Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan decided to compete with Russia for Chinese tourists
The Kyrgyz authorities have informed the Chinese government about their readiness to introduce a 10-day visa-free regime for the country’s citizens, and this proposal is currently being considered, said the head of the Republic’s Foreign Ministry Jeenbek Kulubaev. According to him, China wants its citizens to be able to visit three Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan – rich in natural, historical and cultural monuments during one trip.
Apparently it will be possible soon. Last week, during the visit of Kazakhstan’s president Kassym-Jomar Tokayev to China, an agreement was signed between the governments of the two countries on a joint exemption from the visa requirement for tourist and business trips. According to this document, citizens of both countries will be able to stay on the territory of another country without a visa for up to 30 days without a break and up to 90 days within six months. Then Kazakh officials wait for the influx of Chinese tourists.
From 2021, Chinese citizens can enter Uzbekistan without a visa for 10 days, and now the parties are discussing the expansion of visa-free travel. In March, China allowed its citizens to travel to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as part of tourist groups.
Before the pandemic, Chinese tourists led the way in foreign spending. China’s Monetary Administration estimated that in the first half of 2019 alone, Chinese tourists spent nearly $130 billion abroad, and that’s just 7% of Chinese citizens, or 99 million people. The China International Tourism Research Institute predicts that more than 400 million Chinese will travel by 2030, and by then they will account for at least 25% of tourism.