What do the Nomad Games Bring for Kyrgyzstan?
Talant Sultanov explains what the World Nomad Games will bring to the Kyrgyz Republic, why the Nomad Games open new economic and social opportunities for the country, and also how the Games offer a way to raise political stability within the country and improve relations with neighbors in the region.
In September, 2016, at Lake Issyk-Kul, the World Nomad Games (WNG) will take place, which will involve the participation of sporting delegations from over 50 countries from around the world.
This is the first time in Central Asia in a quarter century of independence that a unique sporting and cultural event will take place – the World Nomad Games. The first Nomad Games took place in 2014 with the participation of about 20 countries. This year, the Second WNG will take place with the participation of about a quarter of the countries in the world.
In 2012, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Almazbek Atambaev initiated the idea of holding the first-ever World Nomad Games, with the goal of reviving and saving the culture, identity and way of life of nomadic peoples in the era of globalization.
Nomadic peoples cover all continents of the world. If you look deeply into history, many peoples and countries have nomadic roots. Some of these peoples and countries have saved their nomadic cultures to this day. Thus this unique event has created a great interest not only in our region but elsewhere too, both among nomadic groups and settled civilizations.
The World Nomad Games bring economic, political and social gains to our country and contribute to the development of cooperation in the region.
The preparation and holding of this large-scale international sporting competition has required a large financial contribution. It follows to note that, because of their mobile nature, nomads created games that don’t require expensive equipment. For example, the Winter Olympics require the building of stadiums that take billions of dollars from the budgets of host countries. The WNG have mostly been built on grants and donations from sponsors. For relatively little money from the budget of the country, the WNG bring real economic benefits for Issyk-Kul and for the whole country.
Tourist opportunities. The Games show the potential in Kyrgyzstan for tourism. Besides the clear economic benefit from holding a grand sporting event, the more tangible benefit is the increase in the flow of tourists. Though the Games are only a week long, visitors can spend lots of time in the region, bringing noticeable income to hotels and restaurants. The tourist season this year will be significantly longer, which will bring more revenue to the local population. This effect won’t be limited to this year, as the improvement of infrastructure and additional advertisement will work over a long time period to attract tourists.
Infrastructure. New infrastructure was built for the World Nomad Games, for example, the Issyk-Kul Hippodrome and the Sport and Recreation Center in Cholpon-Ata. When talking about the Hippodrome, it’s necessary to note that this is a unique construction, built to the highest international standards. This is the only hippodrome of this size in the region and in the CIS countries. The creation of this infrastructure generates noticeable economic activity in the host region and creates many new jobs.
The multiplying effect. Coming out of the construction phase, the infrastructure built for sporting events can provide the host city or region a permanent flow of economic benefits. These facilities, built for these events, can be used for years or decades afterwards. Even more importantly, the completion of transport infrastructure can ensure a significant impulse for the development of the local and regional economy, which can be used for local enterprises.
The indirect economic benefits from the holding of a large-scale sporting event can potentially be even more important than direct ones, but they are also harder to assess. One of the indirect benefits is the promotional effect of these events. Many cities and countries that host sporting events notice the effect of these events on their rating in the world. In this sense, big events before and during their execution are a type of advertising that can draw tourists, who can then bring considerable and long-lasting economic benefits.
Also, the WNG will encourage potential investors. Already French and Korean investors are seriously interested in the development of equestrian sports in Kyrgyzstan.
The organization and holding of a sporting event significantly increases the international authority of the organizing country. Holding an event like the WNG can bring substantial intangible benefits to the host region and country, the residents of which, of course, will feel a sense of pride and community from the fact that they are hosting this event. In a short yet intensive time, their hometown has become the center of the world’s attention. The planning and work that’s necessary for this type of event requires significant time and energy and generates a feeling of satisfaction on the local and national level. These factors are important and valuable, not even taking into account how hard it is to calculate their monetary value.
Consolidation of society. The Nomad Games have drawn attention not to what divides us, but to what unites and connects us. Involving one’s self in a shared legacy, a history among the population, undoubtedly creates a sense of pride for one’s culture and traditions.
Strengthening of international understanding. At international sporting events, national and religious differences are erased. Governments and their interests become secondary. The world becomes immersed in an atmosphere of celebration, friendship, and sporting competition. The Games help people of different countries regularly meet, communicate, and share cultures.
Modern games bring a real contribution towards the spreading of information about cultures and worldview’s of different countries, as well as respect for them, and also is a serious effort to learn how to overcome conflict for the greater good.
Kyrgyzstan is carrying out proactive work for the international development and popularization of the World Nomad Games. Work is being carried out with the UN to give international significance to the WNG through its inclusion in the Resolution of the General Assembly of the UN “Promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation for peace”. This Resolution is planned to be accepted at the 71st Session of the General Assembly.
The international level of this event can bring benefits not just for Kyrgyzstan, but for the whole region. Kyrgyzstan is putting in its contribution for the development of culture and sports through the Nomad Games. This is an unprecedented event where Kyrgyzstan, as the main organizer, has included this program, foundations and sporting traditions.
The World Nomad Games, which will soon take place at Issyk-Kul, open new economic and social opportunities for the country, and also contribute to the increasing of political stability within the country and the improvement of cooperation with neighbors in the region. Being an event of international scale, the Games can become one direction of the development of our country.