Olzhas Shintayev is the new head of Tourism Department in Shymkent. We had luck to talk with him about Shymkent’s Tourism and the next goals.
Info Shymkent: Hello, Mr. Shintayev. How are you? We sincerely congratulate you on your new position.
Mr. Shintayev: I greet you, thank you. It is a great honor for me to hold such a position in the third metropolis of Kazakhstan.
Info Shymkent: Can you tell us a little about your daily work? How many people work in your department?
Mr. Shintayev: Our tourism department provides leadership in the field of tourism in the city of Shymkent. Three departments are involved in daily work. The administrative department regulates the functioning of a single system for organizing paperwork, the infrastructure development department is engaged in comprehensive measures to create a modern, highly efficient and competitive tourist complex in the city, the marketing and tourist product formation department is responsible for the formation, promotion and positive development of the tourist image (leading tourist image) cities.
Info Shymkent: How many tourists come to Shymkent every year? Where do more tourists come from?
Mr. Shintayev: About 250 thousand tourists visit Shymkent annually. Due to its location, the main flow of tourists comes from the CIS countries. There are various types of quality for guests arriving in the city.
Info Shymkent: How many archaeological and sacred sites are registered around Shymkent?
Mr. Shintayev: The honorable age of the city already indicates that the historical heritage of the city is great. In total, the city has 11 archaeological and sacred sites. They are represented by sacred objects, such as the mausoleums of the parents of Khoja Ahmad Yasawi – Ibrahim Ata and Karashash Ana. The city is also rich in a variety of cultural and entertainment facilities. The city has 105 hotels, 10 parks, 7 museums, 25 socio-cultural sites, 5 theaters, 18 water parks and 6 reservoirs. As for the territory around Shymkent, in the Turkestan region, which has a powerful resource potential for the development of tourism, there are 1,663 historical and cultural monuments, 2 state reserves, 1 national nature park, 44 sanatorium-resort facilities and other objects of tourist attraction.
Info Shymkent: What does Shymkent mean to you?
Mr. Shintayev: First of all, Shymkent is for me a homeland, I was born and grew up here. Shymkent for me is nature and culture, past and future, unchanging and changing, a certain set of people, cultivated habits, customs, holidays, dialect, food, smells, sounds, climate and landscape – all this is a particle of my identity, a source of strength, in eventually.
Info Shymkent: Can you describe Shymkent in three words?
Mr. Shintayev: Many people know that the city attracts with its warm sunny weather, delicious kebabs and pilaf, “southern” hospitality, so, of course, Shymkent is tasty, sunny, sincere!
Info Shymkent: What is your goal for the next few years?
Mr. Shintayev: Tourism for Shymkent should become one of the drivers for the development of our metropolis. In accordance with the Message of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the people of Kazakhstan, a lot of work is being done to develop and popularize ecotourism and ethno-tourism. Shymkent with its ancient history today is capable of a leader in the tourism sector in the region to offer various types of tourism services. Due to its unique location, our city connects Europe with Asia, connects the north with the south. The route “Western Europe – Western China” runs through Shymkent, this opens up opportunities for the development of transit tourism in our metropolis. Therefore, our plans is to turn the city into a major transport hub – road, aviation and rail.
Info Shymkent: What is your personal favorite place in Shymkent?
Mr. Shintayev: It is difficult to designate one place as a favorite. But if you highlight, I can say that this is a monument to Baidibek Bi and Arbat.
People say about us: “It’s like Rio de Janeiro, but its Shymkent!” The majestic figure of the great Kazakh Bi (“wise man”) with outstretched arms is installed on the highest point of the northern part of Shymkent. It is from here that an amazing view of the city opens.
As for the Arbat, this is the atmosphere of the city. The pedestrian street is represented by numerous street musicians, artists and souvenir dealers. Cozy coffee houses hospitably open the doors, inviting you to drink aromatic coffee and enjoy the contemplation of a unique light installation in the form of 12 fluttering angels and minimalistic umbrellas.
Info Shymkent: What places would you recommend for the guests of Shymkent?
Mr. Shintayev: Tourism in Shymkent is represented by historical, cultural, gastronomic, event and extreme types of tourism. In Shymkent, every tourist can find leisure that he will like. First of all, it is recommended to visit the complex of the Old Town. The healing river Koshkar Ata flows on this territory, and the Citadel is being restored, during the excavations of which scientists were able to prove that the city is 2200 years old. There you can stroll through the Independence Park and see the Ordabasy Square. Another important tourist destination of Shymkent is the sacred objects of Sairam. Here are the mausoleums of the parents of Khoja Ahmad Yasawi – Ibrahim Ata and Karashash Ana, from which the pilgrimage route to the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmad Yasawi.
History buffs are invited to visit the city’s museums: the Museum of Local History, the Museum of Victims of Political Repression, the Abay Museum, and even the Retro Car Museum.
In addition, in the Sairam housing estate there is a hill-fortification of Martobe, which is known as the “steppe parliament” and where according to legend, many fateful decisions were made for the Kazakh people, the Khizir minaret, the mausoleums of Abdul Aziz Baba and Mirali Baba.
Fans of outdoor walks are advised to spend time in one of the city parks, for example, Arboretum (Dendropark), Zoo, Central Park, Abay Park, Ken Baba and others, ride the Altyn Eye Ferris wheel in Zhailaukol Park and, of course, take a walk in the evening on Arbat.
Info Shymkent: What is your favorite food? Do you prefer Kazakh or international cuisine?
Mr. Shintayev: Every Kazakh from childhood knows and loves the taste of grandma’s hot baursaks, refreshing ayran in the summer heat , smoking steamed meat on a huge astau. The aroma of steppe herbs reminds us of freshly made homemade sour cream, and even the best factory cottage cheese can not be compared with the taste of an amazing kurt melting in your mouth. And of course, Kazakh food will always remain a priority for me.
Info Shymkent: Does Coronavirus interrupt your work?
Mr. Shintayev: As you know, today the tourism sector is one of the most affected in the world by the Covid-19 outbreak. But despite this, tourism is also the most sustainable industry in the period of any turbulence. The situation with the pandemic, of course, affected the pace of work, we had to slightly adjust the plans that we had to implement this year. Within the framework of the “Cultural Capital of the CIS” year, a number of events were planned that had to be postponed in connection with the introduction of quarantine, but we are working hard to improve the infrastructure, improve the quality of service and promote the city’s tourism online.
Info Shymkent: Thank you very much Mr. Shintayev for this great interview. We wish you good luck and great success in your new working position and all the best for your goals.
We recommend tourists and also people of Shymkent to have a look on the Visit Shymkent channels of the Tourist Department of Shymkent on Facebook and Instagram to stay informed about great events or to plan the next vacation.
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