October 13 – 15, 2022, Nukus, Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan | ECO-ARAL in collaboration with German consultancy company Mascontour organized a three-day ecotourism training with participation of local tour operators, the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Heritage of Karakalpakstan, rangers and officials from the protected areas as well as other tourism stakeholders. The eco-tourism training offered by ECO-ARAL led by Mascontour consultants Prof. Nicole Haeusler and Martin H. Petrich and aimed at using the Sudochye Nature Sanctuary as a showcase for designing and organizing attractive ecotourism products.

20 participants of the training programme had lively discussions on the importance of providing meaningful information systems to the visitors, the need to form proper communication channels between the various stakeholders, the creation of a safe and eco-friendly infrastructure as well as the integration of local communities into the programs.

Part of the training took place at the shore of the Sudochye Lake, where the participants checked the new tourism facilities and discussed ways to improve them. They also provided ideas of how to include a visit at the lake into existing itineraries from and to the Aral Sea. The current training is the third programme that was a follow up to the first and second training programmes that were conducted in March and June of 2022.

“There is a plan to strengthen especially the cooperation with the Aral Sea region in Kazakhstan in term of transboundary ecotourism products between Mangistau region of Kazakhstan and Karakalpakstan of Uzbekistan (with a special focus on the Ustyurt Plateau). It is planned to send Karakalpak tour operators to Mangistau region towards the end of this year to explore tourism potential and further cooperation opportunities”, says the main trainer Prof. Haeusler.

Photo: ©ECO-ARAL