What documents are needed to enter Abkhazia, why insurance is needed, does the Abkhaz dutyfree work, which hotels will not open this summer, and in which ones - the concept of food has changed. The Dolphin tour operator has prepared answers to these and other popular questions of tourists about rest in Abkhazia.
What you need to know for Russian tourists planning a vacation in Abkhazia, Anastasia Apatikova, head of the Dolphin tour operator, told the webinar.
Tourists, going on vacation to Abkhazia, must be absolutely healthy - without symptoms of acute respiratory infections and fever. Thermal imagers that respond to body temperatures above 37 ° C are installed at Sochi airport and Adler railway station, as well as on the Russian-Abkhaz border.
In addition, temperature measurement awaits tourists in Abkhazia when they check into the accommodation facility. If you suspect a disease, the hotel has the right not to check in the guest. In this case, the tourist, at his own expense, will be sent to the Adler hospital for testing for COVID-19.
It is worth stocking up on medications (those that are used routinely, and may also be needed in an emergency), masks and gloves (for at least 3 days).
If there are no masks and gloves, they can be purchased at a hotel, pharmacy or shop already in Abkhazia. In all crowded places and on excursions in Abkhazia, it is recommended to observe social distance and mask regime. In addition, masks are required for transfers.
As before, it is better to come to Abkhazia with a supply of cash. The republic's ATMs are now experiencing interruptions in issuing banknotes.
According to the Dolphin tour operator, restrictions on crossing the Russian-Abkhaz border have been lifted for citizens of Russia, DPR and LPR, as well as citizens of Ukraine who have a residence permit in DPR and LPR.
The secretary of the Public Chamber Natella Akaba reflects on how to make tourism in Abkhazia pleasant and safe.
Natella Akaba, Analyst
Such is, apparently, the specificity of a resort vacation that, falling into the power of new impressions, people relax and completely forget about caution. And it is not surprising that even in the best resorts of Italy, Spain, Greece, Thailand, which have won worldwide fame, there is a category of people who live off the carelessness and carelessness of tourists. However, a country aspiring to become an upscale resort should seriously consider issues related to ensuring the safety of its holidaymakers. And for Abkhazia, this, perhaps, should become one of the priority tasks.
Beach holidays today are the most attractive for guests of our republic with its not too developed infrastructure and almost complete absence of the entertainment industry. These disadvantages are more than offset by the mild climate, magnificent beaches and water bodies of Abkhazia. However, there is still a lot to be done to make our beaches safe in all respects. Today, there are practically no rescue services, without which not a single cultivated beach functioned in Soviet times. And, unfortunately, not a single summer is complete without tragic accidents, which are often associated with drunk bathing. According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Abkhazia, only last year 14 people drowned, and most of them were intoxicated.
Resort owners who rent beaches should establish rescue services, first aid posts and equip a bathing area. According to the Minister of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Abkhazia Lev Kvitsinia, the department headed by him is ready to assist in the training of rescuers, but their maintenance should be taken over by the entrepreneurs themselves. In addition, employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations conduct annual inspections of the state of the coastline and the sea bathing zone, but, according to Lev Konstantinovich, it is necessary to strengthen the responsibility of the owners of tourist facilities for non-compliance with the rules for maintaining beaches. The minister also believes that penalties should be increased, and persistent violators should be deprived of their license to carry out tourism activities. Kvitsinia also noted that the boundaries of the swim for bathers should be clearly marked and a technical zone for small boats should be defined. Owners of scooters, jet skis and other watercraft are required to equip a technical area and strictly observe it. And, of course, special attention should be paid to the safety of children.
On the eve of the holiday season, the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Abkhazia is preparing in the most serious way to resist all kinds of security threats. Steps are being taken to improve the situation on the roads of the country, which cannot but disturb not only the people who come to us on vacation, but also the residents of Abkhazia.
Head of the Traffic Police Department Nugzar Shoua believes that in order to reduce the number of road accidents, it is first of all necessary to repair the road surface, since some sections of the road, especially to the east of the capital, are in a deplorable state. In addition, in his opinion, an important means for organizing safe traffic is road markings and the installation of road signs.
According to the chief of staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Abkhazia, Murman Gegia, it was recently decided to merge the State Automobile Inspectorate (GAI) and the Patrol and Post Service (PPS) into a single complex - the Police Patrol Service. This new service was transferred to the subordination of local authorities. It is assumed that the resort areas will be under constant control of foot and car patrols.
Russian tourists find their bearings quickly: in the first week after the opening of the border with Abkhazia, about 200 thousand people have already crossed the crossing point, and a significant part of them came to the republic on vacation.
