Kazakhstan and the European Union (EU) are working on making it easier for Kazakh citizens to visit EU countries. Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Alibek Bakayev and EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan Kestutis Jankauskas met on Saturday to discuss this.
They aim to simplify the visa process by reducing fees, extending visa periods, and making the application process faster. This follows Kazakhstan's earlier move to allow EU citizens to visit without a visa.
Kazakhstan Advances Visa Talks with the European Union
Kazakhstan is taking significant steps to ease travel to the European Union for its citizens. In a recent meeting held on Saturday, Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Alibek Bakayev and the EU Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Kestutis Jankauskas, engaged in the second round of talks focusing on simplifying the visa application process for Kazakh travelers.
Caspian News reported that these talks aim to make getting a European visa easier and quicker. Key improvements being considered include lowering the cost of visa applications, allowing visas to last longer, speeding up the application process, and agreeing on a common set of required documents. This move is expected to strengthen the friendly ties between Kazakhstan and the EU, especially in travel.
In 2017, Kazakhstan made it easier for EU citizens to visit by introducing a visa-free regime, which was paused due to the pandemic but resumed in 2022. The move was part of Kazakhstan's effort to boost business ties, tourism, and cultural exchanges with the EU.
The discussions between Kazakhstan and the EU are built on the foundation of the enhanced partnership and cooperation agreement activated in 2020. This agreement highlights the mutual interest in fostering easier travel and people-to-people contacts.
Currently, Kazakhstan has visa-free travel agreements with nearly 20 countries and offers unilateral visa-free entry to citizens of 54 countries for short stays. These policies are part of Kazakhstan's broader strategy to diversify its economy beyond its rich natural resources and to develop sectors like tourism and international business.
Kazakhstan Welcomes Chinese Tourists with Open Arms
In recent news, Kazakhstan has started seeing more tourists from China, thanks to easier travel rules. This change is similar to what happened in Vietnam, where the lifting of travel restrictions led to more visitors and money from tourism.
Back in March 2023, China ended some of its travel limits due to the pandemic. This was great news for Vietnam, which used to have 5.8 million Chinese tourists in 2019, bringing in over $5 billion. Despite their past conflicts, both China and Vietnam agreed to work together for a better future and economic gains.
Kazakhstan is now following a similar path. As reported by The Times of Central Asia, since November 2023, people from China can travel to Kazakhstan without needing a visa. This is a big deal because China is the world's second largest economy and its people are looking for new places to visit. Kazakhstan has many beautiful spots that could attract these tourists.
To make the most of this chance, Kazakhstan might need to train more people to work in tourism, especially those who can cater to Chinese visitors. The number of Chinese tourists in Kazakhstan has been going up since last year. By November 2023, about 85,000 Chinese tourists had visited, spending an average of $100 each day.
Reports say that Chinese tourists are now more interested in visiting places that are part of the Belt and Road Initiative, and Kazakhstan is one of these countries. The easy travel, close distance, lovely sights, affordable costs, and available flights make Kazakhstan an appealing choice for them. Travel companies in China are even starting to offer tours that include Kazakhstan.
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