Tourism remains one of the most important industries in Kyrgyzstan. Yet, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the main drivers of growth in the tourism sector, face several challenges when it comes to remaining competitive and reducing their environmental impact. Among the most pressing problems facing SMEs are the high energy intensity of buildings and equipment, infrastructure unsuitability for a year-round operation, high maintenance costs, lack of comfort that SMEs can offer to visitors, rising energy prices and tariffs, unreliable power and water supply, and limited coverage of central sewerage and waste collection. When it comes to the energy sector, for instance, regular power outages outside major cities have disrupted businesses and imposed additional costs on SMEs. Currently, 85% of the country's electricity is produced by hydropower, and with climate change, the supply of electricity is becoming more unpredictable.
To respond to these challenges, the EU funded SWITCH-Asia PERETO project has been championing sustainable consumption and production (SCP) practices and the implementation of renewable energy based equipment in the HoReCa and tourism sector in Kyrgyzstan. On 8th February, a high-level policy round table on "Challenges and opportunities in introducing sustainable consumption and production in the tourism development of Osh region" was organised with the support of the Osh Regional Administration, Department of Tourism and Osh mayor's office.
Osh is the southern region of Kyrgyzstan. The sun shines strong here, which means there is a great potential for the introduction and use of green technologies. Several entrepreneurs have already installed solar panels and are seeing great results. We try to share the best local and international practices that will help businesses not only reduce the negative impact on the environment and costs, but also take care of resources, explained Nurzat Abdyrasulova, PERETO project manager.
During the policy roundtable, stakeholders of the tourism and HoReCa sectors in Osh came together to discuss how to best facilitate the integration of green economy principles, energy and resource efficiency, and SCP practices into the Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy of Osh city and Osh region. Government agencies responsible for environmental protection, tourism development and infrastructure, local authorities, commercial banks, green technology providers, tourism SMEs, business associations as well as the Osh State University attended the event.
In order to bring tourism to a qualitatively new level, this year, a lot of work will be done to prepare the legislative framework for the introduction of green technologies in the field of tourism and HoReCa, assured Kiyal Kenjematova, Tourism Department Deputy Director under the Ministry of Culture, Information, Sport and Youth Policy of the Kyrgyz Republic.
A draft Action Plan of Osh Tourism Development for 2023-2028, as well as its marketing strategy, were presented during the roundtable. Moreover, the main outcome was a Resolution, where all participants emphasized the principles of energy saving and resource efficiency through the introduction of up-to-date green technologies, the implementation of logistics for municipal solid waste by creating dialogue platforms with the participation of a wide range of stakeholders, including business, civil society, state and local administrations. Participants also formulated recommendations for new policies and proposed measures for the development of sustainable tourism in Osh city and Osh region.
Featured in the media:
ElTR TV: tourism sector in Osh region needs energy and resource efficiency (ERE) practices Yntymak media: ERE and SCP principles in Osh region tourism development strategy
Asia TV: green technologies in tourism. Round table in Osh