According to the plan of Mangystau regional development, which is available on the website primeminister.kz, the government wants to realize twelve tourist projects in the region. One of them is a so-called Visit Center in Karakiya district that will include Safari Hotel.
Given that the famous Boszhira mountain area is located in the Karakiya district, it is obvious that the new Visit Center and Safari Hotel for 38.6 billion tenge ($91 million) will be built there. The contractor is a private company named Tethys International Hub Ltd.
In January, Mangystau region officials announced a plan to create a new hotel complex in Karakiya district with villas for two or three persons. The complex will also include swimming pools, restaurants, horse stable, helicopter deck, fitness center, bars, coffee shop and even a shop with sports products.
The company that is mentioned as a contractor, Tethys International Touristic Hub Ltd., was established by Turkish Gayrimenkul Yatirim Turizm Madencilik Ve Inşaat Sanayi Ticaret Anonim Şirketi (FTG) and Kazakhstan Investment Development Fund (KIDF) in October last year.
The owner of FTG is prominent Turkish mogul Fettah Tamince, who also owns the Rixos hotel chain and Sembol Construction firm. In Kazakhstan, his firm built Rixos hotels in Burabay (North Kazakhstan region), as well as in Almaty and Nur-Sultan. Among other buildings that have been constructed by Sembol are Astana Expo, Nazarbayev Center and Palace of Peace and Reconciliation (or Pyramid as locals call it).
Another project participant, KIDF, was established in the spring of 2019 to attract new foreign investments. The fund is under the direct control of the government of Kazakhstan. For example, the prime minister, vice prime minister, minister of finance and minister of foreign affairs are all members of the fund’s board. The money-keeper of the fund is the National Bank of Kazakhstan.
This is not the first case of KIDF and FTG cooperation. They both are co-owners of Aktau Tourism City Ltd, which was a main investor of the Rixos Aktau hotel. The company spent about 66.8 billion tenge ($157.6 million) for the hotel’s construction; about 42 billion ($99.1 million) of which were provided by the state’s Development Bank of Kazakhstan as a loan for 20 years with an interest rate of 13% per annum.
However, many Kazakhstanis are not happy with the idea of construction in the unique natural area of Boszhira. Because of the public outcry, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered to once again examine all facets of the project. On February 5 public hearings should be held on the issue.
The Boszhira area is considered a part of the Usturt Natural Park. It’s well known for its amazing landscape appearance of which in some points resembles Monument Valley in the United States. The national park was established in 1984 to preserve this unique desert eco-system for future generations.