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UCA Promotes Sustainable Mountain Tourism in Naryn

11 December 2021

Some 245 million people living in mountain regions around the world are threatened with food insecurity issues making the mountain communities among the poorest and most affected by hunger around the world. Sustainable tourism in the region can be one of the significant contributors in creating livelihood options for the residents to alleviate poverty.

Considering climate change and the need for economic development in the region, the University of Central Asia (UCA)’s School of Arts and Sciences had signed a Memorandum of Cooperation earlier in 2021 with the Office of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic to develop a sustainable tourism plan for Naryn.

Though the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected the global economy, particularly the tourism industry, it has offered time to rethink strategies for promoting resilient and inclusive tourism. With 85% of the world’s species living in mountain regions and 60-80% of all freshwater resources located in mountain headwaters, it is crucial to consider devising a plan that provides both economic and environmental benefits to the local community.

UCA Promoting Tourism

UCA students go horseback riding on the Naryn side of the  Tian Shan Mountains.

Considering various factors of sustainable tourism and as a University devoted to the issues of mountain communities, the University of Central Asia has offered its services to the Naryn government to conduct research and providing a conceptual framework for cultural and digital tourism in the Oblast. UCA is also providing technical support and human resources for the implementation of the Tourism Development Plan.

UCA’s School of Professional and Continuing Education has designed a special programme on Executive Entrepreneurship Training in Tourism to be delivered to the owners and managers of related enterprises. It is funded as part of the Accelerate Prosperity Programme in Central and South Asia sponsored by the European Union.

In early 2020, the University of Central Asia’s undergraduate students had presented a Branding Naryn project as part of their Strategic Communications course, offering short and long-term plans to promote sustainable tourism. These plans were interrupted due to the pandemic, but the Naryn government has agreed to include it in their 25-year master development plan for the Oblast.

UCA’s faculty, staff, and students have also produced a short film for the Naryn Oblast Government for the purpose of tourism promotion in the region.