Overview The Stans - “stans” means land Formerly known as Soviet Central Asia Part of the USSR – except Afghanistan Population Largely Muslim with minority Russian population (inattempts to Russify the region) Geography High mountainous region Lower flat plains
History Historical ties to the Arab and Ottoman empires Islamic Genghis Khan - unified the area in 1200’s Trading corridor Silk Road Many buildings from the era still standing and areattractions European influence Russian colonization 1400 – 1900 – brought languageand cultural traditions USSR - 1917 - 1991 CIS - Commonwealth of Independent States
1990’s – today – AfterIndependence Economic and political instability afterindependence Politically sensitive areas - Civil Wars, terroristcells Ethnic tensions with ethnic Russians Poorly developed infrastructure Kyrgyzstan is presently the most stable
Tourism Today Moscow to Beijing Railway Cultural Tourism Religious sites Traditional cultures Adventure Tourism – rock climbing,mountaineering, river sports Winter Tourism Skiing, trekking Silk Road Tourism
Tourism Today Problems for development Not much potential for mass tourism – perhaps nichetourism though? Corruption, bribes standard, totalitarian governments Transportation issues Getting there – no direct flights to the region for themost part Getting around - poor road conditions, links to otherdestinations, some of the most dangerous roads inthe world Image issues - case of Kazakhstan (see textbookhighlight on the movie Borat) and negative reportsfrom tourists Visa and entry issues
Tourism Today Problems for development Lack of modern accommodations Entrance fees higher for tourists Language Barriers Relatively few speakers of other languages Languages spoken are difficult not widely taught(Persian related though for some countries) Lack of qualified tourism service providers Source markets for tourism VFR - so spend less money overall From former Soviet Republics Difficult to compete with most other destinations outsidethe region
Case Study - Afghanistan Well developed tourism in the 1960’s and 1970’s 90,000 tourists each year Many cultural attractions, Buddhist cultural sites, ancientcities, mountain trekking Hippie Trail - came to an end 1978/79 with IslamicRevolution in Iran and Russian Invasion of Afghanistan 1978 - Communist Party take over Results in 10 year war with USSR “Never get involved in a land war in Asia” Afghanistan in disarray after USSR withdrawal Paved way for current instability
Afghanistan Today Expanding investment in tourism New Ministry of Tourism - to promote tourism Current poor relations with US as a result of allegedharboring of Bin Laden
Afghanistan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WInEoDRavgI&feature=related Afghanistan: an unlikely tourist destination
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