Kyrgyz tourist sector: Business Insider magazine has ranked Kyrgyzstan as the top emerging travel destination in the world for 2016. Mongolia came in third and Iran seventh. “Wilderness, wildlife and culture; these themes will illuminate the year’s travel itineraries,” the publication predicts. “Escapism and authenticity are key and nowhere offers them quite like fledgling and far-flung nations.
“Kyrgyzstan’s vast rolling mountains, Iceland’s wild natural phenomena, Madagascar’s prehistoric lemurs and Taiwan’s cultural treasure troves are some of the highlights marking the year ahead,” it said. “Of the 5 ‘stans’ in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan is big news for 2016. Wild landscapes are second nature.
“The capital Bishkek, in the foothills of the Tian Shan “celestial” mountains, is unconventional and eccentric, with well-dressed locals converging over sausages, honey, and yogurt at the bazaar. Beyond, the allure lies in high-altitude greenery, “jailoos,” dotted with yurts. Hike, cycle, or horse ride for days in search of the quirky Marco Polo sheep, the huge subspecies donning spiraling horns,” said the report. Tourism currently accounts for around 8.4% of Kyrgyzstan and is seen as one of its most promising sectors with the government in Bishek aiming to grow that figure to 12% by 2034.