RIYADH: Kazakhstan has relaxed visa requirements for Saudis visiting the Central Asian country.
Kazakhstan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Berik Aryn told Arab News: “From this year, we canceled all visa requirements for Saudi citizens as well as for citizens of all Gulf countries.”
At a roadshow titled, “Tourism in Almaty,” organized by the Kazakhstan Embassy in Riyadh in cooperation with the tourism department of Almaty in Kazakhstan, Aryn said: “There is no need of a visa to travel to Kazakhstan … up to 30 days just a stamp at the airport is required. They will go directly to different airports and it will be stamped there.”
He added that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with visiting Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Jeddah in July this year. The two leaders reviewed bilateral relations and discussed enhancing cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan in various fields, including tourism.
Aryn said: “We have organized several roadshows this year in Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah on tourism opportunities in Kazakhstan … this is our fourth roadshow. All these measures allowed us to make Kazakhstan a choice from some of the Saudi cities. From January to September this year, we witnessed an increase in tourists to Kazakhstan.
“I would like also to mention the increase in the number of Kazakh citizens who visited Saudi Arabia this year, which reached 20,000. We understand that these figures still do not respond to the potential partnership in tourism. Nevertheless, we believe that our joint efforts are now providing favorable conditions for increasing tourism and building up trade and economic cooperation,” said the envoy.
Sabina Amankeldi, head of the Almaty Tourism Department, said: “The main purpose of this event was to demonstrate and promote the interesting potential of Almaty to people of Saudi Arabia.”
She added: “This year, we can see an impressive increase in touristic flow from Arab countries. For example, compared to last year, this year we see tourists from Saudi Arabia — a 70-times increase. Last year we had 63 tourists from Saudi Arabia. This year, it’s more than 4,500 so far.
“The Arab market is one of the main targets for us because of the way how they stay, how they tribute their respects to our country, to our people.
“As a destination we can offer a wide range of activities and services. There is very beautiful accommodation, very nice hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, and of course, what we drive, our nature.”
The roadshow was attended by Kazakhstan tour operators, and included a concert and cultural music program.