Kazakhstan, one of the upcoming destinations of Central Asia, has also shifted its focus to India to attract more tourist arrivals. The country will be hosting Expo 2017, an international exhibition between June 10 and September 2017 in Astana, attracting MICE travellers from around the world.
Bulat Sarsenbayev, ambassador of Republic of Kazakhstan to India, stated, “The exhibition is themed as ‘Future Energy’ and will talk about sustainable energy for the future. India will have a stall at the exhibition and August 15 will be celebrated as India Day. We are expecting a big delegation from India to attend the event. The city of Astana is well equipped with expo centres to host MICE travellers in big groups.”
As a tourist destination, Kazakhstan recorded 10,000 Indian tourist arrivals till November 2016 as compared to 8,000 last year, informed Sarsenbayev. He added, “We are looking to increase our economic ties with the country and also take the necessary steps to boost tourism. This will include introducing some additional flights between New Delhi and Almaty, opening direct flights between New Delhi to Astana and also adding other flying destinations in India.” AirAstana, Kazakhstan’s national carrier currently runs daily flights from New Delhi to Astana and there are some private charter flights coming to Goa during the peak season.
About the visa norms, he stated, “We are looking to simplify some visa regimes, for instance, make it easier for business and group travel. From January, the embassy is entitled to issue business visas through independent charge and not seek invitation from Kazakhstan. We have also proposed to the Indian government to appoint an agency to grant group visas for the tourists as our own government plans to work on introducing e-visas. The coming years will see ease in travel norms between the two countries.”