We are falling down, and there is no limit in sight ": how Russian travel agencies survive in closed borders

Ecotourism organization

Tourism is developing in our country at a tremendous speed. This is a fairly lucrative industry that is ideal for starting your own business. How to start a travel business, and how to make it successful, you will learn in this article.

Business Registration

Tourist activity is not subject to licensing, it can be carried out by both legal entities and private entrepreneurs. Before starting a tourism business from scratch, you should complete all legal steps established by law.

The tour operator must have financial security or a bank guarantee:

It is not at all necessary to have such an amount in a bank account. It is enough just to insure your activities. The cost of the insurance policy is 0.4% of the total amount. The tour operator must be registered in the Unified Federal Register.

In addition, you need to obtain a certification certificate, which is a confirmation that all services provided by your company meet the established standards. The more various diplomas and certificates in your office, the more clients will trust you. These can be diplomas issued for charity, or for participation in various advertising campaigns.

Starting capital

If you do not have the funds to invest in your business, at first you may not need to rent an office space. It is enough to have a lot of friends and acquaintances, a telephone and a computer with Internet access. Sell ​​tours that are offered by major travel companies and get a commission from it. Collect the earned money to accumulate start-up capital.

In addition, you can get a bank loan secured by collateral. Investors should not be counted on as they are reluctant to invest in tourism.

In order for a business to develop, it is necessary to invest a certain amount of money in it.

Scheme: travel agency business plan

How to start a travel business

Administrator "over a year ago

"Author's tours" is a very fashionable and demanded direction these days. People turn less and less to travel agencies, preferring to travel on their own, or looking for tours of interest. But despite the increased interest, this market niche is relatively vacant.

This business is not for everyone. You must understand that this is work with people, you must love people, and be able to interact with them, be quite sociable, and be 100% included. You should also love travel, long-distance travel, be erudite in your topic, have a positive attitude. Tours that I do: ski tours to Sheregesh, active tours to Gorny Altai, yoga tours to Gorny Altai, health tours to Lake. Spring.

How the idea came about

It all started with my first visit to Sheregesh, where, after living for three days and getting my first snowboarding skills, I realized that I really wanted to develop my tourism business here. After analyzing the market, I found out that I have 2 competing companies, these are young active guys who have been on the market for several years and have succeeded well in this business. But 2 is not 20, and I decided to act.

After getting to know the competitors, I immediately told them about my intentions (competition should be healthy), it turned out that they are aimed at young people, their main audience is students, older people rarely travel with them, because they are not entirely comfortable with the youth get-together, and they basically don’t take families with children. I decided to occupy a free niche, and made a portrait of my potential client: men, women, age 25-50, married couples with children, the level of income is average, slightly above average.

Based on this, I have developed a program targeted at my client audience. Having made 6 tours, we closed the ski season with a massive descent in swimsuits at the famous festival "Grelka Fest", and I realized that I want to work in this direction in the summer, since the topic of author's tours is very interesting to me and makes a profit, that's how yoga tours appeared and active tours to Gorny Altai, health tours on about. straight.

Since I did not have large investments, I minimized costs, but a small start-up capital was still required for advertising.

Creating an author's tour in stages

1. First of all, you must decide on the place where you will take the tour, it must be some kind of promoted tourist facility (ski resort, seaside, lake, spring, mountainous region, etc. ...), geographically convenient for you.

2. It is necessary to decide on housing: a hotel complex, a tourist center, a hotel, a chalet, a cottage. It is better to work with regular partners, so you can count on an agency fee, but it is better to find 2-3 partners for insurance.

Let's talk today about tourism, highlighting an interesting area called ecological tourism.

This type of recreation has earned our attention for a reason. Every year the eco-tourism sector grows more than ten percent worldwide. This is evidence that people are coming to understand the importance of ecology, as well as the protection of the wealth of nature. And entrepreneurs are building green businesses.

What is this

Ecotruzim is one of the areas of tourist activity, which provides for both the preservation and improvement of the natural cultural heritage. As a rule, these are protected reserves that need care and financial support.

