The Asian market continues to grow. It was not only ITB Asia which recorded a slight increase last October: larger numbers of exhibitors from the central and inner Asian region have also registered to attend this year’s ITB Berlin. To accommodate them ITB Berlin has allocated Hall 7.2b as a third Asia hall, in addition to Halls 26 and 5.2. Exhibitors from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will now be offering their varied range of products and attractions under one roof.
Tour operators, tourism offices and hotels are presenting Kazakhstan in all its diversity as a tourism destination: the lowland plains of the north and west, the high mountain ranges in the south east and east, deserts, steppes, the Caspian and Aral Seas. With an excellent network of routes the national carrier Air Astana makes Kazakhstan more accessible for European vacationers too, with flights now available from all of the major European airports. Unspoiled nature is Kyrgyzstan’s main tourism factor, and a number of tour operators are featuring guided walking holidays and undemanding trekking tours in the foothills of the Tien Shan mountains. The more than ninety massive mountain chains in Kyrgyzstan are a favoured destination for many climbers.
There are many outstanding mountain sports regions in Tajikistan too. The majestic Pamir range is still largely unexplored and is a well-kept secret among mountaineers. The lakes of the Pamir are also worth seeing, including Lake Kara-Kul, 3,915 metres above sea level, and Lake Sares, which was only created in 1911 as the result of a powerful earthquake which caused major landslides. The seven lakes of Marghuzor are one of nature’s wonders, with their varied shades of blue and green, which alter according to the light and the time of day.
Mongolia owes its uniqueness to the nomads of the steppes and their fascinating culture. Visitors to ITB Berlin can find out how mystical traditions and an untouched natural world combine to create a breath-taking experience, and will also be made aware of the traditional hospitality of a proud people. On the Active and Adventure Tours stand visitors can see for themselves a genuine yurt, giving them an authentic impression of the everyday lives of the nomads. Uzbekistan is being presented as a land for dreamers and discoverers. The great Silk Roads and major cultural centres such as Samarkand, Buchara, Chiwa, Shakhrisabz and Tashkent are the epitome of oriental beauty and mystery.
In Turkmenistan tourists with an interest in culture can discover traces of antiquity in places such as Köneurgenc, the city with the highest minaret in Central Asia, the abandoned oasis of Merv, which has been declared a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO, the burning craters of Derweze, the thermal underground lake of Köv Ata and the world’s largest saline waterfall in the bay of Garabogaz-Gol.