Air Astana Loses The Battle For The Rich Chinese Tourist

Air Astana Sees Rebound Tied to Kazakhstan’s Recovery

Despite the cloudless relations between Kazakhstan and China in the political sphere and the willingness of our financial institutions to borrow money from China long in which we do not deny the neighbors, we still have very little idea about each other. And about any interpenetration of cultures of the question. Chinese tourists do not know about Kazakhstan virtually nothing and not too eager to leave our millions of dollars in the economy, preferring to feed Russia, the United States and the European Union.

On the eve of this paradox discussed in detail in honor of International Tourism Day of the Kazakh-Chinese Tourism Forum. Amounts exported from China, along with the money tourists are impressive: for example, before last in 2014 the number of Chinese tourists reached 107 million people in the world. However, by the end of 2015 the number had risen to 128 million tourists. Thus, China came in first place in the world for outbound tourist flow. In addition, citizens of China won the first place in the “wealth of tourists.” Today it is the wealthiest tourists.

So, talking about the amount of money they have left in the world economy, the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of China to Kazakhstan Zhang Hanhuey said: “The cost of our tourists in the past year totaled $ 104.5 billion in total, one Chinese tourist spent an average of $ 1875.. Currently, more than 13% of the world’s contribution to the tourism market accounted for China’s citizens. ”

By and large the whole world flow passes Kazakhstan. We do not earn it with almost anything. And the reasons for this mass.

Firstly, complex government bureaucracy when visa to Kazakhstan tourists from China have to wait up to 14 days. Secondly, a complete lack of imagination of domestic business, which is not able to offer prospective tourists nothing but groomed natural areas. In addition, there is no proper service, which has become a kind of enfant terrible of domestic tourism. Third, the absolute lack of language environment and inscriptions in Chinese (China Friendly program – auth.), Which has long been successfully developed in Russia, the EU and the US, which remove the basic “cream” of the flow of tourists from the PRC. Fourth, the miserable offer on the market experts, Chinese speaking, who grew up in Kazakhstan and ready to operate guides. Fifthly, some not very friendly towards China remarks or events taking place in our country, sharply deter wealthy Chinese tourists, putting Kazakhstan in the country “unsafe for the Chinese.”

Nevertheless, despite the fact that we still are slaboprivlekatelnoy country for Chinese tourists, for which hunts the whole world, we have much to learn and to grow. Especially that the situation on the regional market develops could not be more helpful.

Thus, the CEO of the oldest travel agency of the Soviet Union, and now Russia “Intourist” Leonid Marmer identified several key factors, which will be based in Kazakhstan to attract wealthy tourists from the PRC. These findings he made like the Russian experience.

“First and foremost, you need to cancel entry visas for tourists from China. We in Russia have done and did not regret it. Now, about 70 million tourists annually from China go to Japan, the United States, the European Union and to us in Russia. But not the only reason. Impact and influence of devaluation of the ruble, which depreciated against the major currencies, made the stay in Russia for foreign tourists, including staying the influx of China’s very comfortable and inexpensive. In addition, economic well-being Chinese is growing every year: they begin to significantly outpace the countries of the region by per capita income. And this is happening against the backdrop of the fall of tourist flow to our country from the European Union and the United States. Moreover, unlike the Chinese are extremely interested communist past of our country: everything, including structures, buildings, monuments, prisons, etc. They are not interested in nature, because they do it can be beautiful. They are interested in what we have in common – the “red history”. And who understand that will make a great business to Chinese tourists, “- said Leonid Marmer.

In turn, as explained the president of Kazakhstan association of hotels and restaurants, the director of the Kazakhstan Tourist Association Rashid Shaikenova, our country is taking its first steps on the way to attract Chinese tourists.

“At the end of last year, WORLD Kazakhstan and the Chinese state administration of Tourism signed a memorandum on the simplification of group tourism from China to Kazakhstan. It is understood that one visa, we will provide a group of tourists from China to 50 people who will be able to stay in Kazakhstan for 15 days. The first such group came to us this summer. In total, the group simplified the program to our already drove 300 Chinese citizens. They were all very pleasant here. However, I know that was going to drop a lot more tourists. In general, we are now at a point where our country is annually visited by only 250 thousand. Chinese tourists. That is, we have huge growth prospects. Now officially 45 tour operators from Kazakhstan, their contacts have already been sent to the Chinese authorities in order to further cooperation “, – noted Rashid Shaikenova.

Meanwhile, the president of JSC “Air Astana” Peter Foster said that during his trips abroad Chinese citizens spend an average of $ 300 per day. By the way, in 2016 the national airline plans to transport 200 thousand. Chinese tourists on their flights. However, after three years it is expected that the number of Chinese passengers on board “Air Astana” will increase to one million.

“Because of this one million, we believe that about 500 thousand. Man will carry out a transit stop in Kazakhstan. If the average count for two days in transit, the financial plan will give Chinese tourists to Kazakhstan one million transit days. That is, if you take $ 300 a day, it will bring an additional $ 300 million per year to the national economy through wages hotels, restaurants, malls, shopping centers and travel agencies. That’s a lot of money and a lot of jobs, “- he shared his vision of Peter Foster.

So after three years the airline “Air Astana” plans to increase the number of flights per week from 20 to 60 flights. Besides, now it carries out flights to two cities in mainland China. This Beijing and Urumqi.

“After three years, we plan to its route network to add four more cities in China. This Xi’an, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai. In this regard, we have asked the two governments to begin the procedure for the signing of bilateral agreements, in order to increase the geography of our flights. At the same time, we expect to facilitate visa procedures for Chinese citizens. As an immediate measure, we ask the Government of Kazakhstan to consider the introduction of a visa-free regime for 72 hours for Chinese citizens flying in transit through Kazakhstan, “- has made a constructive suggestion, Peter Foster.