EXPO 2017 makes European promotional tour stop in Spain
MADRID. KAZINFORM EXPO 2017 Astana organizers arrived in Madrid on Friday to present Kazakhstan's possibilities as a tourist destination and to give a rundown of the events on offer during the exhibition that kicks off June 10 with the theme "Future Energy."
The presentation in the Spanish capital was part of a months-long European tour to promote the international specialized exhibition to tour operators throughout the continent. "We have traveled extensively in Europe and the great conclusion of our trip is that there is genuine interest in Kazakhstan and EXPO 2017 Astana," Roza Asanbayeva, Director of Promotion and Tourism for the exhibition, told EFE. She said the lack of a tourist infrastructure when Kazakhstan was under Soviet rule actually helped preserve the world's ninth-largest country's environment, making it "a new destination for the European eco-tourist to appreciate." The Kazakh government has made it easier for tourists to arrive and stay for extended periods by relaxing the visa regime for dozens of countries. It has also reached several bilateral and multilateral "open skies" agreements to be in effect during the three months of Expo 2017, and perhaps indefinitely. Organizers expect five million people to visit Expo 2017 between June 10 and September 10. "They will be mostly domestic tourists, about 85 percent, and 15 percent from mainly China, Russia, Iran and Europe," said Kairat Sadvakasov, commercial director of the Kazakh tour operator Skyway. The city of Astana and the exhibition's organizers have scheduled more than 3,000 artistic, cultural and sporting events to take place during the 93 days of Expo 2017. Among the events are 71 performances by the Cirque du Solei especially designed for EXPO 2017 at a price of between 12 and 18 euros per ticket. The Central Asian nation has also recently inaugurated a Kazakh "Orient Express" luxury train that travels the Silk Road in Kazakhstan. The 115 countries and 21 international organizations participating in the Expo have kept the contents of their pavilions a well-guarded secret. "We have heard, however, that Japan plans to spend 26 million dollars on its pavilion for EXPO 2017, so one can imagine the dimensions of the presentation," Sadvakasov said.