Tuesday, July 24, 2012 -
Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev signed on Tuesday a bill in a law to remove visa restrictions for visitors hailing from 44 countries.
Visitors from those countries – which include all 27 European Union states, Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and several South American countries – will be able to stay in the country for sixty days.
The legislation was initially passed by the Kyrgyz parliament in April.
Kyrgyzstan is trying to reclaim its position as a key tourist destination, a reputation which took a beating after ethnic violence killed 400 and displaced tens of thousands in 2010.
However, 90 percent of Kyrgystan’s visitors come from member-states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Several members of Kyrgyzstan’s government actively voiced their displeasure when the parliament passed the measure in April.
Kyrgyzstan’s foreign ministry was one department which opposed the new law.
Visa-free entry into the country will reduce the government’s ability to vet visitors before they arrive, and it raises the risks of security breaches, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Dinara Kemelova.