My name is Ruslan, born in 1982 in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan. Since 2006 I have been working at the Kazakh travel organization Khan Tengri as coordinator of summer tours.
How was your first meeting with Ryce Travel? I met Peter in 2015, when he came to explore the region with his friends. The south of Kazakhstan has many opportunities for winter tourism and I showed them the most beautiful places. Meanwhile I have the feeling that I have known Peter for a long time. We immediately started organizing adventurous ski trips. During the travels I noticed that Peter is a great winter sports specialist.
What did you think of organizing ski trips with Ryce Travel? I really enjoyed this opportunity because ski trips were not really developed in Kazakhstan. The southern mountains are ideal for winter trips, but Europeans are less aware of the possibilities. I was initially under the assumption that Europeans wanted to stay in a luxury chalet so that they could easily access the ski resort. But Peter has shown me that many Europeans want to experience the local culture. So not only the ski resort but all the unique aspects of Kazakhstan. That makes me proud as a resident of Kazakhstan.
What kind of work did you do before joining Ryce Travel? I still work as a coordinator at the travel agency Khan Tengri. We organize trekkings and expeditions in the south of Kazakhstan. We also offer bird watching, fishing and mountain bike tours. Winter is a quiet period for me so the job at Ryce Travel came at the right time.
Why is Kazakhstan unique to travelers? Kazakhstan is very unique due to its natural and geographical location. A large part of the country consists of steppe, but huge mountains rise in the south. You will find deserts, lakes and mountains in Kazakhstan. In addition, there is a contrast between the cities and the countryside. The cities are very modern and European but in the countryside nomads still live in yurts. We try to make both cultures live side by side in Kazakhstan.
What is the state of tourism in Kazakhstan? Tourism in Kazakhstan is still developing. We learn a lot from countries that have been developing tourism for many years. Since the expiry of the visa requirement in 2016, many Western tourists came to Kazakhstan. Nowadays Wizzair also has connections with our country. I think a lot has happened. In 2017, Almaty organized the Winter Olympics for students and the city has already filed a bid twice to host the real winter games. Asphalt roads are being laid to tourist hotspots and the roads from China, Russia and Kyrgyzstan are also getting better. The goal of Kazakhstan is to become a hub between Europe and China.
How can Ryce Travel contribute to the development of tourism? In fact, Ryce Travel has already helped to develop ski tourism. Peter shared his international experience in organizing winter trips. Ryce Travel has also donated equipment and taught me how to freeride. Peter often stays with my family and they benefit by learning English (and football haha)
What is the most memorable moment with Ryce Travel? For me almost every trip with Peter is remarkable and always very interesting. People work hard in the mountains and have fun during the “apreski” ? I like that Peter always comes up with something new for the trips. This year we have added paragliding as an optional activity. We always try to be flexible and offer travelers a unique experience.
What dream do you have for Kazakhstan? I hope that more people get to know Kazakhstan and that more tourists come to visit.