An ambitious multimillion-pound plan hopes to attract hordes of visitors to the east coast of the Caspian sea, but the hunt is on for investors to fund the project.
What to get the oligarch who has everything? How about a caviar spa experience on the shores of the Caspian Sea?
The “black caviar spa for real gourmands,” is just one of the leisure options that will be on offer at Kazakhstan’s Kenderli resort, which is due to open its doors in a few years time.
If a bath of fish eggs is not to your taste, “dances with seals” might just do the trick.
These once-in-a-lifetime experiences are being touted to lure tourists to a part of Kazakhstan not familiar to the holiday hordes: the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea.
If developers get their way, the luxury resort, costing $3.3 billion, will soon emerge out of the desert reports Tengri News. They expect that by 2020 over half a million tourists will visit every year, with foreigners expected to make up over half of the numbers.
Russia is considered the most promising market, but the resort will also target holidaymakers from other parts of central Asia, the former Soviet Union, Turkey and the Middle East.
The vision for Kenderli is ambitious: “a superb 21st century tourist coastal resort”, the “best” on the Caspian and “the perfect destination for domestic and international tourists, generating wealth for the region and wellbeing for our people.”
So far, however, the plans remain on the drawing board, with no funds yet raised, the Trade and Investment Ministry told Tengri News. Although there have been expressions of interest from Iranian investors, among others.
If it gets off the ground, developers will be hoping Kenderli doesn’t turn into a white elephant like Avaza – the Caspian resort which opened five years ago down the coast in Turkmenistan where expected hordes failed to materialise.
Kazakhstan is more tourist-friendly than Turkmenistan. This year Astana eased visa requirements for several countries – a pilot scheme that will be reviewed next July – as the government strives to put the country on the tourist map.
Caviar spas might offer novelty value to draw crowds to this remote spot, which lies 125 miles south of the oil hub of Aktau. But it will take more than a tub of endangered fish eggs to really get the resort off the ground.