In 2009, the owners of 78 accommodation facilities were engaged in rural tourism in the Altai Territory. This year (successful for Altai tourism in general) there are already 175 of them. This is the official statistics. However, according to market participants, there are actually many more so-called “green houses” in the region. Since this tourist sub-industry is not regulated by law today, within its framework you can be offered both a comfortable cottage and a hut without running water. The correspondent of "SK" talked with the participants of this spontaneous market and found out how to make a "house in the village" your business.
Rural tourism, agritourism - the concept has many names, but it does not have an official interpretation in Russia. Conventionally, this is a vacation in rural houses, an opportunity to plunge into village life after city life. Since the region implemented a targeted program for the development of rural tourism in the last years, the most active owners of "green houses" have been able to seriously advance in development. For example, Larisa Pastukhova, the owner of the "Inn" estate in the Charysh region, received 220 thousand rubles of state support. And Alexander Kokorin from the Smolensk region was given a subsidy of about 700 thousand rubles to reimburse the costs of building the estate.
These people are among the most active owners of rural tourist houses, who put a lot of effort into their development. For Larisa's family Pastukhovaya tourism is the main source of income. Therefore, she regularly participates in industry exhibitions and seminars and posts information about herself on the Internet, using every chance to tell about her "Inn".
Pastukhova organizes author's excursions for guests and connects other residents of her village Sentelek to work. She also provides a choice for tourists with different needs: of the three houses in her estate, one with a toilet and shower inside, two others with outdoor facilities, and for the most unpretentious there is a camping near the Charysh River. The "inn" expanded the boundaries of the tourist season and began to receive guests from May to October. Moreover, they book in advance not only weekends, but also weekdays.
“Five years ago we bought an abandoned house built in 1939 in the center of the village on 16 acres of land. They restored it and began to receive guests. It is difficult to say how much was invested - at least 600 thousand rubles (this includes not only the purchase of a house, but also its reconstruction, a bathhouse, a gazebo, landscaping, etc.), - said the hostess of the Inn. - Now there are three manual cabin guesthouses on the estate. Loading - up to 16 people. But to make the guests more comfortable, we limited the entrance to 10 people. We cooperate with 20 residents of the village: someone delivers village products for tourists, someone excursion services. For them, this is an additional income. We invented many excursions ourselves, while the first three years we worked independently. To the mountains, to maralniks, to the archaeological complex Tsarsky Kurgan, etc. ”.
But not all green house owners devote all their time to them. For many, the reception of tourists is not the main source of income. For example, pensioner Andrei Pokidko in the Altai region simply rents out summer houses with outdoor amenities to tourists (can accommodate up to 20 people). He pays no attention to promotion, does not organize excursions - he is satisfied with the current state of affairs. As a result, he notes that his season is short: July-August. The same is the case with Elena Markova from the Soloneshensky region. Although she has been renting out the house she inherited for the seventh year, the number of vacationers at her place is not growing and rather depends on random factors. Last year, for example, her estate was visited by more guests than in the current sunny season: for two months, workers lived there, who repaired bridges after the flood.
“This is due to the fact that rural tourism is rather a side business for us,” Markova explained. “My main place of work is in the ethnocultural folklore center. We don't do much advertising. "
Word of mouth is the main method of promotion for most estates. And if the weather is good in summer, such PR is enough to provide the small tourist flow that they need (200-600 people per season). Mostly Siberians come, but there are also guests from the capital and foreigners. Most of those who deliberately choose a holiday in the village are not embarrassed by uncomfortable houses.
“These people want nature and simplicity,” says Larisa Pastukhova. “I always try to talk to the guests in detail over the phone the conditions in which they will live. The person must understand that he is going to the countryside, where the toilets are mostly outside. If I understand that a tourist has requests that we will not satisfy, I suggest a place that suits him best. "
What does it mean to be the owner of a manor for tourists? At the request of guests, independently prepare food (attracting helpers only in case of a large influx of tourists), cleaning and washing, personally be in touch with their vacationers. The owners of camp sites delegate all these responsibilities to administrators, maids, and cooks. But the owner of the estate cannot afford it.
He also participates in the leisure of his guests. “We talk about vacation plans in advance. Guests either want to just sit and relax, or go somewhere. They puzzle me, and I fulfill the request, ”says Elena Darenskikh, the owner of the“ green house ”in the Soloneshensky district. - For example, they want to see waterfalls or Denisov's cave. They need transport - I find drivers. Then I prepare the bathhouse for their return. I myself show them local attractions if asked. "
Over the year, an increase in the number of tourists by 100 thousand people is predicted, compared to last year. According to estimates, the Altai Territory will be visited by residents of more than 60 countries of the world.
The fact that Altai is interesting for tourists is not news since Soviet times - the unique nature, mountain beauty, the purest lakes attracted those who wanted to walk with a canvas tent, sit with a guitar by the fire.
But the whole Altai as a whole was perceived, and even now is perceived by many visitors, as a single whole, without division into a region and a republic. Well, the regional authorities have for a long time defended the uniqueness of the tourism potential of their territories. Largely due to this, people in the region started talking about the organization of the small and large “Golden Ring of Altai”, the development of the tourist zone “Turquoise Katun”.
