Winter Tourism Kyrgyzstan (WTK) is a Swiss Government funded project aiming at developing sustainable, competitive tourism products and services, and at a more favourable business environment and formalized coordination mechanisms to enhance competitiveness and enable better access to the winter tourism value chain. The WTK project is implemented by Helvetas Kyrgyzstan with and via a number of partners.
Project Phase2019 to 2021
FundingThis project is funded by the Government of Switzerland through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
Thematic focusSustainable and Inclusive Economies
Making more of the potential
The overall objective of the project is to develop a sustainable and competitive winter tourism value chain in Kyrgyzstan. For the economy to benefit in line with the global average of 10% of national income and jobs stemming from tourism, the sector needs to offer more and higher value-added services, year-round.
Moving up the ranks
The World Travel and Tourism Council ranked Kyrgyzstan 117th among 185 countries worldwide in terms of tourism’s total contribution to GDP in 2016; at the same time, it forecast that over the decade ahead, Kyrgyzstan should be able to record significant growth. Weaknesses in the enabling framework, insufficient coordination amongst stakeholders, low service and product quality, and limited targeted marketing have been identified as key constraints in Kyrgyzstan’s tourism sector.
- Winter Tourism needs to be managed as part of a year-round tourism approach and strategy;
- Based on a much more diversified understanding of the tourism market;
- Coordination between different donors and projects should be improved;
- The project will build on an in-depth political economy analysis and will not rush into the establishment of new organizational structures.
Better services, higher income
In the Pilot Phase the project is focusing on two areas – Karakol (from Barskoon to Jyrgalan) and Bishkek South (from Ala Archa to Issyk Ata) which are currently the best-known areas for winter tourism in Kyrgyzstan, in particular for visitors from neighbouring countries.
The pilot phase of the project is structured around two main priorities:
The first is developing sustainable, competitive tourism products and services; i.e. micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are enabled to provide quality services;
The second aims at a more favourable business environment and formalized coordination mechanisms to enhance competitiveness and enable better access to the winter tourism value chain.
Everything the Project does will be done with and via partners. While Swiss expertise clearly plays a vital role, we will make sure that every intervention is done through Kyrgyz partners, whose capacity we build accordingly.
- Winter Sports Project Kyrgyzstan
- WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF (https://www.slf.ch/en/index.html)
- Swiss Air Rescue Services (REGA)
- Hotelleriesuisse Swiss Hotel Association
- HSLU Institute of Tourism Management
- Accelerate Prosperity
- International Finance Corporation
- Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism
- Kyrgyz Mountain Guide Association
- Community Based Tourism Association
- Kyrgyz Association of Tour Operators
- Trekking Union of Kyrgyzstan
- Karakol Destination Management Organization
- HoReCa Club
- Kyrgyz Tourism State Enterprise
- Mountain Society Research Institute (UCA)
- Kyrgyz Hydromet
- Ecotrek Public Association
Sustainability is at the heart of the Project: we would be doing current and future generations a disservice if we focused on maximizing growth at all costs. In helping the tourism industry grow, we will always make sure it augments rather than depletes its two greatest assets: Kyrgyzstan’s stunning natural beauty, and the warmth of its people’s genuine hospitality.
Kyrgyzstan has the potential to achieve robust growth in the tourism sector over the coming decade. As always, this great potential comes with risks and responsibilities; our team will advise our counterparts on how best to avoid mistakes made elsewhere, and how to access and apply proven best practice.