copy the linklink copied!Kazakhstan

copy the linklink copied!Tourism in the economy

In 2017, tourism in Kazakhstan contributed 1.4% of GVA. The industry is made up of 118 800 registered businesses employing 463 700 people across the country, and accounting for 5.3% of total employment in 2018. The number of people employed in the tourism industry has been increasing steadily over the last decade. Inbound tourism contributed 4.4% of total export income, representing 36% of all service exports. At the end of 2017, consumer spending on inbound tourism amounted to KZT 768.8 billion, and KZT 1424.3 billion for domestic tourism.

The number of inbound arrivals in 2018 reached 8.8 million, an increase of 14.1% from 2017, and 28.5% over five years. The main source of visitors is traditionally the ex-soviet countries, accounting for 91.7% of arrivals and 70.6% of spending. Visitors from other countries made up 8.3% of the total visitors but 29.4% of the spending. Domestic tourism is also on the rise, with 4.7 million trips in 2018, up 7.0% over 2017. Overnight trips accounted for 94.0% of domestic arrivals in 2018.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism governance and funding

The Committee of the Tourism Industry is part of the Ministry of Culture and Sport. The main task of the Committee is making and implementing tourism policy. The Committee is supported by Kazakh Tourism JSC, the national tourist organisation responsible for the international promotion of tourism in Kazakhstan. Kazakh Tourism JCS is also responsible for identifying and conducting negotiations with potential investors in order to attract them to participate in investment projects, co-operating with international and foreign organisations and promoting the country's tourism brand and products in international and domestic markets. Additional responsibilities include skills enhancement of specialists in tourism activities, and participation in the management of priority tourist areas.

At a local level, executive bodies have a range of powers in relation to tourism, which include development planning, co-ordination, market research, business support, tourism information and licencing. Regional authorities and larger cities provide similar services but also have a more strategic role, including master planning and co-ordinating development of financing and protecting regional resources.

The total budget for tourism in 2017 was KZT  4.6 billion, rising to KZT 6.5 billion in 2018. The increased funding is intended to improve the infrastructure of tourist destinations, investment attractiveness, and holding international and domestic events to attract tourists.

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Kazakhstan: Organisational chart of tourism bodies
Kazakhstan: Organisational chart of tourism bodies

Source: OECD, adapted from Ministry of Culture and Sports, 2020

copy the linklink copied!Tourism policies and programmes

In May 2019, the Government approved The Programme for the Development of the Tourism Industry for 2019-25. The Programme is designed to improve the availability and quality of tourist services and products, as well as the quality of life of the population of the country by developing places of tourist interest and upskilling human resources for the sector. It also focuses on the growth of external and internal tourist flows, increasing investment in the tourism industry by creating a favourable tourist climate, and promotion of the tourist potential of Kazakhstan in both domestic and international markets. Kazakh Tourism JCS used the Programme to guide its marketing and promotion and to attract investment in tourism.

Although Kazakhstan has a favourable geopolitical position, with significant natural and recreational resources and world cultural and historical heritage sites, the country is an emerging tourism destination and is not yet competitive against popular countries for tourism and travel. The government recognises that the quality of tourist infrastructure, openness of bilateral service agreements, complexity of the visa regime, and low quality of roads are areas for further improvement.

The 2019-25 Programme is focusing on resolving these issues and aligning performance with international standards. This work is developed in the context of wider legislation designed to transform the economy of Kazakhstan and includes significant institutional and economic reforms as well as sector development and specialisation. To achieve these targets, the institutional framework has been strengthened, national and local executive bodies formed, working alongside the National Tourism Organisation, Kazakh Tourism JSC, and additional co-ordination measures developed to deal with the cross-cutting nature of tourism, which is estimated to link 30 different sectors in Kazakhstan.

Low levels of investment inhibit the industry’s development and restrict potential growth. In 2017, the country attracted KZT 295.7 billion in fixed capital investment in tourism, 36.6% more than in 2016. In 2018, total investment increased by 65% compared to 2017 and amounted to KZT 447.3. However, many major investment projects are still not able to be implemented due to a lack of state support mechanisms and a lack of long-term and affordable finance for the industry.

In order to attract investors to the tourism industry, the government is carrying out the following work:

  • Ensuring the necessary engineering and transport infrastructure are brought to investment projects.

  • Creating a preferential regime for investors, including the provision of in-kind grants and exemptions from corporate income tax, land and property tax. The minimum threshold has been reduced from KZT 4.7 billion to KZT 4.7 million for tourism projects.

  • A programme has been launched to provide SMEs with financial resources for investment projects in the tourism industry at a preferential rate of 6%.

The core priority of the Ministry of Culture and Sport and the government is to increase tourist flows and attract a larger share of the international market. The number of tourism related businesses has been increasing by 10% to 15% each year, but regional tourism development is unco-ordinated. For example, formal regional strategies are not in place to enable the development of the most promising destinations and products.

The Programme for the Development of the Tourism Industry for 2019-25, aims to position Kazakhstan as one of the 50 most attractive countries for travel in the world by 2025. This will be achieved by reference to the following indicators:

  • Increase the contribution of tourism to the country's GDP from 5.7% to 8%,

  • Increase the number of people employed in the tourism industry from 440 000 to 650 000,

  • Increase the number of overseas tourists from the 830 000 to 3 million,

  • Increase the number of domestic tourists from 5 million to 8 million,

  • Increase the volume of tourism services rendered from EUR 256 million to EUR 630 million,

  • Increase tourism investment from EUR 700 million to EUR 1.4 billion.

