MOSCOW – The presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan, Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev, agreed on Friday to cooperate closely to attract tourists from China and India to their respective countries.
“It is important to take advantage of our geographical proximity to China and India, countries that show high rates of growth in tourism,” said Nazarbayev during a meeting with the Kremlin chief in the Kazakh city of Petropavlovsk.
The Kazakh leader proposed to promote joint projects for the development of tourism in the Caspian Sea, which borders both countries, in addition to promoting space tourism.
The commitment of both countries to promote space tourism from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan was part of a bilateral plan of action the two presidents signed for the years 2019-2021.
The Russian leader, who arrived in the Central Asian country to attend the regional cooperation forum between Russia and Kazakhstan, agreed with his Kazakh counterpart on the need to give a boost to the development of tourism.
Putin proposed to create new tourist routes between the two countries that would popularize “the historical-cultural values, traditions and customs” of the peoples of Russia and Kazakhstan.
“Nowhere else in the world can you find as much landscape diversity as in Russia and Kazakhstan,” Putin said.
Putin highlighted “the good development” of relations between both countries that he said still had great growth potential.
He recalled that Kazakhstan ranks first among the country’s trading partners in the post-Soviet territory behind Belarus, but “has all the possibilities” to move to the top spot.
Nazarbayev, meanwhile, said that during the first eight months of the year trade with Russia had exceeded $11 billion and was positioned to reach $18 billion by the end of the year.
However, he acknowledged that tourism for now only accounts for 1.0 percent of the national GDP and noted that the promotion of cooperation with Russia would be “very advantageous” for Kazakhstan to stimulate foreign trade.