Sputnik, Lev Ryzhkov
Quarantined Russians began to book rooms in Abkhaz hotels literally from August 1, when the border opened.
About 100 thousand people crossed the border in both directions from 1 to 5 August, Sputnik was told in the Southern Customs Administration of the Russian Federation. In five days, the Sochi customs officers issued 20 thousand vehicles - more than 19 thousand cars, 500 buses, 800 trucks. And this is not yet the peak of the season.
The real resort full house, according to the expectations of customs officials, will begin in two weeks, when the resorts are working at full capacity.
But even a full house is unlikely to allow Abkhaz hoteliers to receive as many guests as there were last year - there is too little time left until the end of the season.
Last year, according to the official data of the chairman of the State Committee for Resorts and Tourism Avtandil Gartskia, 1 million 50 thousand people rested in the republic. This year, according to Sergei Tolchin, Abkhazia may reach 40-50% of last year's volume, if there are no "second waves" of coronavirus.
The forecast of the general director of the tour operator "Dolphin" Sergei Romashkin is slightly more optimistic: it assumes a decrease in the number of tourists by 30-40%, and reminds that official statistics can be approximate, since it takes into account not only tourists, but all people, crossing the border.
It was not easy to cross the border in those first days after the restrictions were lifted. At the entrance to the republic, queues of cars are formed.
Every day, as Rudolf Tsiba, the deputy chief of the border detachment of the State Security Service of the republic, said at a press conference in Sputnik Abkhazia on Friday, August 7, about 30 thousand people visit the republic per day, and the number of arrivals has already exceeded 200 thousand.
According to the Southern Customs Administration, the staff load at checkpoints has been exceeded several times.
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With the advent of modern bikes and other bicycle wonders in Russia, as well as the emergence of a demand for a healthy lifestyle, the number of cyclists in Russia is growing by leaps and bounds. This can be seen remarkably from Moscow streets and parks, for example.
Accordingly, Abkhazia, due to its beautiful nature, may well count on a solid number of young, energetic and quite solvent cyclists. We will talk about the organization of cycling tours in Abkhazia here.
For Abkhazia, this is until recently a little-known direction of tourism. It has long been developed in Europe, where you can get high-quality service and experience interesting, scenic routes designed for a variety of age categories and levels of physical fitness. A variety of options are offered. For example, binding to one hotel from which every day follows a departure on a particular route. Or moving from city to city with a stop each time in a new place.
Of course, this requires a clear organization, well-developed logistic schemes and an equally adequate level of service throughout the route of tourist groups. Probably, given the current state of the Abkhaz infrastructure and services, it will be somewhat difficult to match this level.
Therefore, it is wiser for the initiators of such projects to take the Russian experience as a basis. For example, bike tours in Karelia.
Karelia has enough in common with Abkhazia in this context. Picturesque nature, architectural monuments, many sparsely populated places.
When planning this business, there are two ways to go.
Option 1. You have the starting capital to purchase all the equipment you need. In this case, you can count on a fairly wide category of amateurs and beginners. They are provided with everything they need for cycling tourism - not very cool, but good-quality bicycles, cycling backpacks, vests and tent helmets, simple routes are being developed. To begin with, you can limit yourself to a group of no more than ten people, gradually increasing the volume.
On the first day of the last summer month, Russian tourists had the opportunity to go on vacation to Abkhazia. Many people called/wrote to us with questions - is it possible to go to Abkhazia when the border is opened ...
To be honest, I couldn't believe that the border would still be open before the end of summer. Too conflicting news came on this score.
But it still happened - the border was open. And already in the morning of August 1, a line of cars reached the border with Abkhazia.
I tell and show what awaits tourists who decide to spend the velvet season in Abkhazia.
You can treat Abkhazia in different ways, but for many tourists this country has been and remains attractive for a number of reasons, namely:
Therefore, I was not surprised to see at the entrance to the border a large number of cars with license plates of at least half of the regions of Russia. And there were a lot of cars with Abkhazian plates. It is no secret that many residents of the Krasnodar Territory buy cars in Abkhazia and drive with Abkhaz license plates, i.e. it is cheaper than buying a similar car in Russia; however, during the quarantine, they all had to refuse to travel by such cars - the terms of the Abkhaz powers of attorney had expired ...
They don't ask for any certificates about the absence of a "crown" on the Russian border, tourists still need only a passport and a certificate for children. Abkhazians try not to delay at all - drive through, have a good rest ...
The road towards Gagra, after the terrible Adler traffic jams, looks indecently deserted. Together with the buildings destroyed during the Abkhaz-Georgian war, which have not yet been restored (and apparently will not be restored ...), the picture is truly post-apocalyptic.
But the sea, stretching outside the car window, as it should be, attracts blue:
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