With oil reserves second only to Russia in the Commonwealth of Independent States and ambitions to become one of the world's top exporters, Kazakhstan is an increasingly important business destination.
Almaty, the country's capital from 1929 to 1997, may have been replaced by Astana, but the city remains the major financial and cultural centre.
Located in the south-east of the vast country, it has hosted about 40 exhibitions this year covering topics as varied as property, food and flowers, according to a government website.
A number of hotels cater to the business traveller, such as the Royal Tulip Almaty, which sits at the foothills of the mighty Tien Shan mountains.
Rooms are spacious and the internet is free, although most of the TV channels are in Kazakh or Russian, enabling those who find themselves with some free time to get out and explore.
There is plenty to see.
The first luxury mall opened a couple of weeks ago in a blaze of publicity. The Esentai Mall project, which will also include apartments, offices and a Ritz-Carlton hotel once complete, is designed to cater to the city's wealthier residents. The complex includes the first Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton and Fendi outlets in Central Asia.
Another sight worth seeing is the Ascension, or Zenkov, Cathedral, the second-tallest wooden building in the world. It survived an earthquake in 1911 - despite being built without any nails - that virtually flattened the rest of the city.
But those who find themselves with some more free time should take the opportunity to use the world's third-longest monocable gondola lift, to visit the Shymbulak mountain resort. The USSR used the facility to train its downhill skiers during the Soviet era, but it is now being transformed into a modern resort that the developers hope will one day feature 500km of runs.
If you have no time to see anything outside your hotel or meeting room, be prepared to be more than a bit underwhelmed by the only other tourist destination you are guaranteed to visit - the airport. It puts on a good show of appearing more like a bus station.