Sustainable tourism in Kyrgyzstan – interview with Imanaly Turkbaev

Sustainable tourism in Kyrgyzstan - interview with Imanaly Turkbaev

How sustainable tourism develops in the Alay region in Kyrgyzstan and why “By Alay” project was such a success

This article is part of the “Sustainable tourism insights” interview series with speakers and participants of the Green Destinations Conference in Athens, Greece held in September 2022.

Imanaly Turkbaev is the Programme Manager at Helvetas Kyrgyzstan and represented Alay region at the Green Destinations conference. Anula Galewska, Travindy’s Managing Director, asked Imanaly to share the key objectives of the “By Alay” project.

Alay region in the south of Kyrgyzstan is the first destination from Central Asia awarded and ranked as TOP-100 Stories by Green Destinations. According to Imanaly, Alay is a rural mountainous area offering adventure travel activities like trekking and horse riding, as well as interesting cultural offer for travellers interested in experiencing authentic local traditions, cuisine and handicrafts. 

The “By Alay” project aimed at empowering local communities and reducing poverty through tourism and handicrafts. It has provided women artisans an opportunity to improve their skills, turn their hobby into a source of income and help them sell their produce through a number of channels. For instance, thanks to the project a collaboration with a German company was established. First batch of traditional handicraft products has already been shipped to Germany and successfully sold there. 

Handicrafts also have become part of the tourism offer, which helped increase avergae customer spending. 

All the initiatives led to a significant reduction of poverty rate, which is a great success of the project.

Imanaly believes this project has a great potential to scale and improve the standards of living of more traditional artisans within Alay district but also in other regions of Kyrgyzstan.

Watch the interview with Imanaly Turkbaev:

Watch the presentation of the By Alay Project:

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