Tourism Publication Date 11-10-2020

Tikenov Erkin Amangeldinovich

Director of "Inside Travel" LLP

Yerkin Amangeldinovich, how would you assess the current development of the tourism sector in Kazakhstan? What key events over the past 5 years, in your opinion, have had the greatest impact on the development of the industry?

The current period of uncertainty is very ambiguous in terms of development prospects. Let's hope for development only forward and that the bottom of the crisis has been passed. Hopefully, the current calm is a period when the market lurked before a new leap in development.

From the events over the past 5 years, significant were the growth of awareness about Kazakhstan and the liberalization of the visa regime during the Expo 2017 exhibition, the intention to open the sky, investments in road infrastructure under the Nurly Zhol program and the plans of Nurly Zhol-2. All these are indirect factors, but they have an impact on the competitiveness of tourism.

What do you think, under the influence of what trends is the development of the tourism sector in the world today? What trends will have the greatest impact on the development of the industry in Kazakhstan in the next 10-15 years?

Considering trends, it is worth dividing them into global long-term and regional mid-term.

Of the international tourism trends in recent years and for the next decade, the demand is for sustainable development, environmental friendliness and preservation of natural systems and communities, their authenticity.

The share of online distribution is growing in the structure of sales channels, as is the need of customers for cashless payments in all segments of travel services. Online distribution standards have already come to Kazakhstan, but are not yet popular everywhere. The trend towards automation is only gaining ground in the world and is actively entering the Central Asian market.

The largest players in transport and hospitality have been actively investing in Big Data collection and analysis systems for a long time. Smaller companies have yet to discover the world of data, but they will be faster at testing hypotheses and gaining a competitive edge.

Of the conditionally temporary trends, these are the closure of borders, a focus on domestic tourism and requests for social distancing, which in itself severely breaks business models, tourism products and promotion channels.

What technologies, in your opinion, will have the greatest impact on the development of the industry in the near future?

Tools to improve the efficiency of marketing, sales and the quality of a company's product or service will gain popularity, namely automation in the form of messenger bots, content creation tools and sales motivation using AR / VR.

The long-term trend is the dominance of travel service platforms, namely online travel agencies, social networks, geoservices and search engines, which are increasingly occupying significant shares in the travel business.

Technological progress will be most pronounced in those tourism verticals where services are more standardized and there are many large players.

And the globalization of the tourist business has already significantly changed the nature of the business - it is air transportation and hotel distribution, network locations, dynamic package tours with large operators.

Erkin Amangeldinovich, how do you see the tourism industry in Kazakhstan in 10-15 years?

It is difficult to predict what the tourism industry of Kazakhstan will be like in 10-15 years, despite the bright plans 10 years ago. Therefore, it is better to stick to a conservative forecast.

The share of tourism in the economy will not be significant, but the volume of services will multiply due to domestic consumption, provided that incomes of the population grow and the habits of traveling around the country and abroad are strengthened.

The variety of services will not change dramatically, the number of suppliers will grow, competition and quality will increase. Technologically, it is possible that the lag behind developed markets will remain if support measures are not taken to increase the competitiveness of the industry.

In your opinion, the absence of which specialists is the most restrictive for the development of your company and the industry as a whole? What is the reason for the absence of these specialists?

The personnel issue is very acute. The lack of a sufficient number of highly qualified specialists hinders the development of companies and the industry as a whole. The staff shortage is associated with low wages due to low margins and small guest flows.

In general, companies may lack product specialists, marketers, content specialists, technicians and developers who understand the specifics of the industry.

What new professions, in your opinion, may appear in the tourism sector in the next 10-15 years, which will lose their relevance or transform? What employee competencies will be most in demand?

New professions for tourism can be architects of new experiences, Data analysts, marketers, and narrow developers.

Answering the question which specialties will lose their relevance or transform in the future, it should be noted that as long as the labor of people is assessed cheaper than robots, robots will not come.

As soon as machines and technologies become cheaper, it will become economically impractical to attract personnel that can be replaced by robots. Then the massive transformation of competencies will begin.