Kyrgyz officials step up efforts to raise the central Asian country's profile as a holiday destination amid a regional economic slump. Laura Frykberg reports.
These holiday-makers have booted beaches for mountains, and golf clubs for bows. Tired of traditional tourist traps, they've instead travelled to Kyrgyzstan. A landlocked country in Asia, nestled between China and Kazakhstan. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN TOURIST, UNNAMED, SAYING: "We came from Germany to Kyrgyzstan and we found it really nice. People in Kyrgyzstan are very friendly. They are friendly to their guests and this country has beautiful mountains, steppe, animals and life here is very simple, it's good." (GERMAN TOURIST, KIRSTEN, TAKES OVER) "And the food tastes much better than in Germany, very good meat, very good pies, very tasty milk, fruits." If the way to tourists' hearts is indeed through their stomachs, Kyrgyzstan may be in luck. And it wants more of them to feed its revenue. The country has been hit hard by the fall in oil price and recession in nearby Russia. Many Kyrgyz go there to work, and send money home. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM DIRECTOR, AZAMAT ZHAMANKULOV, SAYING: "I think that we have an unique country, we have unique products under the Kyrgyzstan brand. Kyrgyzstan has two main priorities in the sphere of tourism, this is culture, unique culture, and nature. Everyone knows perfectly well about it but we need to show it to the world." The faster that happens the better. Kyrgyzstan has also been affected by slowdowns in other neighbouring countries, including China.