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Chinese ready to help Kazakhs with Silk Road tourism development project 30 июля 2014, 15:35

Chinese officials in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region declared their willingness to help Kazakhstan with developing of a new tourism route along the Great Silk Road.
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Urumqi. Photo © Vladimir Prokopenko Urumqi. Photo © Vladimir Prokopenko

Kazakh expedition team has arrived in Xinjiang, Tengrinews reports.

The expedition Following Shoqan Walikhanov’s Caravan Route, dedicated to the 180th anniversary of the birth of the great Kazakh scholar and traveler Shoqan Walikhanov, arrived in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China.

Here, a round table discussion with representatives of the Ministry of Tourism of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) took place. Kazakh team presented their project of the guided tour "Great Silk Road in Central Asia." According to the head of the expedition Ordenbek Mazbaev, the Chinese side appreciated the project.  

“Our expedition route has got the interest of our Chinese colleagues. The tour starts in Astana, then goes through Urumqi to Kashgar, then passes on to the territory of Kyrgyzstan, and one can also visit Uzbekistan along the way, and then we return back to Almaty, thereby closing the ring. (…) The Chinese are ready to provide all the help they can to organize the route through the territory of China, and they are relying on us to take care of the rest - the part of the route in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan,” Mazbayev said.

A number of problems, including visas for the joint tourism project, were discussed as well. The Chinese authorities said that there were many Chinese tourists wishing to visit Kazakhstan but they faced the high cost of getting visas to Kazakhstan. Mazbayev proposed solving the issue by following the example of the European Union and developing a visa free regime on the Asian continent, in particular between China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

The head of the marketing and promotion department of the Ministry of Tourism of XUAR Sui Xiao Chiuang said that the implementation of the project required state support. "First, it is necessary to determine the mechanism and calculate the feasibility of the project. To accelerate the implementation of the idea we also need to improve the relations between tourist companies. (...) There is a great potential for tourism development between China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The culture of Xinjiang, the unique nature of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan’s Issyk-Kul and cultural and historical sites in Uzbekistan are all situated along the Great Silk Road. (...) If this route becomes operational, then it will surely attract many tourists from Europe and Asia. The route will be very interesting," he said.

The Kazakh expedition started on 24 July. It will take 12 days and cover six thousand kilometers across the territory in China and Kyrgyzstan: Urumqi - Karashakhar - Korla - Kuchar - Aksu - Kashgar - Artush - Yangisar - Yarkand - Kagalyk - Hotan - Kashgar - Turagat – Naryn - Tash-Rabat - Bishkek. The expedition has two primary goals. First, to be exposed to the discoveries and observations made by Walikhanov 155 years ago. Second, to evaluate the area's tourism potential and gather information to make informed decisions on development of tourism in this region.

Reporting by Vladimir Prokopenko, writing by Dinara Urazova

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