There is a shortage of printed information in the English language about touristic destinations in Kazakhstan – with the possible exceptions of the main cities, Almaty and Astana. I suspect that there is a similar dearth of such information even in the Kazakh and Russian languages.
The government of Kazakhstan is spending a lot of money to promote tourism as one of the pillars of a future economy not based on fossil fuels and mineral ores. However, so far as I can ascertain, no one has been commissioned to write a tourist handbook for the country. Why? And where are the handy leaflets at hotels, conference centers and information points?
I was reminded of this deficite when I once again saw the front page of the June 12, 2003, issue of Steppe’n Out in Almaty, a publication of the Community Liaison Office of the U.S. Embassy (following the Embassy’s move to Astana, it’s now called Steppe’n Out in Astana).
The front page contains a delightful article about the city of Ridder (called Leninogorsk during the Soviet era). In one small page, the article gives historical perspective, boasts of the attractions, and also includes information about Ust-Kamenogorsk. The article is, of course, woefully out of date in its details, such as the cost of taxi rides and the activities of the Peace Corps (which has withdrawn from Kazakhstan). And it makes no recommendations as to where to stay or to eat.
A search on Google turns up very few helpful references to Ridder. One of them, by an outfit called the Ecotourism Information Research Center, does briefly laud the touristic attractions of Ridder and the Altai Mountains. They apparently can arrange tours and mountain hikes. Go to https://kazakhstan.orexca.com/ridder_kazakhstan.shtml for more information and contact details.
Ridder may not be a good example of the problem. I doubt that the Steppe’n Out in Almaty piece sent a flood of tourists to Ridder, and an updated re-write is equally unlikely to cause an inundation of foreign or local tourists. On the other hand, if you don’t invite and entice, who will come? Moreover, what about some of the larger cities, such as Aktau, Atyrau, Shymkent, Karagandy, Aktobe, Taraz, Semey, Kyzylorda, Ust-Kamenogorsk, and Pavlodar?
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