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Kazakhstan Tourist Association comments on 'Chinese visa issue' 14 августа 2013, 12:23

The 'visa-free regime' does not mean cancellation of visas, but involves introduction of ADS visas for group travel: president Assanbayeva.
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Roza Assanbayeva. ©tengrinews.kz Roza Assanbayeva. ©tengrinews.kz
Kazakhstan Tourist Association (KTA) has commented on the scandalous “Chinese visa issue”. According to KTA president Roza Assanbayeva, the “visa-free regime” does not mean full cancellation of visas for the Chinese, but involves introduction of ADS visas for group travel, Tengrinews.kz reports. According to her, many countries, including European ones, are applying efforts to attract tourists from China where the potential market constitutes one fifth of the Earth’s population. “China has a special traveling policy that uses the Approved Destination Status (ADS) as a marker for the countries that are on the list of recommended destinations for Chinese tourists,” Assanbayeva explained. “Attribution of the status involves signing of a bilateral agreement that is used by the Chinese government to permit its tourism operators to organize tours to the country, and the country allows entry of Chinese tourists under ADS group tourist visas.” In practice, many agencies request Chinese tourists to make a monetary deposit before setting off on a trip, Assanbayeva said. For example, Chinese agencies require a deposit of around $6,000 per each tourist traveling to Australia. “Kazakhstan may also set certain requirements for entry of group tourists from China, e.g. request their bank statement, payment for the flight and accommodation in Kazakhstan, a deposit, etc. Russia and Uzbekistan have similar agreements. These agreements have been signed by over 120 countries,” she said. There are certain requirements to ADS visa recipients and all their movements in the receiving country are planned out and scheduled by a tourist company, she continued. “The tourists may not leave their group, move around or live independently. The visa is issued to a group and the tourists are accommodated in hotels together. That’s why the chances that the arriving Chinese will be off pushing carts at Almaty’s “barakholka” (flea market), do business and eventually stay in Kazakhstan are very small. The tourist companies are responsible for their tourists,” Assanbayeva explained. According to the speaker, signing of this agreement by Kazakhstan and China will boost development of Kazakhstan’s tourism. Earlier Tengrinews.kz English reported that Kazakhstan’s citizens were concerned over possible abolition of visas for the Chinese. Where as the Kazakhstan authorities say that the agreement is called to deepen cooperation in tourism and increase a flow of tourists to Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan Vice Foreign Minister Kairat Sarybai explained that the point of the agreement is also to simplify the current visa regime for Kazakhstan’s citizens to enter China. By Roza Yessenkulova

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