EXPERT OPINION Investment attraction and travel industry in Kazakhstan at EXPO-2017 period Oxana Serebrennikova, General director, BCD Travel - International Travel plus In your opinion, what impact has the EXPO in Kazakhstan had on event tourism in our country? I am very optimistic about the development of tourism in Kazakhstan, including event tourism. Amounts of public and private investments in infrastructure are very impressive: new hotels of well- known global networks, restaurants, conference platforms, and sports facilities are being opened. In Astana, a new airport terminal has been built, and it will significantly improve the passenger service quality and enable to welcome many more guests. In addition, several airlines will enter the Kazakhstan market in the coming days. During EXPO in Astana, an extensive cultural program is planned with participation of Kazakhstan and foreign artists, including world stars. I do hope that it will be a good start for developing event tourism in Kazakhstan. How much can the inflow of inbound tourism increase in our country due to the EXPO? Will it attract visitors on a long-term basis, as a consequence after this event? We expect a fairly large number of guests to the exhibition. First of all, these would-be business tourists are coming to participate in official visits to the EXPO. This tourist segment is very active in terms of movement and communications. So I expect that our guests will appreciate the opportunities of Kazakhstan as a direction for business meetings and events, and that they will share their impressions. The geographical position of Kazakhstan is perfect for creating an international hub connecting different parts of our 52 world monitor huge continent, because we are right in the middle of Eurasia. In the world tourism industry, Kazakhstan is a very new, unexplored direction for tourist trips. To accomplish this, the country combines the important values of safety and comfort for business travelers, a decent infrastructure and wonderful natural and cultural openings for new impressions. Our company works actively to welcome in Kazakhstan, organizing business and incentive events for interna tional corporations. When we started I was very worried about how our guests would perceive the country as a direction. I was born in Kazakhstan, I live here, and it’s very difficult for me to be objective about my homeland. Of course, we make a real point of showing the best sides of our country. And today I can say with confidence that our guests’ satisfaction is very high. First of all, people note the incredible nature; in Kazakhstan you can see the boundless steppes, which are especially beautiful in the spring when poppies and tulips blooming. In summer, you can come from the hot city to the glaciers and playing with snowballs. During one day you can see the crystal clear mountain lakes, rivers, canyons, pine forests, and sand dunes. Kazakhstan is also tasty. As Kazakhstan is a multinational country with a wide range of different cuisines – Asian, Caucasian, European, etc. And we are proud of the quality and variety of meat dishes, first of all. We gladly organize gastronomic events for our guests, with master classes in cooking national dishes and barbeque. It should be noted that in Kazakhstan, high-class wine is produced from grapes growing in mountain valleys.