First hot summer days, in fact, have opened the tourist season in Kyrgyzstan. We look forward to it for the whole year, but every time something prevents us to take tourists at the proper level. Annually foreigners criticize that at the same money they could have rest in Turkey with greater comfort. We listen, but don't do anything. Rather, we do everything that a tourist avoid Kyrgyzstan like the plague.
This year's season was opened personally by the Prime Minister Temir Sariev. Once again, the Prime Minister was saying about how to take care of the tourists. Say, you need to treat the guests tenderly and gently. Otherwise there is a risk to be back to square one with all the natural wealth.
"For the development of tourism it is necessary to provide the conditions, quality of service and, of course, the rule of law. One shouldn't forget its culture and traditions, in particular hospitality. It is necessary to meet tourists with a smile and to create the conditions, the service in order he rested and promoted Issyk-Kul among friends," Temir Sariev said.
But that's just fine words, but in fact the government signed a decree, according to which foreigners have to pay an environmental toll on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic on their own car. Amazing for the comfort of tourists and increase of their numbers!
"The amount of environmental collection on the border of Kyrgyzstan can be increased, but the country won't have more money. Tourists from Kazakhstan reach the border, make change to a taxi on the territory of Kyrgyzstan and travels further on the Issyk-Kul. In this case, he doesn't pay the environmental charge. And our buses pollute the environment, aren't they? It's like lobbying our transportation structures in order to cut off Kazakhstan. What will it result in?" the president of the Association of Tourism of "Silk Road" Vladimir Komissarov wondered at a press conference in 24.kg news agency.
According to decision of the government of Kyrgyzstan dated May 12, 2015, at the entrance to the country customs service collects environmental fee from all cars with foreign license plates: 1,000 som from motor cars, 2,500 soms - from vans. In May 2014, the Kyrgyz President signed the law, under which the drivers of foreign cars at crossings the border of the republic must pay the environmental tax.
Earlier the environmental tax was levied only at the entrance to Issyk-Kul province. This caused a lot of complaints from tourists who had to pay a fee more than once. When checking it was found out that a significant amount went into the pockets of officials. As a result, the post was removed, but moved to external border. The authorities expect to capitalize $20 million on this.
Tour operators remind that Kazakh tourists, as a rule, tend to rest in expensive boarding houses. There environmental component is included in the cost of vouchers (treatment plants, cleaning of beaches, sanitary and environmental regulations, compliance with which is required in the country), and it is unclear why they should pay for everything twice. The amount of collection remains obscure for tour operators.
"We are entering the EEU, which implies free movement of people and capital. Transportation issues are resolved by technical regulations, and environmental charges do not improve the environment of Kyrgyzstan. It is unknown where they get and how records are maintained. They only cause negative reaction of businessmen and tourists from Kazakhstan, who are already prepared to contribute a lot of money to our treasury. At this time, charges have become an economic barrier for cooperation between the two countries," aid the president of the Association of Markets, Trade Enterprises and Service Industries of KR Sergey Ponomarev assures.
Businessmen and MPs agree with the opinion. They demanded the government to cancel the decision on introduction of tolls for foreign cars. But while the Cabinet of Ministers remains silent.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan is preparing a response. The Kazakh Government is developing a similar bill for charging of environmental fee from our cars. So, imagine, what would happen if tour operators of Kazakhstan will achieve the response. How will the mechanism for implementation of these regulations on the border between the two friendly countries operate? Nothing good will come from this. As a minimum, long lines on both sides. Well, the maximum - another failure of the tourist season in Kyrgyzstan.