Foreign tourism in Kazakhstan has seen a significant surge, with 835,000 visitors recorded during the first nine months of 2023, marking an increase of more than a third compared to previous figures. This rise was mirrored by a simultaneous 11% increase in domestic tourists, reaching approximately 5.4 million visitors. These statistics, released by the Ministry of Culture and Sports’ press service, indicates a promising trend in the country’s tourism sector.
Among the regions drawing the most attention from international travelers, the southern city of Almaty emerged as the frontrunner. During the same period, Almaty welcomed 409,394 foreign tourists, solidifying its status as a top destination within Kazakhstan. Renowned for its ski resorts, picturesque landscapes, and pleasant climate, Almaty has garnered praise from esteemed travel publications such as Condé Nast Traveler Italia and The New York Times, further boosting its allure to global visitors.
Following closely behind is the capital city, Astana, which attracted 220,000 foreign visitors primarily for business purposes. Meanwhile, the coastal region of Mangystau, notably Aktau, enticed 34,435 travelers with its Caspian Sea vistas. Rounding off the top five are the Atyrau region and Shymkent, each welcoming 24,431 and 20,837 foreign tourists, respectively.
Nurtas Karipbaev, acting director of the Tourism Industry Committee of MTS RK, attributes Kazakhstan’s rising popularity among tourists to its rich tourism potential and the warm hospitality extended by locals. He also highlights the country’s efforts to facilitate travel, with visa-free entry currently available to visitors from 81 countries, a number expected to increase to 100 in the near future.