The government in Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan (formerly known as Astana) is hoping to lure more tourists to what is Central Asia’s largest country and economy by building a massive tourist complex in Mangystau — a region in southwestern Kazakhstan, just east of the Caspian Sea.
The ambitious project is expected to be completed by mid-2020 and includes accommodation facilities that can house up to 2,000 guests, a heated swimming pool, a children’s water park, a football (soccer) field, convention center, restaurants, a spa and tennis court, beach club, private villas, golf area and casino, well as recreation areas. Costs for the project have not yet been announced.
Before all of these amenities are built, however, first a hotel that can house up to 600 guests will be constructed by Sembol Inşaat, a Turkish construction company. The facility will cover 16 hectares (nearly 40 acres) and stretch for three kilometers along the coastline of the Caspian Sea.
“Thanks to this project, the region of Mangystau will be given a new look, and I am sure that the complex will be attractive for tourists,” said Sembol Inşaat’s head, Fettah Taminci, according to reports by Inbusiness Kazakhstan.
The construction of the Turkish hotel complex is part of a federal plan launched earlier this year to develop the tourism sector in Kazakhstan. Ten destinations throughout the country are slated for development, including the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea, which includes Mangystau.
The region of Mangystau borders Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and includes various, peculiar landscapes and deserted areas such as the Caspian lowland, plateaus, mountains and ridges, and cavities. Rocks of different colors, such as green, yellow, pink and red sediments, make the region a unique place for adventure and nature seekers. Mangystau is also famous with Boszhira, also known as Kazakhstan’s Arizona, which is the part of the Ustyurt Plateau. The valley is covered with millions neatly carved white stones, including some silicon nuggets used by ancient nomads to make arrows.
However, what is the world’s largest lake, the Caspian Sea, is an even bigger attraction, especially since the five littoral states – which also include Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan – reached a landmark agreement last summer delineating each state’s territorial boundaries.
Fishing in the sea is a popular pastime and an important industry. In the summer months especially, visitors to Mangystau enjoy sunbathing along the shoreline and swimming in the sea’s waters, while windsurfing and parasailing are also available to vacationers.
Meanwhile, the resort complex in Mangystau is just one part of the Kazakhstani government’s development plan.
Thirty-five hotel complexes with 2,450 rooms are slated for construction by 2025. Officials in Mangystau believe this will boost a tourist flow from the European Union, other Caspian region states including Uzbekistan, and the Middle East. By 2023, Mangystau is expected to have welcomed a total of nearly 500,000 guests.
Located in both the Caspian and Central Asia regions, Kazakhstan is the world’s ninth largest country in terms of land mass and consists of various kinds of natural landscapes – from large, sunny steppes, to mountain ranges and lakes. The country received a record influx of tourists in 2018 according to government data, when more than eight million tourists entered. This reflects an increase of more than 10 percent compared to the previous year.