16.06.10 12:50

The Republic of Tourism

Two modern children's summer camps were commissioned on June 1 in Turkmenistan's national tourist zone "Avaza" providing for every condition for full-fledged recreation of children. More than seven hundred children from thirty countries, who arrived in Turkmenistan to participate in the International Festival of Gifted Children, were the first guests of summer camps. From now on, tourists from abroad will be able to leave their children with their peers at a summer camp and choose for themselves any recreation program...

It is known that in the global market the tourism business is on a par with oil, and the tourism industry and travels account for a tenth of the world gross national product. At the same time, almost every day there is some new kind of tourism as new countries and regions join the fight for consumers.

Two years ago, Turkmenistan firmly stated its intention to join this rivalry, promising foreign tourists the highest international standards of recreation in the near future. The seriousness of this intention was confirmed by declaring the Caspian Sea coast the national tourist zone carrying the beautiful name - "Avaza" (after a rare easterly wind "Zhylavaz"), and by allocating huge amount of funds for its development, active attraction of foreign investments, expertise and latest technologies, development of a master plan, launch of the first phase of facilities, and then the grand opening of first luxury hotels.

Given the current trends in global tourism, Turkmenistan faces a major challenge, which is to start fitting in "tomorrow's modernity" and to take its place in the tourist market, which is seeing a surplus of customers even now...

The thing is that every year tourists get more "picky", carefully weighing the "price - quality" ratio. Thanks to the Internet, it will take them a few minutes to weigh all the pros and cons of travel to any resort in the world. If in the current crisis one- or two-week cheap vacation on the beach with "all-inclusive" services is considered the most popular, the situation will change by 2020, when the construction of the Turkmen Avaza is expected to be completed...

The national tourist zone of Turkmenistan today is a kind of "sea town" with its own national coloring, clean beaches, warm sea and hot sun. "Avaza" offers comfortable hotels and children's health and recreation centers, and in the near future there will be built water parks, casinos, sports complexes and other places of entertainment. But we must note that these offers can be found in almost any resort in the world.

That is why "Avaza" was designed not merely as a strip of a coastline with five-star hotels, as well as competitive resort area, offering a complete tourist product cycle. This concept, apart from the infrastructure and high level of services, provides for opportunities for active and educational pastime.

The main tourist potential of any country is its natural, historical and cultural monuments. From this perspective, Balkan province of Turkmenistan, where "Avaza" is located, is a real Klondike. It is for sure that tourists will love sightseeing trips in the foothills of the Greater and Lesser Balkhan with soothing air and fertile land, adorned with mountain gorges, valleys and transparent springs. The western region also has active mud volcanoes such as Geokpatlauk and Kipyaschii hill, numerous extinct volcanoes such as Kyurendag and Aligulu, unique crater lake Pink Porsygel, which covers the mouth of an ancient mud volcano with pink colored water. Tours to unusual thermal springs of Parkhai and Ovezbaba, subthermal spring of Edgeri and beautiful waterfalls of Koshtemirskie will undoubtedly be in demand.

Tourists will get unforgettable experience by visiting the Khazar State Reserve, home to hundreds of thousands of gazelles and the Caspian seal, ground squirrels, jerboa, eared hedgehogs, jungle cats and dunes. The birds alone account for nearly three hundred species, including flamingos and white pelicans. These safari tours can be arranged to see the animal world of Balkan province, where you can see rare mountain goats and sheep, foxes, and cheetahs, the "crocodile of the desert" - gray and venomous lizard listed in the "Red Book" as well as snakes such as sandy carpet viper and Central Asian cobra.

There are also the remains of the ancient city of Mestoriana, known in the Middle Ages as Dahistan, near "Avaza". The urban-type settlement existed there already in the first centuries BC. It flourished in the XI-XII centuries, and the town died after the Mongol invasion in the XV century. The original grandeur of Mestoriana is evidenced by the numerous ruins of various buildings: the remnants of adobe walls and towers, a high portal of a mosque, the remnants of two minarets rising up to twenty meters, the ruins of a caravanserai and a mausoleum. In some places there can be seen intersecting streets with traces of buildings and depressions of large pools can be noticed in many places.

