FROM THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT In late March Jogorku Kenesh (the Kyrgyz Republic’s parliament) came closer to approving a list of more than 40 countries whose nationals would soon be able to enter the Kyrgyz Republic visa-free for 60 days. The government—which, along with businesses, has been arguing for the change—believes that it will stimulate tourism and investment. Temir Sariev, the minister of economy and anti-monopoly policy, said on March 28th that parliamentarians are supportive of the legislation. The previous day Mr Sariev had said that each tourist in the country spends about US$1,000, 10% of which goes into the state coffers. The proposal was first raised in late October, but rejected in parliament at the committee stage several weeks later. Initially, the government had called for 90 days of visa-free travel for nationals of 41 wealthy countries. The most recent bill reduced this to two months, and covers 44 countries, with Malaysia, Qatar and Brunei added to the original list. There is no guarantee, however, that the initiative will pass. It has triggered criticism from the State Committee for National Security and encountered resistance from diplomats.
Central Asia is a hard sell, but it gets easier if you don’t have to wait for a stamp in your passport from a far away embassy.
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