The Central Asian Tourism Association, CATA, is the regional umbrella association of the national tourism associations from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. CATA is group of national travel agents’ , tour operators’ and community based tourism associations within the Central Asian region uniting the following associations:
- Kazakhstan Tourist Association (KTA)
- Ecotourism Information Resource Centre (EIRC)
- Kyrgyz Association of Tour Operators (KATO)
- Kyrgyz Community Based Tourism (KCBTA)
- Tajik Association of Tourism Organisations (TATO)
- Tajik Community Based Tourism (TCBTA)
- Association of Private Tourism Agencies of Uzbekistan (APTA)
CATA actively cooperates with international institutions and organizations to ensure that their interests and special requirements are taken into consideration. CATA was launched at the ITB Berlin tourism fair (March 2012).The initiative is welcomed and supported by ECTAA, the European Union umbrella association of national tour operators and travel agencies associations.
Kyrgyz Community Based Tourism (KCBTA)
KCBTA – “Hospitality Kyrgyzstan” is the country’s driving force behind community based tourism best practices and innovation. The association’s objective is to improve living conditions in remote mountain regions by developing a sustainable and wholesome ecotourism model that utilizes local natural and recreational resources. Located in the capital Bishkek, KCBTA is an umbrella association uniting 14 diverse destination communities (“CBT groups”). KCBTA was registered on January 3, 2003 with support from Helvetas Kyrgyzstan Programme’s Community Based Tourism Support Project (CBT SP) with operations throughout the country. KCBTA balances marketing strategy for local and international segments while fostering communication on new projects, activities and opportunities to its rural chapters. KCBTA encourages rational and responsible natural resource use through training on environmental protection, ecology, cooperation and heritage sites to local members of rural communities. KCBTA provides support to member organizations by marketing their services and products, providing business training, supporting organizational capacity building and organizing training, seminars and study tours. The association represents member interests in national policy development and negotiations within the mainstream tourism industry.
Kyrgyz Association of Tour Operators (KATO)
KATO is one of the largest and leading associations of representatives of the tourism industry in Kyrgyzstan, officially registered with the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic in 1999. KATO is a non-profit organization that protects the corporate interests of its members and the rights of the clients they serve. The mission of KATO is to create a tourism-friendly environment that is based on universally used principles and standards, which in turn will contribute to further economic growth and prosperity in the regions. KATO is engaged in the implementation of specific projects on marketing, education and information. The Association conducts daily news distribution, organizing various meetings, round tables, social events, etc. KATOs’ basic goals are as follows:
• to turn tourism into the leading branch of the economy of the Kyrgyz Republic;
• to achieve support for the further development of tourism at the highest level, in accordance with its huge importance for the economy of the republic create a favorable climate for tourists by creating jobs, encouraging the development of national cultures and environmental education;
• simplify the visa system and other formalities.
An EU supported Central Asia Invest project
Tourism, particularly rural community-tourism, represents an important opportunity for Uzbekistan as well as other Central Asian countries in their efforts to diversify the tourism product portfolio, reduce poverty, preserve local cultures and the environment, generate employment, income, foreign currency, and expand and diversify economies. For the sector to flourish improved cooperation, diversification and upgrading of products and services complying with international quality standards is a prerequisite. Within the framework of the current EU funded project ‘Strengthening rural and community tourism Business Intermediary Organisations for Inclusive Economic Development in Central Asia’ (2017-2020, Central Asia Invest IV, support will be provided to local Business Intermediary Organisations (BIOs) and tourism SMEs in the rural areas of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. This support includes job creation and training for micro enterprises working in the community and ecotourism field. The aim is to improve competitiveness in domestic and foreign markets by increasing the capacity of local tourism service providers, introduction of quality standards and by creating marketing linkages. The project will contribute to strengthened regional economic integration of the Central Asian countries, the awareness of Central Asia as a common tourism destination and the expansion of trade relations with the European Union both B2B and B2C markets.