Not far from this city, in the ancient cemetery of Mashad, tourists can visit the mausoleum Shirkebir dating back to X century. Its interiors preserved fragments of magnificent ornamental processing and even its coloring - blue, red and green colors.

In Western Turkmenistan, at the foot of the Kopetdag, there is also an ancient settlement of Paraw, where life ended in the XIII century, to which the remains of the mausoleums Paraw-ata and Paraw-Bibi also date back. The latter, which is located on the hillside and practically cut into the rock, is associated with a local legend about a proud wealthy woman who did not want to surrender to the enemy in difficult war days and went into the mountains and immured herself in one of the ancient mausoleum niches...

Tours can be also organized to the mausoleum of Makhtum in the valley of Sumbar, and the mausoleum of Zeng-baba in Baharly area, and the mausoleum of Sheikh Ovezbedy in Mahtumkuli (formerly Kara-Kala) area.

By the way, this region is a home place of the great poet and thinker, Makhtumkuli Fragi, who was born there almost three centuries ago. His name can become a "national brand" similar to, for example, Anton Chekhov in the Russian town of Taganrog. Interestingly, thanks to the development of this direction the famous Russian writer is the only source of income from tourism for the whole Rostov region ...

Here, in Balkan province, people breed Yomud horses, who are famous for their stamina, which can become the basis for the unique, having no analogues in the world, riding tours both on the back of Yomud and Akhalteke horses.

If you go back to the preferences of mass tourists, they become more pragmatic every year, trying to get not only new experiences but also salutary effect from their vacation. In this context, we should mention the world famous balneotherapeutic resort Mollakara, which operates year-round and cures people for various diseases with mud baths and other procedures. There are only three resorts in the world similar to local mud and water, including the Dead Sea. Today, the resort is undergoing a rebirth. Turkmenistan has invested more than half a million euros in its reconstruction and construction of new buildings, as well as purchase of medical equipment. The proximity of Mollakara gives new dimension to "Avaza" as a promising resort...

Another area where the demand will only grow is environmental or rural tourism. It is known that with the support of the UN many countries are implementing projects, when tourists tired of city life rent houses or rooms in the villages. They live there for weeks, along with local residents, living with their help ordinary rural life, while exploring the culture and traditions of the host country. Hospitality and openness of ordinary Turkmenistan citizens leave no doubt in the future success of yet another tourist service.

In anticipation of the opening of the "peak season" or after its closure tourists, who came to "Avaza", may be offered hundreds of options for recreation. Archaeological tours are also a promising direction because it was in Turkmenistan that the capital of Margush country - the fifth center of world civilization, along with Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China, was discovered recently.

Certainly, eventful tours for national holidays, as well as gastronomic tours providing an opportunity to try all the best dishes of Turkmen cuisine will sell well too. There is a growing interest in holiday tours to military and historical sites, and Balkan province will be able to recall the many battles and fights ... Moreover, Turkmenistan is the birthplace of the most of sweet grapes, and Turkmen wines and cognacs win various awards at international competitions every year. Therefore, "Avaza" will be able to offer popular wine tours to tourists and tell them about the culture of local wine-making and folk traditions. There is also a great prospect for making profits from the most status types of tourism - fishing, hunting, including falconry.

"Avaza" can become a promising resort not only in itself but also as part of the tourist route along the Silk Road as a gateway to the fabulous world of the East. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are also developing the tourist business, and establishing Central Asian tour packages, a point of departure for which will be "Avaza". It will be for sure in demand in the market and will enable tourists to get acquainted not only with Turkmenistan but also with its neighbors in the region.

In addition, cruise tours along the shores of the five Caspian countries - Turkmenistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia and Kazakhstan can be arranged from "Avaza", for which there are modern boats and yachts. By the way, the opening of a direct sea link with the sea port of Turkmenbashi, which is being upgraded at the moment, will increase many times the attractiveness of "Avaza" for tourists from these countries.

Some pessimists point out that the "velvet" season lasts only about a month in the Caspian Sea coast. However, you can be sure the national project "Avaza" will be implemented in such a way that the sudden cold current of the sea will not spoil the tourists vacation in any case. After all, the Turkmen resort is attractive not only for beaches but dozens of other types of recreation ...

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