Tourism needs land

Tour operators of East Kazakhstan region have asked the government to sell the leased land to private ownership. At the moment, the country has an Institute of long-term lease for 49 years. According to businessmen, this method has a negative impact on obtaining loans. Banks are not interested in distressed real estate, and they want to invest in the tourism industry.

Problems and proposals were discussed online in the branch of NCE "Atameken" of East Kazakhstan. Long-term lease of the land Fund in protected forest areas made it possible to create several ski resorts near Ust-Kamenogorsk. They are popular and most in demand in the spring and winter period. The owners say that they had to face difficulties, for example, in the construction of funicular lifts.

– No development of tourism in East Kazakhstan, and specifically everywhere, is impossible, - said the Director of "Center-S" LLP Alexander Chilikin. - Investors from Turkey and Poland came to my base, offering participation and further development of the Altai Alps resort. But when the issue concerned the lack of ownership of land, the case was stalled. There is a clear position among investors: no ownership of land - no investment.

The painful issue has been repeatedly raised by businessmen at the government level, but many factors have influence.

The Committee of forestry and wildlife of the Ministry of ecology, Geology and natural resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan reported that the Ministry has developed a bill on the acquisition of land by tour operators in private ownership. However, amendments to the legislation have not been made.

Perhaps this is also due to the fact that Kazakhstanis are extremely negative about the sale of land to private ownership. The public fears that not only forest, but also farmland may end up in the hands of foreign companies.

According to the Director of LLP "Center-S" Alexander Chilikin, no one will put the land, even in private ownership, in his pocket and will not take it abroad. Therefore, according to him, it is necessary to solve the issue. Alexander admitted that he recently put cable cars on the land of the forest Fund, but the Bank cannot take them as collateral. From the perspective of the landlord, such land and the property located on it do not represent legal value.

– Once again, our industry is simply not funded. And I simply do not have my own investments for the large – scale development of a mining facility," the entrepreneur complains.

But there is a way out of this situation. Vitaly Chernetsky, President of the regional Association of enterprises of the forest, woodworking and furniture industry of the East Kazakhstan region, proposed to provide the state forest Fund's land to those entrepreneurs who have already built on it, on the basis of a long-term land use agreement. But they will have to plant and grow a forest area on the specified territory. Only after that, the businessman will receive in exchange the necessary land.

- We have 3.5 million hectares of state forest Fund together with specially protected natural territories and 9 million hectares of state land reserve in the East Kazakhstan region. In principle, even near the recreation center "Altai Alps" you can find a state land reserve, which the owner would prepare for transfer to an alternative, - said Vitaly Chernetsky.

The President of Kazakhstan has set a task in the coming years to increase the share of tourism in GDP to 8 %, but the solution of this problem is not possible until the issue of land is resolved.

Author: Dmitry Krukovich
Photo: Yermek Imangazinov