Ricard Tomas, a citizen of
— When did you hear about our country for the first time?
— It is a very interesting story. It happened four years ago. Then I lived in
I was tired and decided to move to
My way ran through
This was my first surprise. I thought: «Wow, what kind of country is it, why have I not been here before?» I traveled through it and was really amazed by the mountains and the people.
Then I traveled through
But the thoughts of
When I arrived in
I stayed here for more than a month. I got acquainted with the city, thought what I could do here and decided not to return to
I did not know then what I would do, but I already knew that I wanted to live here.
— Did you immediately start with tourism?
— Yes, we opened a travel agency and other types of business here. I like to travel with our guests. There are places which I have visited many times.
Last week we had a tour and the guests said that I would not be impressed by the trip, as I have seen these places repeatedly. I objected. For example, I find something new every my visit to
My friends were amazed at my decision. But having visited the country, they said: «Ricard, now we understand why you moved. Congratulations.»
— You have lived in
— It is generally good. Meat is simply magnificent — one of the best in the world.
— I really miss the fish. Not the cuisine, but the fish. I love the national cuisine of
— And what in
— This is a small country, but it should be regarded as the heart of
As for business, there are low tax rates, loyal policy for new enterprises, free exchange of currencies that is all prerequisites for investment. You have many challenges, but they also open up new opportunities.
The people of
— And what can be developed in our country?
— There are two important points that can be developed more than in the neighboring countries. The first is power industry (I am also involved in this sector).
The growth of hydropower industry will be large-scale.
The second point is tourism.
— You wanted to tell a parable on this subject...
— Two businessmen went to the North Pole to sell slippers and at the same time to study the market. After some time, one of the entrepreneurs calls their partners and says there is nothing to do and he should leave. And the second one also calls the partners, but at the same time says that as there is nothing there, then he can do everything.
You can do many things in
— You have a lot of positive impressions about
— Of course, unpleasant things happen. It’s like two beginnings — yin and yang, like right and left. I do not know if what I want to say is tactful.
— We would like to hear not only flattering opinion.
— One of the problems that still exists is corruption. Of course, the government is struggling with this phenomenon, but not actively enough. There is still a lot of bureaucracy. I understand that it is necessary for control, but when it is too much, it hinders the business — whether it is obtaining of a permit, processing of documents, relations with the police.
Let me tell you a story. As a foreigner and a company owner, I need to get a work visa. This is absolutely normal practice. I do this every year, and I have to take a blood test. And here’s how it happens.
You go to an institution with no place to sit down, so you have to wait outside. Winter, hundreds of people, rush hour, people in the queue argue, swear — in general, there are no conditions.
And since I have four companies, I need four permits. Officials could take a blood test once and use the data for all my four companies.
But no, I had to take blood test four times. This all tortures a person. But there are more positive sides than negative ones, that’s why I’m here.
— Our government speaks a lot about the support of investors, have our officials rendered you a support?
— What kind of support?
— Well, maybe you wanted to implement some unordinary business idea?
— Most important is that they do not interfere, this is the best assistance. Of course, when I needed help, I met with the prime minister several times, told about my problems, about obstacles, and he received me. That is very good.
They listen — it’s already good. For example, I was said «No, no, no» many times in other countries at similar meetings. And here I often hear from the officials «Yes, of course, yes, yes» There is not much support, but there are no big problems.
— Let’s move on to the positive side. Have you found places in Bishkek or
— No (laughs).
— Are there any places that you really like?
— There are many of them, for example, Ala-Archa. I go there very often.
But the surprising is that, in spite of often visits there, I every time open new corners, which for some reason I have not seen before.
I love winter. I do not understand why there is no promotion of winter tourism in
— And what sides of mindset of the Kyrgyz you have noticed? Good and bad.
— In general, the people are very open. There are many religions in the country, and
The Kyrgyz as a whole is quite open and modern people.
— And what do not you like?
— Some people, apparently, under some influence, become aggressive, and also laziness.
There are people who say: «Yes ... I should do ...» I say: «Then do it!»
This is my personal opinion.
But, if you need help, everyone expresses a desire to help you, especially to the foreigners, everyone wants to help. People are friendly, and that’s fine.
— What would you like to change in Bishkek?
— Roads (laughs) and sidewalks. I understand that this requires a lot of money, but their condition is very bad. For example, I live ten minutes walking from the central square — below Zhibek Zholu, closer to Togolok Moldo. I love this place very much. But when it’s dry, there’s a lot of dust, when it rains — there are plenty of puddles, where you can swim. It is good only when it’s snowing — it is clean.
— Do you like kok-boru? After all, you are from
— You know, I’m against corrida, I do not like it. It is banned in
I only once watched the bullfighting, and I was very sad.
But I love the Nomad Games, except for one moment — the use of the goat carcass in the game, and I adore the game itself.
I’m a big fan of Nomad Games and I’ll try to create a team to participate in them. I want to promote it in
— Do many tourists come here from
— A lot.
— Have you attended a Kyrgyz toi (feast)?
-No, I have not. I was invited several times, but for some reason could not attend it.
— Tell us about your passion for motorcycles.
— Traveling by a motorcycle is very different from traveling by car. Of course, the movement from point A to point B by any transport sounds the same, but the process of riding a motorcycle gives you complete freedom, you become part of the world around, part of the road, part of the mountains. By car, you are inside the box and you use it only as a mean of transportation.
— What other hobbies do you have?
— Mountaineering. When I have free time, I go to the mountains — for hiking and climbing. The nature of