The tourism sector in Kyrgyzstan faces numerous challenges, including the lack of supply chain and logistics facilities, poorly developed infrastructures and low standard services for tourists. That is why Helvetas aims to boost the transformation of Kyrgyzstan towards a green economy by enhancing the sustainability and competitiveness of tourism as a key sector with this project.
Project NameGreentour: Sustainable Tourism in Kyrgyzstan
Project Phase2020 to 2024
FundingThe project is funded by the European Union's SWITCH-Asia program
Thematic focusPrivate Sector Development
Climate & Disaster Resilience
While the term “sustainable tourism” is still not widely known and used in the region, terms such as “nature tourism”, “responsible tourism”, and “green tourism” are increasingly being used, indicating the growing awareness of the need to switch to tourism models that will have less negative impacts on the environment, natural resources and local communities’ livelihoods.
With this project, Helvetas, together with our partners Stichting European Centre for Ecological and Agricultural Tourism – Netherlands (ECEAT), the Kyrgyz Association of Tour Operators (KATO) and the Kyrgyz Community Based Tourism Association Hospitality Kyrgyzstan (KCBTA), responds to the objectives of the Kyrgyz government to advance a more sustainable tourism, involving communities, and diversifying tourism products in order to attract new target groups and clients.
Through an integrated business-led approach, the Greentour project mobilizes and mentors Kyrgyz tour operators and their suppliers to adapt and promote sustainable consumption and production (SCP) practices throughout their supply chains and business processes. This includes using local suppliers, purchasing environmentally friendly products, plastic reduction, conserving natural resources and applying socially responsible ways of interacting with local communities. Furthermore, the capacity of travel associations to provide Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) advisory services will be improved to spread the sustainable tourism practices. For the targeted Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Helvetas fosters the creation of new financial schemes and promotes access to green financing.
To achieve its goal, the project also focuses on triggering market demand for sustainable tourism by marketing Kyrgyzstan as a green destination and by raising consumer awareness on sustainable tourism MSMEs among tourists and international travel agents.
This project will ultimately reward tourism SMEs and supplier MSMEs adapting sustainable practices with a competitive advantage, resulting in increased income and employment opportunities. With KCBTA and KATO as local industry representatives, the project contributes to create an enabling policy environment through sustainable local structures supporting national SCP practices in the tourism sector.
The project is funded by the European Union's SWITCH-Asia program and by donations.
2022 Green Destinations TOP 100 Stories
On September 27, World Tourism Day, the Green Destinations Platform presented the TOP 100 list of "Good Practice Stories" from around the world, showcasing and promoting innovative and effective initiatives and projects by destinations working towards more sustainable development around the world.
Kyrgyzstan was represented at this event by a joint team of two Helvetas-implemented projects - GreenTour and Bai Alai - funded by the European Union and the Swiss government, respectively.
Kyrgyzstan's Alay District was awarded a place in the 2022 Green Destinations Top 100 Stories in recognition of its efforts to promote responsible tourism and its special appeal.