A story of 8 passionate and adventurous tourism students analyzing the MICE Tourism potential of a young but growing city under the motto «Nursultan - Where Business meets Nature».
In the middle of the Great Steppe, the city Nursultan (formerly known as Astana) was built up from scratch in just 20 years to become a worthy capital for Kazakhstan as well as an internationally known commercial business hotspot. With its location between Europe and Asia it is the heart of Eurasia and a center for religions, politics and economy. Recognizing this USP, Kazakhstan wants to place its capital on the world map as the new «place to be» for MICE Tourism.
Within the context of the module «Project Management in Practice» and thereby the project Study Week Kazakhstan, we had the unique chance to get to know an extraordinary destination from a touristic as well as from a business perspective. With this knowledge we were able to understand what it means to be a MICE destination and which requirements this entails.
Field of Research
- How can Nursultan become an internationally known MICE destination?
- What are Swiss companies‘ expectations towards a MICE destination?
- What is the perception of Nursultan‘s tourism service providers regarding the potential of MICE Tourism in their city?
- What facilities does Nursultan provide regarding MICE Tourism?
In order to be able to analyze Nursultan’s potential of becoming a MICE destination, we first met one of the most experienced company when it comes to Meetings, Incentives, Conferences or Events (MICE). They explained us all the different aspects in this special field of the tourism industry such as requirements a destination must meet. Necessities like accessibility, infrastructure, political or social stability and economic situation were addressed.
However, arriving in Nursultan after a 6 hours flight we realized that we have just landed in a city with a huge potential in the MICE industry. The city itself strongly reminds one of Dubai and shows potential for business as well as leisure tourism.
The Bayterek Tower is located on the Nurzhol Boulevard and considered as a symbol for post-independence of Kazakhstan.
View over the Hazrat Sultan Mosque, Shabyt Art Palace and Palace of Independence.
Group Photo after the Meeting with General Manager Stephan Reiter of the Hilton Astana.
Area of the Expo 2017 with one of its main attraction the Nur Alem Pavilion.
8 Tourism Students and Director of Studies, astonished by the uniqueness of Nursultan.
Nursultan is surrounded by beautiful nature such as the Burabay National Park.
To gain a deeper understanding of the touristic situation of the city and region, we met different kinds of actors of the tourism industry of Nursultan and Kazakhstan. Insightful meetings with managers of convention bureau or national destination management organization as well as tour operators and hotels pointed their specific needs and thoughts and perspectives towards our field of research. Meeting not only big but also small stakeholders demonstrated that the set up strategy is clear but certain steps still need to be taken.
Nevertheless, we recognized the huge potential of Kazakhstan’s capital. With its interesting location, venues in all shapes and sizes, huge variety of leisure activities and great hospitality the basis for the future has been set!
Now knowing that there is much more than just a steppe between Russia and China, we encourage
everybody to explore the unexplored and experience the MICE industry of Kazakhstan!
Anja Hungerbühler, Mika Horlacher and Aljoscha Keller
Anja, Mika and Aljoscha all study in the Bachelor's Degree Programme in Tourism at the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons.
During the project «Study Week», the team was responsible for any External Communication such as acquisition of Business Partners for meetings as well as Sponsoring Partners, defining Corporate Identity and managing Social Media.