A few words about us and our company
We, Elmira and Samira Kalmakova, two Kyrgyz sisters, started our travel company, Ecotour, in 1998, shortly after our country became independent. It was a time in which very few tourists visited Kyrgyzstan and there were hardly any facilities to offer.
We were the first who developed the concept of the yurt camps as a place to stay.
The idea behind this was that, in this way, we could involve the local people in new activities, help them to earn an additional income and transfer knowledge about the protection of nature, recycling of used goods and the use of raw materials in a responsible way.
We started a number of yurt camps where guests could stay and made agreements with the people in different villages about the reception and care of the guests and the way the yurt camps should operate.
In the meantime, more than 22 years have gone by and tourism in Kyrgyzstan is growing every year. A number of idea’s and initiatives with which we started in 1998 have now become rather common. Yurt camps are no longer new and unexpected and, in many places, the local people have become active in tourism.
Our company has also developed and we now offer a wide variety of tours and programmes, both active tours as well as programmes where our guests learn more about our culture and heritage. Also for families we have developed special programmes. Each year we offer new tours and programmes.
Close to the centre of Bishkek we have built our own comfortable and friendly small hotel, the Umai Hotel, where we can look after our guests. However, at heart we are still a family run company and proud of our Kyrgyz roots. Hospitality and an interest in our guests are still paramount for us.
The main goals of the “Ecotour family” are to show to our guests our beautiful mountains, our culture, our traditions and habits. And because of the international character of our group tours, we try to contribute to worldwide understanding between people with different backgrounds.
But our original philosophies, not to damage to nature, to involve local people in what we do and to avoid large groups, are still our credo.
We hope to meet you in our beautiful country