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Astana, Kazakhstan • 20 February, 2024 | 07:14
2 min read

Hotel Star Ratings to Be Revisited in Kazakhstan

Ministry of Tourism considers introducing up to 20% tourist cashback in the off-peak season

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Minister of Tourism and Sports, Yermek Marzhikpayev, addressed key improvements and plans in Kazakhstan’s tourism industry, as reported by QazMonitor, citing the press service of the Ministry.

Visa-Free Regime

"The international openness of the country has a positive impact on the growth of foreign tourists. Currently, there is a visa-free regime with 82 countries, including major tourism markets such as China and India. We have witnessed a significant increase in visitors from these countries," stated Minister Marzhkpayev during the extended meeting of the Tourism Board.

Thanks to the introduction of a 14-day visa-free regime for Chinese citizens in July 2022 and a mutual visa-free regime from November 2023, the number of visitors from China has increased twelvefold, from 18 thousand to 217 thousand people. Following the implementation of a 14-day visa-free regime, there has been a threefold increase in visitors from India, rising from 28 thousand people in 2022 to 78 thousand people in 2023.

Kids Go Free

"At the end of last year, the volume of approved applications for state support increased eightfold compared to 2022, totaling more than 800 million tenge. I would like to make a special mention of the Kids Go Free program. Over the entire program's implementation period, more than 1,600 families utilized it, allowing three and a half thousand children to travel around the country for free," said the head of the department.

Tourist Cashback

The Ministry is actively considering the introduction of tourist cashback, offering up to 20% of the tour cost during the low season. Additionally, there is a proposal to permit farmers to engage in agro-tourism on their land, particularly in the regions of eastern and southern Kazakhstan.

Hotel Star Rating Reworked

"The term of preferential lending for hotels with international franchises has been extended from 7 to 10 years. I believe this is a significant achievement that will stimulate our business to develop tourism infrastructure and improve service quality. To enhance the quality of service in new and existing facilities, a reform of the hotel classification system is proposed. The current criteria, adopted in 2008, no longer align with the current world standards of service provision," stated Yermek Marzhikpaev.

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