Almaty, the largest metropolis in Kazakhstan, has witnessed a remarkable surge in tourism arrivals, namely from the GCC region.
Director, Discover Almaty, Maria Ryzhkova revealed: “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.”
Home to untouched scenery, skiing facilities and enriched city delights, Almaty has proven itself as a jewel of a travel destination. The metropolis is also known for being a shopper’s paradise, housing some of the most recognised retail brands and haute couture outlets from all over the world. Newly launched tourism companies, such as Discover Almaty, guides tourists seeking a hassle-free, convenient and comfortable trip in the city, ensuring every request is fulfilled.
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 sights and sounds of the country for over 30 days.
Travellers from the GCC can rely on Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan, for direct flights from Dubai. It operates scheduled, domestic and international services on 64 routes from its main hub, Almaty International Airport, and from its secondary hub, Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport.
Almaty is home to 350 kilometres of Trans-Ili Alatau snowy mountain ranges culminating in Shymbulak, a skier’s paradise that houses three ski lifts with the highest going to 3,200m above sea level. A haven for adventure and escape retreats, the vast landscape of Kazakhstan has remained virtually untouched, making the destination an appealing choice for nature lovers and thrill seekers.
Almaty offers the best of hospitality, leisure and recreation with worldly hospitality brands such as the Ritz Carlton, Rixos, Mercure and Double Tree by Hilton. The country’s food culture, founded on some of the world’s most flavourful fresh produce, is also worthy of mention.
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. The breathtaking waterfall is 168m long, 114 of which are visible, and rises to an altitude of 2,000m above sea level. Additionally, water lovers can bask in the beauty of the Great Almaty Lake, a natural reservoir perched high in the Ili Alatau mountains. This alpine lake’s unusual teal hue and surrounding nature makes it one of the most appealing sites in the country.
Ryzhkova concluded: “I welcome everyone to come visit Almaty. It is a unique destination where you can enjoy the wondrous city, mountain and lake experiences within 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.”