Kazakhstan has strengthened cooperation with China in many areas. More tourists from China have shown interest in visiting Kazakhstan, and more Kazakh students are taking Chinese-language courses as their investment in the future.
CGTN’s Michal Bardavid reports.
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Beijing and Astana have been putting effort into developing cultural ties. One concrete step was taken a decade ago with the opening Confucius cultural centers in four cities across Kazakhstan, mutually sponsored by both nations.
The Confucius center in Astana provides language and culture classes to students of all ages. Over 7,000 people have enrolled there since 2006. Students are also encouraged to attend summer and winter camps in China to develop their skills.
People who do business with China make up about half of the customers. The rest are university students who believe learning Chinese is an investment in their future.
“One of the most important factors students consider is future employment opportunities,” Bibikhadisha Abizhapparova, director of Astana Confucius Institute, said. “Nowadays, there are a lot of Chinese companies operating in Kazakhstan. So knowing the Chinese language creates the possibility of finding a job for them.”
The Chinese people have also shown interest in visiting Kazakhstan. The Kazakh government has invested in the “China Friendly program” which aims to create a comfortable environment for Chinese tourists during their travels.
“The market of Chinese tourists is a priority for us,” Askar Adambekov, deputy director of the Kazakh Convention Bureau said. “And to attract Chinese tourists, we have organized special road shows and tour operators for them in Astana.”
Several hotels in Kazakhstan have also made changes to better welcome Chinese tourists such as including Chinese food in their restaurant menus and hiring personnel who speak Chinese.
As the capital Astana has recently hosted the EXPO 2017 world fair and many international conventions – including several rounds of Syrian peace talks – the city is certainly ready for more international tourists.