Simply put, this is a journey into the natural depths, unity with nature, the study of flora and fauna, which does not involve harming them. We will talk about certain activities that are included in such tourism.

Eco-tourism activities

One of the features of ecological tourism is that technology is not used for travel. Simply put, forest walks by car or bus are not part of this type of recreation. Therefore, there are events that are popular among green tourism lovers:

  • Horseback riding in the forest and field. Undoubtedly, for travelers to be able to return, it is necessary to determine the route and a guide must be with them. You will also need an instructor who will quickly teach tourists how to ride.
  • Hiking tours along mountain, forest paths. This is one of the most difficult, but at the same time interesting types of ecological recreation. In this case, you will also need an experienced guide familiar with the area. You also need a route map.
  • Cycling. We talked about the fact that the technique is not used. However, you can use transport that does not violate the ecological situation. For example, bicycles.
  • Kayaking or boating. In this case, travelers should be accompanied by swimmers-rescuers, since anything can happen on the water.
  • Fishing from a boat or from the shore. You can cook an excellent fish soup from a fish! It is only necessary to ensure that the vacationers remove the garbage after themselves.
  • Hiking to the forest for berries and mushrooms. It is necessary that the accompanying holidaymaker is well versed in berries and mushrooms, because you can collect poisonous ones.
  • In winter, skiing or any other kind of skiing can perfectly diversify tourist rest.

The list can be continued indefinitely. Any good organizer of ecological recreation will be able to come up with many more interesting entertainments that will not harm the surrounding nature. And we will talk about how to implement the idea of ​​an eco-tourism business.

What you need to organize this business

Recently, there have been a number of important changes in international tourism in terms of diversifying travel goals and changing priorities in tourist preferences. Such transformations have led to the emergence of new forms of spending on recreation and content enrichment for classic forms of tourism. Of these, the following forms are especially appreciated by tourists:

  • Business tourism;
  • Cultural tourism is the main component of urban tourism;
  • Rural tourism.

Business tourism

This refers to the travel of people for purposes related to their work: these are trips for official, commercial or other interests, participation in various events organized by companies or administrative bodies for their employees. Although such trips involve some activities, they are assimilated with tourism, as their organization and deployment includes the use of tourism facilities for accommodation, food, recreation and the consumption of special services provided by the holiday organizers.

Business tourism currently accounts for over 20% of total international travel worldwide and almost H of total tourism revenue, with significant differences across countries. Business tourism is one of the most dynamic components (with the highest growth rates) of tourism activity. As a result of the intensification of international relations, especially economic ones, we are witnessing an increase in the demand for business trips, a diversification of the forms of these trips. Thus, travel can be internal or external, depending on the beneficiary and their outcome.

Company employees benefit from forms of business tourism with an inherent character, and their motivation is aimed at increasing their productivity and increasing efficiency. Such actions lead to participation in seminars or meetings of company management with some employees, in order to gain better knowledge, exchange experience, solve specific problems, through actions to train personnel or update their training, through actions carried out outside the enterprise, or in specialized companies. such as training centers, research or university institutions, either in hotel units with appropriate facilities, or in purely tourist settings.

External actions are aimed at the good development of companies' activities and consist of professional travel. These are: - supervision or administration of works; - provision of technical assistance; - work on construction sites; - marketing search work; -participation in various fairs, exhibitions, congresses. Depending on their content, the forms of business tourism are:

  • General business tourism, known as "delegation";
  • Meetings or meetings;
  • Fairs and exhibitions;
  • Travel Stimulus.

Delegations are activities of people who work for a limited period of time outside the workplace (sales representatives, journalists, etc.).

Meetings - This form is associated with participation in events such as meetings, conferences, symposia, congresses, colloquia. It is considered one of the most common forms of business travel. Due to the growing need for information exchange in all areas, meeting tourism is booming.

Forbes continues a series of texts on what is happening to small businesses in Russia amid the coronavirus pandemic. Every week, we analyze various areas of business that are in crisis, and through the personal stories of entrepreneurs, we tell what the industry needs. The second episode focuses on small travel agencies that were among the first victims of the virus.

