects, creation of the right basis for regulating these issues, financing the tourism industry, for creating infrastructure, and for promoting Kazakhstan tourism on the international market.
At the same time one of the main advantages of this type of recreation is its relative cheapness. Compared with other areas of tourism, it is not as financially intensive and does not require large expenditures. The main thing would allow natural resources, and more or less stable situation in the industry with a tendency to development. So, if the country has no problems with the first one, then the development of infrastructure, if it began to happen in recent years, its pace is extremely slow. Many tourist camps located in resort areas are experiencing decline today. The only exception is probably Burabai (Borovoye), but even here most of the tourist centers, restored on the basis of former Soviet sanatoriums, offer rest at very high prices. And such attractive zones from the point of view of ecotourism, such as the Alakol and Balkhash lakes, the Bayanaul National Nature Park in Pavlodar region, the Aksu-Zhabagly reserve in southern Kazakhstan, the Markakolsky reserve (Markakol Lake) cannot boast of a large number of affordable boarding for the average tourist prices. The difficulty lies not only in the lack of decent rest houses, interesting routes, and often simply in that it is difficult to get there because of the poor condition of the roads leading to these zones.
At the same time, it is clear that when our citizens leave for vacation abroad, there is a massive outflow of finances, which could remain in the country, provided that the rest inside Kazakhstan would be competitive compared to what other states offer. But, unfortunately, the current situation does not contribute to the development of domestic tourism, nor incoming.
Kazakhstan Tourist Association became the initiator of the development of ecotourism. For this, an information and resource center was opened, which is entirely concerned with the development of this industry. One of the main activities is the creation of a system of so-called “guest houses”, which are created on the basis of the houses of local residents in the territories of national parks, in places of resort zones, close to nature reserves. Today such houses are open in 28 regions of the country. The owners of these houses receive funding from the center for the arrangement of premises, are trained in working with tourists.
At the moment, as noted by Rashida Shaikenova, director of the Kazakhstan Tourism Association (KTA), their center exists mainly for donor money from a British company. It turns out that foreigners are more interested in the development of tourist routes in Kazakhstan. Although, as is known from the experience of other states, the development of domestic tourism, entails the development of infrastructure, and, as a result, the influx of foreign citizens. According to statistics from the information and resource center, last year about 3 thousand people took advantage of the services of “guest houses”, 45% of whom were Kazakhstanis. This fact is good, and it says that it can be in the coming years and the state will pay attention to this program.
As of now, there is no such thing as a “guest house” in the Gosstandart system. KTA attracted independent specialists to develop such standards, and if this system is adopted, the “guest houses” will be divided into three categories - “gold”, “silver” and “bronze” - according to the level of service and maintenance. But prices will be affordable for everyone, for example, now the cost of living in a guest house ranges from 2 to 4 thousand tenge (one dollar equals 121.83 tenge at the official rate) and is not yet dependent on the category. This is much lower than the average prices for the services of most of the current recreation centers in Kazakhstan.
In any case, considering the country as a resource base for the development of tourism, it remains only to be surprised by the fact that to this day most of the projects for the development and construction of resorts and holiday homes remain on paper. Although there are many interesting projects that could attract foreigners to the republic - this is the development of the Silk Road route and tourism on the Caspian coast. Of course, there are difficulties, for example, the Silk Road route, in addition to Kazakhstan, runs through the territory of China, Uzbekistan, and some other Asian countries, problems associated with opening and obtaining visas, developing joint routes with representatives of the tourist business of other countries in this project. An even more interesting and unique project could turn out at Baikonur. Following the example of the United States, which has long made NASA a popular destination for visiting tourists, with whom tours are conducted, it tells about the history of the development of the space industry. And this not only brings not a good income, but also raises the prestige of America. In Kazakhstan, the project “Kazakhstan - the first space haven of the planet” is preparing for launch. The development of such routes is very important for Kazakhstan for a variety of reasons, the main of which is the growth of the prestige of the state.
In addition, it can be a worthy item of income to the treasury of the country. Thus, according to Rashida Shaikenova, the growth in incomes of travel companies in Kazakhstan, which rose from more than $ 250.3 million in 2005 to more than $ 287 million in 2006, speaks about the development of the tourism industry. And the main factor is the participation of the state in this process. It is necessary that the decisions taken do not remain on paper, but actually implemented in the form of new holiday homes, new routes. For these purposes, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports is ready to allocate about 59 billion tenge from 2007 to 2011.