Ecotourism Association

CBT Son-Kul

In 2000s, while the beach tourism occupied more than 90% of the market, and allowed a few percent to mountaineering, the Swiss association "Helvetas" put up ecotourism association in order to address help towards the lack of infrastructure, lack of tourist beds and lack of cultural events.

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In 1997, “Shepherd's Life”, an ecotourism association was founded by Helvetas through a agricultural and rural advisory program. Firstly, Shepherd's Life offered to tourists the unique experience to live a night in a yurt. Surely it wasn’t a five star service, but exactly what you needed to discover the real nomadic life and traditional Kyrgyz culture. 

After a great success, Helvetas decided in 2000 to create new similar associations. And in May 2000, the first CBT (Community-based tourism) Association was born in Kochkor. Built on the model of CBT established in Nepal, it is also known a great success, and other associations sprang up, the last in the south of the country like CBT Gulcho.

Each CBT associations and the Shepherd's Life association are independent but keep membership of a national association KCBTA with their office located in Bishkek.

Many Kyrgyz tourism agencies use services of these organizations and ensure that their programs are more or less related to ecotourism. If your guide, and driver come from mountainous regions and you spend a night in a yurt or guest house offered by ecotourism associations, which would mean that about 80% of amount spent would go to tourism-based local communities.

But the second part of ecotourism is also respect towards the international rules of ecotourism. Ecotourism agency assumes to follow the guidelines and to support principles of nature preservation and culture conservation. They can also support the promotion of ecotourism and educate not only staff but travelers as well.

So come here to experience ecotourism!

Author: Nomad's Land