Qatar and Kazakhstan want to further enhance bilateral relations, particularly in the area of tourism, as the number of visitors between the two countries continue to increase, Kazakhstan ambassador Askar Shokybayev has told Gulf Times.
“We are looking to develop the ties in tourism for both sides,” said the envoy, as he cited the growing number of Qataris who visit Kazakhstan, thanks to the "easy visa application process of our country for Qatar citizens and residents".
The envoy hopes the bilateral tourist flow will increase as many Kazakhstanis find Qatar as an attractive leisure destination.
Shokybayev said Qatar’s sea- and desert-oriented vacations have enticed Kazakhstani travellers to visit the country, while Kazakhstan gives Qataris a taste of its four seasons and rich nature such as forests, mountains, rivers and steppes, among other tourism offerings.
He noted that the Kazakhstan embassy recently issued more than 500 entry permits for Qataris in a day, and expects more visa applications in the near future.
According to the envoy, Kazakhstanis have been exploring Qatar since August 2017 after being granted visa-free entry to the country, along with more than 80 other nationalities.
Kazakhstanis can stay up to 90 days in Qatar from the date of issuance during either single or multiple trips.
Such a move has made Qatar the “most open country” in the Middle East and the eighth most open in the world in terms of visa facilitation.
Qatar has also launched the electronic visitor authorisation system, allowing its residents to invite their family and relatives from around the world to visit the country during the 'Summer in Qatar' programme, from June 4 until August 16. They can obtain visa upon arrival after applying through the online portal
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan is renowned for a range of diverse tourism offerings such as nature-based activities, which include ecotourism and birdwatching in national parks and protected areas, skiing or trekking in the mountains, water sports, sunbathing and swimming in lakes and rivers.
Besides nature and adventure, Kazakhstan’s rich culture and heritage (ethnotourism) also attract many tourists to experience its authentic cuisines, traditional performances, an array of art exhibitions and other cultural activities.
Shokybayev hopes to have a direct air connection between Qatar and Kazakhstan, which he expects will further boost not only the two countries’ tourism ties but also other fields of co-operation such as trade and commerce.