The implementation cost of the Programme is KZT 2.2 trillion, more than half of which is financed by the Government, while the remainder comes from the private sector.

Kazakhstan is an emerging tourist destination with limited tourism infrastructure, weak product and services offers, and does not have a high image in global tourism markets. Priority measures, such as visa reforms, air access and high quality accommodation, are a critical part of the current tourism plan. Research has indicated that Kazakhstan has over 100 potential ‘tourism magnets’ and ‘points of tourism growth’. Due to limited resources, and the need for significant investment in each, these have been prioritised at both national and regional levels. This has resulted in the development of a comprehensive map of potential sites and opportunities by the Committee of the Tourism Industry. Various selection criteria underpinned the selection process for these sites, including uniqueness, historical and cultural significance, and availability of accommodation.

The development of the accommodation and hospitality sector is a significant challenge given a lack of skills, the remoteness of many providers and the difficulty in tracking the quantity of stock at national or regional levels using official statistics. A framework for the operation of the sector is currently being developed including a National Hostels Standard, which is being implemented on a voluntary basis.

In 2019, the government created a specialised educational institution - The International University of Tourism and Hospitality – as a model of international and national best practice in the training of tourism personnel. The University aims to improve the training system and increase the competence of personnel in the tourism industry to meet international standards.

copy the linklink copied!Statistical Profile

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Kazakhstan: Domestic, inbound and outbound tourism

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

TOURISM FLOWS, THOUSAND

Domestic tourism

Total domestic trips

3 125

3 110

3 495

4 387

4 696

Overnight visitors (tourists)

2 978

2 685

3 245

4 195

4 415

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

147

425

250

193

281

Nights in all types of accommodation

6 033

5 821

6 390

8 081

8 245

Hotels and similar establishments

5 842

5 552

6 134

7 752

7 916

Other collective establishments

191

270

256

329

330

Private accommodation

..

..

..

..

..

Inbound tourism

Total international arrivals

679

692

723

892

831

Overnight visitors (tourists)

660

606

677

872

812

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

19

86

45

20

19

Top markets

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

Nights in all types of accommodation

..

..

..

..

..

Hotels and similar establishments

..

..

..

..

..

Other collective establishments

..

..

..

..

..

Private accommodation

..

..

..

..

..

Outbound tourism

Total international departures

10

11

10

10

11

Overnight visitors (tourists)

..

..

..

..

..

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

..

..

..

..

..

Top destinations

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

TOURISM RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURE, MILLION USD

Inbound tourism

Total international receipts

2 240

1 833

2 038

2 356

2 651

International travel receipts

2 000

1 632

1 858

2 135

2 255

International passenger transport receipts

239

201

180

221

396

Outbound tourism

Total international expenditure

3 771

3 046

2 580

2 695

2 843

International travel expenditure

3 515

2 867

2 446

2 560

2 687

International passenger transport expenditure

256

179

133

135

157

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934078566

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Kazakhstan: Enterprises and employment in tourism

Number of establishments1

Number of persons employed

2018

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total

..

..

..

..

..

..

Tourism industries

118 761

412 839

428 543

414 121

442 488

463 669

Accommodation services for visitors

4 795

52 200

60 260

55 855

64 710

59 836

Hotels and similar establishments

2 660

2 380

2 433

2 457

2 642

2 660

Food and beverage serving industry

34 105

115 070

113 970

115 030

127 241

127 863

Passenger transport

46 343

105 945

116 855

100 331

106 448

116 752

Air passenger transport

182

7 191

13 797

13 416

14 909

11 372

Railways passenger transport

134

56 533

54 704

38 405

42 932

45 728

Road passenger transport

45 840

42 137

48 250

48 340

48 478

59 617

Water passenger transport

187

84

104

170

129

35

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental

10 550

1 607

1 964

1 824

1 553

2 989

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

5 654

5 713

8 204

8 473

8 756

10 651

Cultural industry

3 958

60 655

57 125

58 217

59 356

58 699

Sports and recreation industry

13 356

71 649

70 165

74 391

74 424

86 879

Retail trade of country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other country-specific tourism industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

.. Not available

1. Data refer to number of enterprises.

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934078585

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Kazakhstan: Internal tourism consumption
Million KZT

2017

Domestic tourism expenditure

Inbound tourism expenditure

Internal tourism consumption

Total

384 972

768 827

1 424 333

Consumption products

379 315

748 617

1 397 640

Tourism characteristic products

292 010

559 144

1 111 292

Accommodation services for visitors

46 373

163 218

277 493

Food and beverage serving services

55 377

217 299

281 148

Passenger transport services

41 690

71 927

294 939

Air passenger transport services

8 682

55 041

238 141

Railways passenger transport services

24 015

13 004

42 950

Road passenger transport services

8 993

3 882

13 848

Water passenger transport services

0

0

0

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental services

29

9 744

9 807

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

127 512

10 232

139 202

Cultural services

4 561

32 156

37 033

Sports and recreation services

16 469

54 568

71 669

Country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

Country-specific tourism characteristic services

..

..

..

Other consumption products

87 305

189 473

286 348

Tourism connected products

..

..

..

Non-tourism related consumption products

87 305

189 473

286 348

Non-consumption products

5 657

20 210

26 693

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934078604

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