Kazakhstan has lifted visa requirements for citizens of selected countries, a move designed to lure business travelers, and which is also expected to boost the tourism sector. But even without a need for visas, tourism experts believe that Kazakhstan will remain a hard sell for foreign visitors.
The pilot scheme went into effect July 15 for a one-year period and allows visa-free travel for visitors from 10 states: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, and the USA. It is ostensibly aimed at making life easier for business travelers and investors. But it also has broad potential implications for tourism.
It generated a buzz of excitement on online travel forums. But there also have been gripes that travelers can only stay for 15 days visa-free – a relatively short time to zoom around the sights of the world’s ninth largest country in terms of territory.
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Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.