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Kyrgyzstan is hosting bloggers, youtubers, and other social media influencers through Summer 2017 for a specially created blogger campaign called Discover Kyrgyzstan to help them experience this new travel destinations unique mix of culture and landscapes so they can share their experiences with their global audience through the #DiscoverKyrgyzstan hashtag
The Discover Kyrgyzstan Blogger Campaign
The goal of the campaign is to expose the country’s diverse mountain landscapes and traditional cultures to a wide global audience, building on the country’s momentum as a regular inclusion on major publishers’ lists of the world’s top underrated travel destinations.
Credit, Stephen Lioy
Promoting Kyrgyzstan’s Growing Tourism Industry
Supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Discover Kyrgyzstan national Destination Management Organization (DMO) is working with a number of regional DMOs to promote newly-developed tourism offerings across the country.
Destination Jyrgalan Valley, based in a former coal mining village turned ecotourism base, has worked through the summer to develop new hiking and biking trails to complement traditional horse trekking opportunities; in the winter season, the area is a growing base for freeride ski enthusiasts who use the village as a base for exploring the snowy slopes of the Tien-Shan range that start just outside the rural community.
Credit Alesha Bradford, Nomadasaurus
Destination South Shore, a cooperative of tourism operators from villages across the southern edge of massive Issyk-Kol lake (the second-largest alpine lake in the world), focus on ethno-cultural offerings such as yurt construction, traditional hunting with golden eagles, and religious sites significant to the country’s pre-Islamic religious tradition known as Tengrism.
Credit, Stephen Lioy
Destination Karakol, centered on Kyrgyzstan’s prime trekking hub, has developed popular new offerings focused on the region’s diverse cultural make-up to complement existing and new outdoors routes into the mountains. Join a Dungan (Chinese Muslim minority) family for a village tour and 40-dish home-cooked dinner, learn to make Uigher laghman noodles, or join a Kyrgyz women’s cooperative to explore the country’s oral storytelling tradition and national foods. Or just head out from the city for a sunset yacht cruise, with towering snow-capped mountains all around.
Credit Stephen Lioy
Tourism Developing in Central and Southern Kyrgyzstan
Destination Osh, the oldest city in Central Asia, has worked with Discover Kyrgyzstan to develop food and cultural tours that illuminate the city’s ancient culture as well as closely cooperating with mountain communities in neighboring Visit Alay to delineate trekking routes through high mountains along the southern border of Kyrgyzstan in the shadow of the Pamir range and massive 7134m Peak Lenin.
Credit, Audrey Scott, Uncornered Market
Destination Naryn, the newest of Kyrgyzstan’s regional DMOs, has kept the focus thus far square on incredible natural landscapes. Naryn National Reserve, Son Kol lake, and the remote Kol-Suu lake are the focus of the organization’s work with influencers; though Karakhanid-era Koshoi Korgon Fortress and the Tash Rabat Caravansarai inject an historic and cultural influence as well.
Discover Kyrgyzstan’s Work With Influencers
The current set of influencer trips sees 35 individual publishers hosted during Summer 2017, is the follow-up project to a 2016 group trip centered on the biennial World Nomad Games Festival. The event, held in even-numbered years in early September, garnered national attention as a unique sporting event widely described as an “Olympics for Nomads”. The 2018 edition of the festival is expected to grow even more popular, with more countries participating and more international visitors expected to attend.
Credit, Daniel Noll, Uncornered Market
What Some Of The Influencers Think Of Kyrgyzstan
Nick & Dariece, Goats on the Road
“We first visited Kyrgyzstan in 2013 when options for accommodation, food, and tours were very limited. And while we had a wonderful first trip, we just returned from our second trip to the country after working closely with USAID BGI and Discover Kyrgyzstan, and we can really see the positive improvements that have been made so far (and will continue to be made).
The Village of Jyrgalan was never on our radar, or the radar of other travelers until this recent influencer campaign. Because of the incredible efforts USAID has made in training people in various tourism based positions, plus providing supplies, support, and funding, the village is now ready to host travelers. As a result of there being proper accommodation options and tours available, more tourism dollars are flowing through the village and families are able to earn a better living.
The same goes with the city of Karakol. On our first trip, we popped in, spent the night and headed up into the mountains for trekking. However, since the addition of the cultural immersion products (village tours, cooking classes, meals with families, walking tour, etc.) there are enough interesting things going on in the city to make tourists want to stay a while.
In our opinion, everyone is benefiting from the Kyrgyzstan campaigns. Most importantly, the local people are earning a better living, while being able to maintain their culture and share it with the world.”
Jarryd and Alesha, Nomadasauras
“Our recent campaign to Kyrgyzstan was our second project with Discover Kyrgyzstan and USAID, and the impact on the tourism industry is substantial. New destinations and products have been promoted, and those targeted local operators are reporting an increase in visitors, on the back of the content created by travel bloggers, YouTubers and influencers. The current campaign is halfway through now, and based on direct feedback from the DMOs, and messages from readers, it is having a very positive effect on tourism in the country.”
Matt Long, Landlopers
“Being invited to participate in the Kyrgyzstan campaign with USAID was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. It provided the very unique opportunity to travel somewhere new not only for me, but for most of the world, and in turn to introduce the destination to a new audience. The campaign itself is a smart way to present the width and breadth of experiences available in Kyrgyzstan to the broader traveling public and, I hope, in turn, will provide a significant boost to the country’s nascent tourism industry.”
Check out the #DiscoverKyrgyzstan hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter to see the results of the summer’s project, or follow the organization at DiscoverKyrgyzstan on the same platforms.
Thanks to Stephen Lioy for this post.