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BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan has been ranked among the top five travel destinations for 2018 by the British Backpacker Society. Pakistan, which ranks first, was described as “one of the friendliest countries on earth, with mountain scenery that is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination”. The five top list also includes Russia, India and Turkey.

The British Backpacker Society inspires people to travel to rarely visited destinations in the developing world and is followed by thousands of people online.

World Nomad Games

The Third World Nomad Games (WNG) in Kyrgyzstan, scheduled for September 2018, will be innovative not only in their concept, but their image has also been updated, adding more colors and symbolism, the WNG Secretariat said this week.

The First WNG were held in September 2014 and the Second WNG in September 2016.

The WNG renewed concept is aimed at revealing the culture of various nomadic peoples around the world. The Third World Nomad Games will be not only an international competition, but also a platform for cultural disclosure of all nomadic peoples of the world. Each color and each symbol in the updated logo has a semantic idea for representatives of nomadic peoples.

Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sapar Isakov officially launched the preparations for the Third World Nomad Games in December 2017. More than two thousand athletes, artists and scientists will gather at the Games. An ethnic and cultural town will be opened on the shore of Lake Issyk-Kul in the picturesque Karchyn Gorge and an international scientific conference will be held there to discuss the role of the nomadic civilization in the human development.

"The Nomadic culture and civilization are among the oldest in the world and are gaining popularity among the younger generation every year," Isakov said, adding that the preservation of the spiritual values and life of nomads is among the main tasks of the future WNG.

"We want to show the world nomadic culture and civilization, to reveal a nomad as an enlightened and educated person, a person of will and deed, thinker and philosopher," Isakov said.

The 3rd WNG will have three directions — science, culture and sports. An ethnic festival will include a fashion show, contests of dancers and masters of painting and a crafts fair.

The most attention will be paid to sports tournaments including horse races, archery, hunting with falcons and golden eagles. Modern sports will also be presented.

Over three billion soms were spent for the Second WNG held in September 2016, and a third of that amount went for the construction of a new racecourse in Cholpon-Ata that meets all modern requirements. Next to this facility, the Russian Gazprom built a sports and health complex for 700 seats.

The Government plans to allocate 302 million soms for the forthcoming Games because all the necessary facilities have already been built. Kumtor Gold Company will act as the general sponsor of the Third WNG.

IFMGA membership

Kyrgyzstan was unanimously accepted as a member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) at its General Assembly held in Kathmandu late in December. Kyrgyzstan became the 25th IFMGA member state and the first country in the post-Soviet space and in Central Asia which have received such a high rating.

The IFMGA is an international association of mountain guide associations from all over the world. They represent all mountain guides of their country, which are qualified according to the IFMGA guidelines. The IFMGA, founded in 1965 by guides from Austria, France, Switzerland and Italy, is currently a body of mountain guide associations from countries in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Oceania, representing a total of almost 6,000 guides.

The association aims to regulate the mountain guide profession on a global scale and represents the interests of the mountain guiding profession to government agencies.

IFMGA membership is an indicator of the quality of service and safety in adventure tourism in Kyrgyzstan, head of the Association of Mountain Guides of Kyrgyzstan Vladimir Komissarov said. Kyrgyzstan’s mountain guides, the Association members, after strict selection and training, have now the right to work all over the world, he added.

In took almost ten years to obtain IFMGA membership with the financial support of the Swiss government and technical support from the Swiss and British mountain guide associations, Komissarov said.

Half of tourists arrive in Kyrgyzstan from Kazakhstan and Russia, the rest are from distant foreign countries. When planning a trip, Western tourists are necessarily interested in the qualifications of mountain guides. Learning that there were no international guides in the country, foreigners brought IFMGA guides with them. This was a loss of both money and prestige for local travel agencies.

The country now has its own licensed international mountain guides, and the flow of extreme tourists will increase in the country, which will serve the development of the entire tourist business, the Association of Mountain Guides believes.

Adventure tourism is very popular among foreign tourists in Kyrgyzstan. The number of climbers, mountain skiers, and freeriders coming to the country increases every year.

Kyrgyzstan has used not more than 20 percent of its adventure tourism potential, so there are great prospects for its development, experts say. The increased flow of extreme tourists will help develop the tourist business involving hotels, cafes, drivers, and souvenir producers.

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