Golden Altai – wealth for local development

Type: Ecological tourism development

Participating countries: Kazakhstan, Slovakia

Duration: March 2014 – July 2017

Total budget: 390,000 EUR (of which 90 % from an EU grant)

Aim: to initiate and to advance the process of establishing tourist services by local residents and participating partner organizations

Description: This project has helped to improve the development of nature-based rural tourism in East Kazakhstan near two protected areas in the beautiful Kazakh part of the Altai Mountains promoting it as a top visitor destination in the country. The project built capacities of three local NGOs, protected areas staff, authorities and active local residents through training, expert consultations and study-tours organized in National Park Gesäuse in Austria, Wallachian Open-air Museum in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm and Sumava National Park in the Czech Republic. The project has supported sensitive development of information and accommodation facilities and contributed to levelling off disparities in regional development, improving the social environment and rural livelihoods. A balanced mix of tourist attractions, promotional materials, events will be further used to facilitate full provision of necessary information for travelling to and within the Kazakh part of Altai and to guarantee better appreciation of this unique heritage by visitors and guests. One of the key elements of the project was increasing public and stakeholders awareness about the value of ecosystem services for human well-being and particularly for eco-tourism development.

Main results:

– 30 diverse training sessions for 300 + local residents (tourist services, marketing and promotion) organised;
– Tourist infrastructure created: 10 guest houses, 2 info-centres, 3 tourist trails equipped with information, navigation and camping facilities, 2 information centres, 20+ info-boards and road signs, open-air art installations “Nomad” (Museum-reserve Berel) and Forest Dreams (Katon-Karagai National Park);
– 14 customized tours (Dzailau, horse riding, cycling) developed with first 300+ tourists attending;
– 3 folklore festivals in remote rural areas organized (at least 1,500 visitors) with support of the project, and 2 festivals — by trained local teams with financial support of local authorities and business;
– Marketing and promotion campaigne organised: 15 booklets, 2 info-tours took place for 30 tour-operators and journalists, website;
– 6 study-tours to EU and Russia arranged for 27 participating people;
– 5 regional conferences on ecotourism development organized (300+ participants);
– 2 craft centers for local masters supported;
– 100 + people in rural areas increased incomes thanks project, among them craftsmen, guest houses owners, beekeepers, farmers, tourism entrepreneurs;
– 80+ people took part in social tours (families with children with impairments and orphans);
– 1 international volunteer camp organised;
– System of marketing and promotion of local products by partners of Katon Karagay National Park and Western Altai State Nature Reserve introduced;
– 3 project newsletters informing local residents and decision-maker published;
– 7 high-quality methodological and informational publications with printrun 7000+ copies

– An initial overview of the ecosystem services (ES) in the Ridder district was made with active involvement of local residents and stakeholders. The main ES of the Kazakhstan Altai were characterized: climate-regulating ES for storing carbon, ES for water regulation and erosion prevention (which is especially important in mountainous areas), wood and non-wood (mushrooms and berries) production, fodder production on natural pastures and hayfields, natural honey meadows for honey collection by domestic bees, conservation of genetic resources of medicinal plants.


Funding source: KAZLOD Programme (EuropeAid) funded by the European Commission
Role of Machaon: Project development and management
Partners: NGOs EcoAltai, TEC and Boomerang (Kazakhstan), NGO Sosna (Slovakia), National Park Gesäuse (Austria), MAS Strážnicko (Czech Republic)
Location: Ridder and Katon-Karagay districts of East Kazakhstan region
Protected areas involved: Western Altai Strict Nature Reserve and Katon-Karagay National Park