“The market will just lie down”

The week from March 16 to March 22 has become truly black for small travel agencies: 95% of companies' revenues have dropped to zero, almost all have abandoned offices, and from April 80% of players will work without employees at all. Alexey Kozhevnikov, vice president and head of the Opora Rossii tourism committee, cites the figures. “We are falling down, and there is no limit in sight. What is there to talk about? This is like a collapse for the industry, ”he says.

The situation is aggravated by the demands of tourists to return money for their tours "right now". Travel agencies - intermediaries between tour operators and buyers - cannot fulfill this requirement: they immediately transfer the funds received from clients to the operators, leaving themselves a commission of 7-8%. “Tourists need to understand that they can ask for money now, but the probability of getting it is extremely small. The costs of travel agencies not only exceed revenues - there is simply no income, all payments have been suspended. We advise taking vouchers and postponing trips to a later date, ”says Maya Lomidze, Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR).

“The costs of travel agencies do not just exceed revenues - there are no revenues at all, all payments have been suspended”

Travel agents in Russia have a harder time than, for example, in some countries of Europe or the United States, which have officially introduced an emergency situation (ES). Foreign air carriers and hotels refuse to return money to travel agencies, citing the provisions of international treaties on force majeure. And Russian agencies are obliged to fulfill their obligations to consumers of tourist services, because Article 14 of the Law "On the Fundamentals of Tourist Activities in the Russian Federation" contains an indication that upon termination of the contract, the tourist will be refunded the entire amount paid, explains Elena Kozina, senior partner of the law firm Elko pro ". “This is an extremely difficult situation,” she sums up.

After the government instructed the Federal Air Transport Agency to cancel international flights from March 27 (except for those allocated for the return of Russians to their homeland), the only hope remained for domestic tourism. He sagged less - on average by 40%, says Lomidze. According to the representative of Aviasales Janis Dzenis, up to 80% of the entire air transportation market in Russia today accounts for domestic flights, "which have not yet been banned, and there are still passengers there," and in Sochi, Krasnaya Polyana, the number of bookings for long-term stays increased by 15% ... “Until the end of May, there will be no serious shocks. But if nothing is done to support the industry, 60% of small and medium-sized companies will close. The market will just go down, ”Lomidze predicts.

"It was a blow in the gut"

Tatiana Wand, the owner of the Wand travel agency, is not surprised by crises: for thirty years, they have thoroughly damaged the tourism industry, says the entrepreneur. Wand entered the tourism business back in 1993: she had to feed two children, and the salary of a physics and mathematics teacher after the collapse of the USSR was not enough. Borders opened, and 35-year-old Tatiana opened a travel agency named after herself for 130 rubles she had saved. I rented a room in the center of Moscow from an acquaintance who, instead of money for rent, took her first ticket to Greece, and after four months she turned out to be a plus.

Planned business growth was interrupted by the 1998 crisis. The bank in which Wand had business accounts collapsed, work stopped. "It was terrible. We had a lot of money hanging there, and many tourists were locked up abroad - there was simply nothing to return them back, ”Wand recalls. There was no support from the state, banks burst one after another, and clients preferred to resolve issues not through the courts, but "inciting" gangs of bandits on the agency's office, the entrepreneur recalls.

“We have already been through swine flu, bird flu. They also thought that there were a lot of people in China, they would get sick and stop. ”

Wand somehow got through the "filth and dirt" of the 90s, but in 2005 a new disaster struck: the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, which struck dozens of countries and killed 200,000 people. “A lot of people didn’t fly away. They also came, took by the breasts, shouted: "Give us back the money!" - the entrepreneur recalls. Then, in order to pay off debts, Wand had to urgently sell an apartment in Moscow, which she earned thanks to the business.

The 2008 crisis, which was deadly for many, was almost painless for the agency. "Have endured," sighs Wand. The entrepreneur had to lay off 15% of the employees, the rest she cut the salary by half for two months. The consequences of the annexation of Crimea were more serious: in 2015, due to the fall of the ruble, revenue fell by 60%, to 38 million rubles. They escaped according to the same scenario.

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