According to regional statistics, only 30% of the tourist flow to the Smolensk region lately fell on the clients of tour operators. This year, after the restrictions related to the pandemic were lifted, the share of the organized segment grew to 50% (+ 66%). How tourism is recovering in the region - in our material.
The flow of tourists to the Smolensk region before the pandemic showed positive dynamics every year. At the end of 2019, the region received 350 thousand tourists, which exceeded the values of 2018 by 16% and by 27% - the indicators of 2017. Foreign tourist flow in 2019 reached 23.95 thousand people (+28 in annual terms), which is 6.84% of the total tourist flow to the region.
Now in the Smolensk region there are 17 tour operators, 125 collective accommodation facilities and about 700 public catering facilities. This was reported to Vestnik ATOR by Yulia Nikiforova, head of the tourism department of the investment development department of the Smolensk region.
As for the current volume of tourist traffic, they are, for obvious reasons, small - in August, the region was visited by 21.5 thousand people.
The segment of organized tourism recorded growth. Now the share of organized tourist groups in the region has increased to 50% of the total number of tourists
“The forecast figure for the 4th quarter of 2020 is about 100 thousand tourists. Growth was recorded in the segment of organized tourism. Now the share of organized tourist groups in the region has increased to 50% of the total number of tourists, ”said Yulia Nikiforova.
Considering that earlier the share of organized tourist flow to the region was kept at the level of 30%, then its growth was 66% (or 2/3). This means that, amid the pandemic, tourists have more confidence in organized tourism.
Tour operators interviewed by Vestnik ATOR confirm the growth in demand in the Smolensk direction. Thus, Sergei Romashkin, general director of the Dolphin tour operator, says that according to his observations, this year Smolensk, like some other Russian regions, received an additional flow of organized tourists.
Smolensk, March 27 - AiF-Smolensk. This year, the Smolensk region will host 45 events that are potentially attractive to tourists. The only problem is that potential tourists know almost nothing about them.
A recent trip to the ancient city of Pskov gave me a lot of interesting travel ideas. In particular, just one visit to the local tourist information center provided me with a variety of information about the most interesting events taking place in the city and the region.
A small bright brochure entitled “Event Calendar of the Pskov Region” attracted my attention. On just 12 pages of this pocket mini-calendar, the whole world of bright events in the cultural life of the Pskov region suddenly opened to me, which may be of interest to tourists visiting the region.
I open the brochure at random, read: the military-historical festival "Battle on the Ice", April 21. Reconstruction of the famous battle led by Prince Alexander Nevsky with the Livonian knights on the ice of Lake Peipsi will make you feel like a witness to the battle of 1242. Samolva village, Gdovskiy district.
A minimum of information, a maximum of photos, a free booklet in Russian and English, two dozen selected tourist events that can be viewed in the Pskov region - all that is needed to attract the attention of tourists. For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that the tourist information center in Pskov actively disseminates much more extensive information in social networks.
All this made me think: why is the Smolensk region worse, why do not we have such an event calendar (thick guidebooks with selected events do not count)?
In the heat of tourist indignation, I began to "google" the event calendar of the Smolensk region and look for something similar. As a result, a huge list of events planned in Smolensk in 2013 was found on the website of the regional administration, although it was in Word format and completely without photos. As it turned out, this year we have planned 45 events in the region that could be potentially interesting for tourists. Even if we delete from this list the days of regional centers and other events purely "for show", then there is still a lot of interesting things.
Let's try a little run through this list:
Alexander Tvardovsky's birthday
Farm Zagorye, Pochinkovsky District, Smolensk Region
This year marks 103 years since the birth of our compatriot poet Alexander Tvardovsky, author of the poem "Vasily Terkin". Every year for many years on this memorable day in his small homeland, the best creative teams of the district and the region gather, which prepare a festive program consisting of songs, dances and, of course, poetry, by Tvardovsky.
The Smolensk tour guide Svetlana Khadrankova has a huge experience in tourism - she has been introducing people to Smolensk for 44 years in a row, and most of her excursionists are foreigners who came from all over the world - from the USA to Indonesia, and from Holland to Australia. There are few professional guides with English in Smolensk, but they have more than enough stories for all occasions.
“At first I worked at the Amplifier plant, which was located on the site of the current refrigerator plant,” says Svetlana Khadrankova. “From school, I had good English, and the girls from the factory persuaded me to go to college.” In the Soviet Union, only one travel agency with the self-explanatory name "Intourist" was engaged in receiving foreign tourists, which, despite the "Iron Curtain", was in full swing in Smolensk. After graduating from the institute, Svetlana Dmitrievna got exactly there, which she is still happy about.
“The end of the 60s was the“ golden age ”of Smolensk foreign tourism,” recalls Svetlana Dmitrievna. - We employed 8 translators from 4 languages, including English, German, French and Spanish. During the high season, we took 10-12 buses on weekends. "
Despite the fact that Smolensk is far from warm seas, there is also strict seasonality in tourism. Tourists begin to come here en masse in May, and end in September. Most of the Americans and other English-speaking tourists come to Key City. Surprisingly, the elderly, and sometimes even very elderly people, are most interested in Smolensk.
“Most often enough elderly and wealthy people come to Smolensk who can afford such a long trip,” says Svetlana Khadrankova. - One American tourist in my group was 104 years old. Despite this age, he was much more lively and optimistic than his 76-year-old daughter, with whom he traveled. " In addition to the Americans, Smolensk was visited by many Dutch, Germans, Chinese, Indians and representatives of other nationalities. Today, the most active travelers remain the representatives of the United States, however, American groups are becoming more and more international: among them, for example, Indians and other Asians are beginning to predominate. “Today, tourists are much more relaxed about our country, they used to bring drinking water, towels and even pillows with them, the suitcases were just huge,” the guide recalls. “The questions have also changed, if before they were more interested in antiquity, now they are more interested in the Soviet years and the economic situation in the country and the city, whether it is possible to live on a pension”.
What kind of stories have not happened to Svetlana Dmitrievna over the years of work. Once she took a Japanese tourist around Smolensk for two days, who carefully examined and photographed everything. After a while, during the advanced training courses, the guide learned from her colleagues that the Japanese woman turned out to be a spy who had been detained in Kiev.
New Zealand tourists have made a real "geographical discovery" in Smolensk.
“Driving along Kolkhoznaya Square, they saw smoking sewers and asked me:“ Do you really have geysers too? ”
In recent years, Svetlana Dmitrievna has specialized in working with foster children who were once adopted from the Smolensk region.