Almaty the Most Popular Tourist Destination in Kazakhstan

Assumption Cathedral in Almaty © Dmitry Erokhin

Over 835,000 foreign tourists visited Kazakhstan from January to September 2023, an increase of more than a third compared to the previous year, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Kazakhstan has announced. 

The ministry revealed the top five most popular destinations in Kazakhstan among foreign tourists. The country’s largest city, Almaty, was in first place with 410,000 tourists. Almaty and its surroundings attract tourists with ski resorts and beautiful nature. Recently Condé Nast Traveler Italia recommended Shymbulak ski resort as one of the world’s top five ski resorts, and The New York Times included Almaty in its list of 52 places worth visiting in 2024.

Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, was in second place, with 220,000 foreign guests. The Mangistau region on the shores of the Caspian Sea was in third place, with 35,000. The western Atyrau region was in fourth place, with 25,000 tourists, and the country’s third-largest city, Shymkent, was the fifth destination, with over 20,000 visitors.

Nurtas Karipbaev, the chairman of the Tourism Industry Committee at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Kazakhstan, commented: “Citizens of 81 countries now enjoy a visa-free entry into Kazakhstan. In the future we plan to increase this figure to 100.”

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, from January to September 2023 the majority of travelers visiting Kazakhstan were from Russia — over 350,000. Chinese tourists were in second place (over 75,000), followed by Turkey (over 40,000), India (almost 35,000), and the USA (almost 30,000).

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Times of Central Asia