Kazakhstan Tourism: A Life-line for the Kinderli Bay Resort Project?

It was announced recently that a German investor with experience in developing resorts is negotiating a possible U.S. $1 billion investment in the stalled – moribund? –  Kinderli Bay Resort Project.  This follows on from a presentation in Berlin earlier in 2016 seeking investor interest in developing Kinderli Bay.

The presentation indicated that a city of up to 200,000 inhabitants would be constructed to service the needs of the tourists.  The city would include educational facilities, hospitals, commercial office buildings and other facilities.  Tourists would enjoy 23 hotels, water parks, a yacht club and health centers.

A few years ago, Kazakhstan’s government set out a plan to diversify the economy away from heavy reliance on the fossil fuel industry.  Tourism was identified as one of the key sectors deserving support.  And the Kinderli resort project was intended to play a central role in making tourism a reality in the diversified economy.

The Rixos Hotel group was appointed to take charge of this development project which then looked for up to 15 resort hotels to be constructed.  A feasibility study was commissioned and, apparently, it projected that many thousands of foreign tourists would be attracted to the resort each year.

The dramatic fall in the price of crude oil took the wind out of the sails of this project as the government trimmed back on expenses to weather the storm.  The website for the project was deleted from the internet and no announcements have been made about the termination, suspension or other disposition of the project.

Against this backdrop, it certainly is interesting to learn that a foreign investor is said to be negotiating to invest large sums in the project.

The significance of the news needs careful reflection.  Presumably the potential German investor is not identified because no legal commitment has yet been made. Also, one can assume that any large-scale investor in a stalled project has a strong bargaining hand.  If the government previously was prepared to support the project with infrastructure and other improvements, one would guess that a white knight investor would expect even more support.  The Rixos Group is not mentioned in the latest news and may no longer be involved.

Outlook:  Watch for news of further developments.  This could get interesting.  Or it might come to nothing.

Additional Background:  Six years ago, another initiative was made to launch the Kinderli resort project.  That effort apparently stalled but their announcement gives an idea of what a Caspian Sea resort at Kinderli might look like.

The Syrian International Business Centre group reported that it was scouting for possible Malaysian companies to jointly develop a $5.6 billion project at Kinderli.  With backing from the government of Kazakhstan, which would lease the beaches for 49 years, it sought to undertake a 5-year development of a 1,700-hectare resort plus a new airport and a desalination plant.

In addition to several 3-, 4-, and 5-star hotels, the plan was to build 4,000 units of villa, cottages and flats for private ownership.

Waterfront planning foresaw a Family Paradise Beach, a Marina Paradise Beach, a Fun Paradise Beach and a Golfing Paradise Beach, each beach to cater to people with different interests.

Practically every conceivable attraction for a resort would have been included in the development: a 27-hole golf course, parks, sports arenas, and theme parks like a silk road park, aqua park, and an adventure and amusement park.

The developers were to install roads, parking bays, a bus terminal, a waste water treatment plant and electric power plants with a capacity to supply 40-80MW electricity.

Finally, there was to be an agriculture park to produce the resort’s food.

Photo:  The photo accompanied an article about the possible German investment by ArnaPress.com on 28 December 2016.  It seems to be an artistic rendition of low-rise apartments at the project.


Book Sales:  Find more stories about Kazakhstan from the 1990s and later in my book, West Meets East in Kazakhstan.  It’s available online in softcover or e-book format from AuthorHouse (the publisher), or Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Website:  My blog posts go out on Facebook and often on LinkedIn.  If you’d like to see them again or check for posts you might have missed, go directly to my website: viewkazakhstan.com



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