The Kazakhstani Government have announced that they will introduce the Kazakhstan eVisas later this year. The new scheme will make it easier for tourists to obtain a visa for Kazakhstan.
Mukhtar Tleuberdi, the First Deputy Foreign Minister, said: "We plan to implement pilot projects for electronic visas for a number of countries this year. The list of these countries has already determined." However, he did not state which countries will be eligible.
He said that the government had studied the experience other countries have had regarding electronic visas, such as the UAE and Estonia. Many countries have been introducing electronic visas over the last couple of years as a way of boosting tourism.
"The budget commission will also provide the necessary amount to improve the system of Committee of national security, engaged in the visa project so that we could start the issuance of electronic visas in 2018," Tleuberdi said.
Kazakhstan is geographically the ninth-largest country in the world, and it is the largest landlocked country. However, it is not a typical tourist destination and in 2014 tourism only accounted for 0.3% of the country's GDP. The government plans to increase this to 3% by 2020. The introduction of Kazakhstan eVisas is a part of this strategy.
The government has already established visa-free relationships with 45 countries. Citizens Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, and Ukraine can enter Kazakstan visa-free for up to 90 days. Citizens of the USA, all EU countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are just some of the nationalities that can enter for up to 30 days visa-free.
Kazakhstan: an undiscovered, beautiful giant
The capital city of Kazakhstan is Astana and it is known for its futuristic, modern architecture. However, Kazakhstan's beauty is in the mountains, rivers, lakes, and valleys rather than its cities.
The country is vast, stunning and off the beaten track which means that its perfect for hiking and other outdoor adventures. Kazakhstan is home to around 120 species of mammal, 500 bird species, over 100 types of fish, and thousands of different plants.
There is a network of national parks and nature reserves to protect the diversity of Kazakhstan's wildlife and they are open to visitors. One of the most famous is the Aksu Zhabagly Nature Reserve. It is possible to see rare animals such as snow leopards and pink flamingos there.
The diversity of the landscape also creates opportunities. Activities such as skiing and snowboarding in the mountains, and water sports in the lakes, are becoming increasingly popular with both locals and tourists.
Kazakhstan is landlocked but it has a coastline along the largest lake in the world, the Caspian Sea. It is the ideal location for sunbathing, swimming, sailing, and fishing. The largest number of reservoirs are in Zhetyso (meaning 'Seven Rivers'). There are many health resorts which are popular in this zone.
Aside from its beauty, visitors find Kazakhstan's unique culture fascinating and enchanting. The rich history and culture, the range of museums, medieval cities, exciting nightlife, will reward travelers who make the effort.