Kazakhstan (Russian: Казахстан) officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Europe. The ninth largest country in the world by land area– 2,727,300 square kilometres (1,053,000 sq mi) and is larger than Western Europe.
It is bordering with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The terrain of Kazakhstan ranges from flatlands, steppes, taigas, rock-canyons, hills, deltas, and snow-capped mountains to deserts. With 16.6 million people (2011 estimate) Kazakhstan has the 62nd largest population in the world, though its population density is less than 6 people per square kilometre (15 per sq. mi.).
The capital was moved in 1998 from Almaty to Astana. Astana is the first capital being built in the 21st century and it perfectly represents where the world is headed. It is truly one man’s vision: Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan. The city is being built from scratch in a remote and deserted area of the Asian steppes.
For most of its history, the territory of modern-day Kazakhstan has been inhabited by nomadic tribes. By the 16th century, the Kazakhs emerged as a distinct group, divided into three Jüz. The Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century all of Kazakhstan was part of the Russian Empire.
Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times before becoming the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936, a part of the USSR. Kazakhstan declared itself an independent country on December 16, 1991
Kazakhstan – The Land of Wonders
Kazakhstan is a unique region in the world, because of its history, geographical position and size. Being the world’s 9th largest country and located in the centre of Eurasia, it is also the largest landlocked country in the world. These resulted in a specific climate and a peculiar natural system of the country, which seems to absorb the brightest examples of landscape of both continents. In addition, history of Kazakh people and constant interaction of nomadic lifestyle with settled people in South Kazakhstani ancient cities, have lead to a unique and authentic culture of Kazakhstan.
These peculiarities have created an opportunity to develop various and diverse offers in Kazakhstan travel and tourism industry, which include authentic cultural tourism, nature-based activities, including ecotourism, birdwatching, etc. in national parks and protected areas, skiing or trekking in mountains, water sports, sunbathing and swimming in lakes and rivers of Kazakhstan, and many others.
The Kazakhstan tourism industry expects fast movement in the region by announcing the development of one of the world’s longest ski reports in a country that currently ranks at 93 out of 139 in the World Tourism Ranking for 2011.
Kazakhstan tourism ministry announced new strategic plans targeting every coming year, with each year aiming for further success. The government is trying to convert Kazakhstan into the “Land of Tourism Resorts.”
The government has approved plan for the creation of an international resort with total ski runs running 100 km in length, along with the construction of passenger cableways, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, and golf courses; and the establishment of infrastructure – roads, parking, electricity, gas, and water supply at Kok-Zhaylyao that is located on the territory of Ile-Alatau Park.
This ski resort will be a new addition in the neighborhood of Almaty in the radius of 50 km, where there are ten existing ski resorts: Shimbulak, Ak-bulak, Tabagan, Almatau, Yelik-Say, Shybynsay, Enbek, Tau-Turan, Forest tail, Dinamo, a resort in Kaskelen gorge, and other lesser-known resorts.
The main attraction of Kazakhstan for European tourists today is still its virgin nature, such as Ile-Alatau National Park, and now government is attracting all walks of life for the tourism industry, instead of only nature-loving tourists.
Tourism Development Plan (Program) of Kazakhstan will be finalized before the end of 2012, and this State (government) program for the development of tourist industry of Kazakhstan will be based on needs and demands of the industry today and also calculated for future demands till the period up to the year 2020.
According to official sources, including the office of Minister of Industry and Innovative Technologies, it is hoped that by the end of the year, a tourism development program that carries through until 2020, would be approved. According to this plan, tourism will be seen as a strong and promising industry that will give a strong impetus to the economy.
Statistics show a steady growth of the tourism industry of the country. The volume of services rendered by the tourism industry last year stood at 74 billion tenge (current rate: 147.82/US$1). The program includes the development of a system of measures for development of the tourism industry and will identify the key tourist projects on the international level, to ensure that the massive influx of tourists, the creation of a favorable tourist brand, to key installations will be accompanied by the necessary infrastructure at the expense of the State. In addition, the State will establish a framework for the preparation of the necessary personnel.