Double-deckers to cruise Astana

Feb 20. Tengrinews

By By Linda Buran

Double-deckers to cruise AstanaAstana will introduce double-decker sightseeing buses for tourists, reports citing the author of the idea, president of Kazakhstan Local Tourism Development Association Gaukhar Zhenisbek. The buses will cruise both for foreigners and Kazakhstan residents.

According to Zhenisbek, the initial idea was to buy the Double Decker franchise from Great Britain. However, there was a problem with Astana population, as the main condition of this franchise is that the population is 3 million people or large. Then the decision was made to launch Kazakhstan-made tourist buses.

“The buses of Astana Bus Tours will work as Hop-on Hop-off city tour buses. This provides for an unlimited number of get offs and get ons. Having bought the ticket, the tourist will be able to get off and get on the bus at any stop. A special route has already been developed. It tours Astana’s main sights,” she said. “The buses will be equipped with audio guides with description of the city’s sights with the option of switching to different languages. For example, in London the languages are divided into different audio channels.”

The buses will cruise from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on week days and until midnight on holidays. The authors of the project are also considering adding night tours. According to Zhenismbek, the ticket cost may include a river cruise on the Ishim River.

According to the speaker, the initial plan was to paint the double-deckers in red, to uphold the established brand. However, it was later decided to create Astana’s own brand by painting the buses in the colors associated with Kazakhstan.

Zhenisbek is confident that the service at the tourist buses will be at the highest level to improve the capital’s image. “We will be selecting the drivers and guides to work on these buses very thoroughly. Knowledge of English will be the main criteria for the selection. The guides will be certified. It is very important how they tell about the capital. As for the driving culture, I think we need to hold social advertisement campaigns that will directly or indirectly help change the culture,” she added.

Earlier English reported that Astana was visited by over 500 thousand tourists in 2012. Besides, the number of tourists traveling from Astana increased as well. They totaled at 27.3 thousand people in 2012 versus 24.4 thousand in 2011.