Enhancing Sustainable Tourism Practices in Central Asia

Known for its vast mountains and beautiful landscapes, Kyrgyzstan is a major destination in Central Asia for nature-lovers from around the globe. While tourism is a strong economic pillar of the country, it comes with trade-offs such as resource depletion and pollution. Through the EU Switch-Asia project PERETO, we are engaging with Kyrgyz national and local institutions to introduce and enhance sustainable tourism practices that lead to a more resilient future.

In particular, PERETO’s focus is on introducing sustainable consumption and production (SCP) measures to the local tourism sector as well as to local consumers, decision makers and financial institutions. Among the measures introduced are  energy and resource efficiency ones. To achieve this, the project works both on raising awareness among consumers by inspiring and supporting behaviour change, but also by introducing highly efficient and clean technologies to hotels, restaurants and cafes (the HoReCa sector).

In collaboration with local banks, PERETO is supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the sector to invest in green technologies, such as heat pump water heaters and solar panels.

Exploring sustainable tourism best practices through a study tour

To promote partnerships and knowledge exchange between Europe and Kyrgyzstan on sustainable tourism, PERETO recently organised a study tour that brought together Kyrgyz policy- and decision makers to several EU cities such as Brussels, Leuven, Antwerp, The Hague, and Rotterdam.

During the tour, Kyrgyz representatives had the chance to experience first-hand some of the European best practices in energy and resource efficiency (ERE) and sustainable consumption and production (SCP).

The delegation met with experts from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships and the Environment within the framework of the SWITCH-Asia programme and learned about relevant EU sustainability projects.

“This study tour has allowed us to become familiar with the diversity of green solutions that are successfully implemented in various social setting,” said Mrs. Benazir Nurlanova, Chief Expert in the Presidential Administration of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Networking with European stakeholders

Relevant tourism actors were involved in the study tour and knowledge exchange, including the European consumer organization (BEUC), the Association of Hotels, Restaurants, Pubs and Cafes in Europe (HOTREC), and numerous city tourism departments.

Nurzat Abdyrasulova, President of Unison Group, a PERETO project partner, highlighted: “The tour was an important opportunity to establish connections with European organisations and to gain valuable knowledge on sustainable tourism development that will help advance sustainable tourism in Kyrgyzstan.”

As a result of the study tour and within the framework of the PERETO project, the Kyrgyz delegation will facilitate the development of a national roadmap for sustainable tourism. The roadmap will provide guidance to all actors within the tourism sector on how to promote sustainable tourism in the country.

For further questions, please contact Kartika Anggraeni.