Bishkek is in the top 10 most popular cities in the CIS for summer travel. Travel service Travel.ru identified summer holiday destinations popular among CIS tourists in the region in 2014. Minsk ranked first and Bishkek ninth. The most popular summer holiday destination in Kyrgyzstan is Lake Issyk-Kul. According to Travel.ru, Russian tourists will spend an average of two to three days at Bishkek, and 10 days at Lake Issyk-Kul.
International hotel chain Golden Tulip opened a hotel in the capital of the republic in 2014 – the second international operator to enter the country after Hyatt. The majority of hotels in Kyrgyzstan are domestic independent operators. The country lacks accommodation that meets international standards. New hotels such as the Golden Tulip will help to attract new investment and improve the image of Kyrgyzstan as a destination country.
There were no low-cost carriers in Kyrgyzstan until domestic player Pegasus Asia entered the market. This influenced both consumer behaviour and the competitive environment in terms of airlines. The new player forced both local and international companies to review their fares and made air transportation more affordable, which in turn led to lower interest in land transportation. Also, local airlines Air Kyrgyzstan and Avia Traffic Company experienced lower demand for their services. Moreover, low-cost airlines’ promotional and educational activities encouraged consumers to travel more.
At the first meeting of the Summit of Tourism Ministers of the Turkic Council Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a resolution to create a single tourism product for the Great Silk Road. The resolution established a four-country Tourism Association led by the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB). The purpose of the Union is to strengthen the regulatory and marketing interactions of the countries via exchange of experiences in the sphere of tourism.
Riots and protests throughout Kyrgyzstan discouraged many Russian and Kazakh tourists from visiting a favourite summer holiday destination in the country. After civil unrest in 2010, Kyrgyzstan faced new riots in 2013, with demonstrations outside the Kumtor gold mine. Protesters were dissatisfied that part of the mine was sold to international investors from Canada. It also revived long-standing fears among foreigners that Kyrgyzstan is too unstable a destination for a restful vacation. The CIS region experienced serious geopolitical and economic unrest because of the Russian-Ukrainian situation in 2014-2015. Kyrgyzstan’s economy and travel and tourism massively depend on the region’s welfare, especially in Russia and Kazakhstan. A worsening economic situation would be a serious obstacle to further development of tourism.
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