There are many stereotypes about tourism in Kyrgyz Republic which we should defy. One of these stereotypes is high prices. Domestic tourism market players, i.e. tour operators, travel agencies, resorts, motels, our own people, have negative perception on tourism industry and assume that prices are unreasonably high. We are against such a subjective opinion as the cost of services is regulated by market.
For example, look at our neighboring countries. Those who travel to Almaty, Astana, are well aware of what kind of prices are in their hotels. The same can be said about the Almaty Region spa resorts. In spa resorts in Kyrgyzstan prices are much lower. Another instance is Istanbul - the financial center of Turkey. Its hotel rates are much higher than in Bishkek. In other words, our prices are low enough.
Additionally, travel opportunities of Kyrgyzstan are always compared to Turkey, Thailand, and other travel-oriented countries. In my opinion, that always raises the question - why not to compare Kyrgyzstan’s economy to Germany’s, Japan’s or the United States’ one as well? And for sure the answer will be that you cannot compare economies of these countries. Allowing for this, how our country’s travel opportunities can be compares to those in well-established tourism countries? It would be incorrect as well. There is no precedent than the KR’s consumer goods industry was compared to the Turkey’s or Vietnam’s one or the KR’s mining industry was compared to the South Africa’s one, where diamonds and gold are mined in large quantities. I believe that all these stereotypes are unreasonable perceptions.
The same applies to service quality. Service level is compared to the same Turkey. It is also wrong. Tourist industry in Turkey goes back from the 1960s, and they have reached a certain level after so many years. They have their own history, a different approach of the state to tourism sectori. Our tourism industry exists since the 1990s, but despite this, we are one of the leaders among the CIS countries. Of course, there are regions like the Baltics which have already achieved some results, but if viewed as a whole then we are leaders. Basically tourist traffic come to us via the Silk Road, people come for recreational tourism, eco-tourism, adventure tourism, mountain climbing, historical and cultural tourism. Kazakhstan , Tajikistan, some Caucasian countries , the eastern side of the CIS - Ukraine , Belarus follow the example of Kyrgyzstan.
Of course, there are some areas of tourism that should be developed, such as business tourism, but we are going the other way. We do not develop the business tourism for the reason that the economic level is not high enough. But we want to reach world level in developing congress tourism, when international organizations, multinational companies can use our facilities to organize conferences, trainings and seminars. We have all the possibilities for that kind of tourism. Hotel and restaurants in Bishkek, resorts at the Issyk –Kul can meet and serve up to three thousand people per day. On top of that, we have affordable prices, gourmet cuisine, organic food, good ecology. Participants of these events can improve their health, take rest and have a good time simultaneously. We want to make the congress tourism the next brand along with eco-tourism , ethnic tourism, mountain and adventure tourism . We want to make the World Nomads Games our brand. Just as the carnivals in Brazil, bullfighting in Spain, sumo in Japan. Each country has its own travel brands, the World Nomads Games should be our brand.
Another stereotype that Kyrgyzstan is an unsafe country. Unfortunately, this stereotype emerged not without the contribution of local population and mass media. Competing countries are beneficial if we reflect negative events in the media, whether they are local riots or social unrests. The result is that our country is always in a negative light.
In Turkey, the media understands that any negative information harms the image of the country, stops the flow of tourists and investments. They try to reflect the events in the country objectively. We also ask our media to tell news objectively. But the media, unfortunately, become an instrument in the hands of politicians. Because of last year's events in the Saruu Village we had hard summer period. Not only tourists, but also investors start to think about whether to come to Kyrgyzstan. I would urge the media to defend their country from negative information. Because world knows our country through our media.
Another reason why we should take care of our country is that the Kyrgyz Republic has not yet formed a strong country brand and image that would protect us from any negative effects, both inside and outside. For example, you still will go to the same Turkey even if there are riots, because of brand and image of well-established tourism country. Same for Thailand, France and other countries while we do not have the brand which could soften the negative effect. In other words then we have a small "flash" that leads to a large fire. We want to build your brand which will be a kind of a fire-extinguisher.
Within the developed marketing campaign «Visit Kyrgyzstan» we create the country's tourism portal and promotional commercial. In the country’s tourist portal, which will be launched in the summer, we want to show another Kyrgyzstan, to show true Kyrgyzstan. Country requires marketing, we have to show to promote our country. Brand "Unique Kyrgyzstan" we want to apply in terms of tourism, currently we work with the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the issue of positioning of the Kyrgyz Republic. For example, the positioning of France is the romance and glamor of Europe, England - finance, aristocracy, United States - freedom, China - world factory. And what do we have? So far in the minds of the target audience Kyrgyzstan is a country of revolutions and riots, unfortunately.
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