Maria Ryzhkova, director Discover Almaty, says, “More and more GCC residents are choosing to visit Almaty because of the ease in visa requirements, increased leisure attractions and business opportunities. We have witnessed a boost in international tourism following the change as well as the availability of direct flights to Almaty from Dubai.”
Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan, offers direct flights from Dubai.
The growth in the number of visitors was buoyed by the introduction of visa-free entry for most nationalities. The Kazakhstan tourism body is undertaking a testing period where international travellers can obtain an online visa with ease, offering convenient and limitless access to the wondrous sights and sounds of the country for over 30 days.
From its beatific and untouched scenery, skiing facilities, and enriched city delights, Almaty is also a shopper’s paradise, housing some of the most recognised retail brands and haute couture outlets from all over the world.
“I welcome everyone to come visit Almaty. It is a unique destination where you can enjoy the wondrous city, mountain and lake experiences in such close proximity. It takes less than an hour to go to the mountains from the city, and even less to reach the azure waters of the Great Almaty Lake. The all-round perfect summer escape for families, friends and solo backpackers,” Ryzhkova says.
Almaty is home to 350 kilometres of Trans-Ili Alatau snowy mountain ranges culminating in Shymbulak, the ultimate skier’s paradise that houses three ski lifts with the highest going to 3,200 metres above sea level. The city is also known for its rich natural attractions, one of which is Burkhan-Bulak, Kazakhstan’s highest waterfall located in the mountainous Jongar Alatau area in the Kora River gorge. Additionally, water lovers can bask in the beauty of the Great Almaty Lake, a natural reservoir perched high in the Ili Alatau mountains, more than 8,000 feet above sea level.
Almaty offers the best of hospitality: the Ritz-Carlton, Rixos, Mercure and Double Tree by Hilton, all have properties there.
"We are truly breaking ground here, being part of this community that, while being an opulent city hotel located in the centre of Almaty, can also present an undiscovered paradise like no other in the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains," says Can Göktaş, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Almaty. “It is also important to point out how easily accessible Kazakhstan is to the residents of the UAE. They can travel to Almaty without a visa making the trip hassle free and the ideal choice for families travelling from the region.”
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
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Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.