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International Partnerships

Boosting local communities through tourism in Kyrgyzstan

At Kyrgyz Tourism they are always ready to tailor programmes based on their guests’ interests. Aisha says that recently she made a special itinerary to share the local traditional food and dairy product culture with a visitor who came by the company’s office asking questions about horse milk. It turned out she is a well-known food writer from Scotland, and she wrote an article for the Financial Times, published in March 2022: ‘In Kyrgyzstan, a taste of the purest milk imaginable’.

The number of tourists using Kyrgyz Tourism has been slowly increasing during 2022. The company aims to reach around to 500-1000 people by the end of the year. Aisha and Mirzabek’s target for 2023 is 1500 visitors, therefore they are thinking about scaling up in terms of staff and office space.

Developing skills in tour guiding

Paving the way for more women in tourism

Even though gender equality in the Kyrgyz business environment has taken steps forward, many challenges remain. Tourism is a traditionally male-dominated sector in Kyrgyzstan. Before launching her career as an entrepreneur, Aisha had been promoting women’s entrepreneurship in Kyrgyzstan. She wanted to show that women can also work in tourism, and she provided support for women interested in the field.

We know the places and the people and can act like a bridge to help visitors experience sincere hospitality in our Kyrgyz communities.

Aisha Mambetalieva

COVID-19 changed the work

Aisha tells that after COVID-19 pandemic she has observed a change in tourists’ plans and wishes. They are looking for immersive experiences and want to experience emotions. People are also ready to make quick decisions regarding their travel plans. They do not want to wait and plan activities taking place only sometime in the future.

Community oriented and always on the move

In Kyrgyzstan, I feel that freedom is in our blood. We come from tribes of nomads, always on the move. And this gives us an independent spirit.

Aisha Mambetalieva

About the project

Aisha Mambetalieva took part in the Silk Road Heritage Guide Training organised by the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) in Central Asia in 2020-21. The training was part of the Silk Road Heritage Corridors programme implemented by UNESCO in the region and funded by the European Union. Aisha is based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where she co-manages the tour company Kyrgyz Tourism, founded with her business partner in 2017.