After the resumption of the 72-hour visa-free regime for transit passengers traveling to third countries from China via Kazakhstan from January 1, 2018, it became possible to create combined tours from China to Russia, the President of the Eurasian Tourism Association Rysty Karabaeva reported to the “World Without Borders” Tourist Association . According to her, Chinese tourists use the opportunity of combined tours with a stop in Almaty and Astana not very active, since a little time has passed since the beginning of the resumption of the program.
“We are talking about a very small number of tourist groups and, as a rule, about one overnight stay. We would like the guests from China get to know more about the tourism opportunities of our country during the stop in Kazakhstan on the way to Moscow”, the expert says.
Unlike the Russian Federation, to where groups of Chinese tourists come by visa-free lists, there is a group visa regime between Kazakhstan and China, but since 2017, in the country, a pilot protocol on 72 hours of visa-free stay of transit tourists has been implemented. In accordance with the latest decisions of the authorities of Kazakhstan, it will operate at least until the end of 2018, on the assumption that passengers arrive in the country by the National Airlines “Air Astana”.
According to Rysty Karabayeva opinion, the year 2017, declared the year of Kazakhstan’s tourism in China, did not bring tangible results in terms of a significant increase of tourists from China.
“In 2017, 106,678 Chinese tourists visited Kazakhstan. We do not have visa-free lists that Russia has, visas are issued either individually or for a group. According to our data, out of the total number of Chinese citizens arriving in the country – 5,808 tourists and 1,018 transit guests. All other Chinese guests are ethnic Kazakhs – 62,188 people and business tourists”, explains Rysty Karabayeva.
At the same time, according to the words of the President of the Eurasian Tourism Association, there is a necessity of some patience for Chinese and Russian tour operators to evaluate the advantages of combined routes through Kazakhstan.
“In fact, visa-free transit regime has just started working and, in my opinion, it’s too early to talk about the final results. 250 tourists from China came to Kazakhstan within groups in January, let’s see how this direction will develop further. In addition, it is possible to count on such a flow as in Russia only when the appropriate infrastructure is created within the country and the issues of staffing assistance are solved”, Rysty Karabaeva said.
The possibility of combined tours from China to Russia will be one of the themes of the VI Summit of the Russian-Chinese Tourism Forum, which will be held on March 11-12, 2018 at the site of the XIII International Tourism Exhibition Inturmarket-2018.
The Russian-Chinese Tourism Forum has been held since 2012 and it is the main platform for discussing the prospects for cooperation between Russia and China in the field of tourism and humanitarian exchanges, the meeting place for representatives of the tourism business, government bodies and public organizations, the platform for signing important agreements between designated organizations of partner countries. For introduction with the forum program and more detailed information, visit the official website http://www.russiachinaforum.com.