The Governor of the Altai Territory Alexander KARLIN in his message to the deputies of the AKZS this year said that “with our active participation, an important decision was made to transfer the main set of powers to manage special economic zones of tourist and recreational type, including our "Turquoise Katunya", at the regional level. This made it possible to attract five residents (the first of which has already started implementing a project to create a modern investment-intensive tourist and recreational facility) and approve investment projects in the amount of more than 2.5 billion rubles. "
The population has been hearing about Turquoise Katun, the pride of the regional leadership, for 10 years already - it was in 2007 that a decision was made to create a tourist zone near the Katun River from the Altai Territory. It seemed that in a year or two, dozens of structures would appear here - hotels, campgrounds, multi-storey parking lots, food courts, an arboretum, an equestrian center, a hunting farm, and a developed mountain-skiing complex. But it turned out that the slopes of the mountains here have little snow, not like the Kuzbass Sheregesh, investors are in no hurry to build, and it is still far from the completion of all the planned works. By the beginning of 2017, 10 years after the loud start, 24 objects were operating here - including an artificial lake for swimming, a ski slope, several hotel complexes, an apiary, shops, cafes.
Although there is visible progress - more hotels have appeared, the entrance to the lake is beautifully decorated, barriers have been set up, infrastructure has appeared around the reservoir, the lake itself has been surrounded by a fence. Behind the fence, for example, there is one public toilet that did not work in May, another, in the center of the tourist area, is publicly accessible, but hand dryers and toilet paper problems do not work in it. These are, of course, trifles, but they show the level of tourist service. It is still provincial.
There is no need to talk about the large tourist load of places popular in the Altai Territory in May now. Construction work is slowly going on at Turquoise Katun, many tourist centers are still empty in the neighboring villages of Aya and Katun, and some hotels are completely closed in anticipation of an influx of guests.
According to Rosstat, the number of hotels and other accommodation facilities in the Altai Territory is growing, but unevenly. In 2012, there were 202 of them, in 2013 - 200, in 2014 there was a drop to 188, and in 2015 the number of placements increased to 233.
The number of hotels was the maximum five years ago - 116. The number of furnished rooms decreased by one and a half times over the last five-year period. The number of motels in the region has not changed for 8 years - there are exactly three of them. The number of boarding houses has decreased by 4 times since 2006. Hostels, having experienced a period of some revival in the late 2010s, have returned to the level of a decade ago.
According to the member of the Federation Council from the Altai Territory Mikhail SHCHETININ, the number of tourists coming to the Altai Territory is growing. If in 2015 the total tourist flow in the region reached almost 2 million people, then in 2016 the tourist flow increased by 10%.
Last year, the tourism industry of the Altai Territory rejoiced: the region was visited by more than 2 million tourists. It was assumed that today the increase will be 3-5%, but in the summer it will be high! - only 880 thousand guests came to the region during the season.
Obviously, there will be no growth. Let's not break our spears about the methods and reliability of the calculation. We will not make excuses with Turkey, which has again come off for the Russians. Let's talk about our own, paradoxical: why Altai attracts tourists, but not enough?
"The Altai Territory has a great historical and cultural potential: almost all epochs of human development are represented here," says Viktor Isaev, candidate of historical sciences, lecturer at Altai State Technical University.
A lot of interesting things will be revealed in the themes of the Altai Old Believers and the Altai Cossacks. For example, few people know that it was the Cossacks who laid the foundation for cheese making. And in the Cossack villages, the first dairies appeared.
"In order for some objects and some topics to" work ", of course, support is needed - both financial and organizational," the scientist-historian is convinced.
An illustrative example is the project of the Beloyarsk fortress, which is considered one of the most ancient Russian settlements in Altai. By the way, this year marks the 300th anniversary of its construction. The enthusiasts who developed the project handed it over to the Heritage Scientific and Production Center, which has now been liquidated. He still lies somewhere.
“Meanwhile, it is very interesting in terms of the development of suburban tourism,” says Viktor Viktorovich. - It seems that they have chosen a suitable place, and the object itself would have looked very beautiful. It could be used in a variety of activities. But somehow it didn’t work ... ”.
Offering interesting services to tourists is an initiative of an entrepreneur who builds, sells vouchers, and comes up with new tours. What, in the opinion of entrepreneurs, is still lacking for the development of the industry in the region? What kind of help is waiting for the tourist business?
In recent years, many events of federal and even international scale have been held in Altai: the APR management forum, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization forum, as well as major industry events like the Winter Grain Conference and others. Participants in such events fall under the category of business travelers. Business travelers are those who travel for business purposes. But not only: after business meetings and seminars, the business traveler also wants to relax and see the local beauty. That is why Altai is in demand for various events. However, experts note that the direction of business tourism in our region is still poorly developed: it will receive an impetus in development only when solving problems common to the industry related to infrastructure.
"Business tourism includes two components: organizing business trips and holding various kinds of" events "(forums, seminars, incentive trips for distributors, team building events, etc.)", - explained "VD »Vadim Zelensky, Chairman of the Russian Association of Business Tourism. To designate business tourism in international practice, they use the abbreviation MICE (M - meetings (meetings), I - incentives (incentive trips), С - conferences or congress (conferences, congresses), E - exhibitions or events (exhibitions, events)./P >
In Russia, this industry is still quite young, it is no more than 15 years old. It does not yet have its own standards or legal framework. However, according to analysts' forecasts, in the coming years the business travel market will grow in our country faster than in the USA and Europe. Today its volume is estimated at no less than $ 7 billion.
The MICE segment is also beginning to form in Altai. Local tour operators have been providing this kind of services to companies for several years. “However, we do not have specialized firms organizing such events,” says Irina Slesareva, vice president of the Altai Regional Tourism Association. - Often the organization of meetings and conferences is carried out by the same structures that collect and finance the event, including state ones. In my opinion, this is a promising development market ”.
To increase the business tourist flow, the region needs, first of all, sites where large-scale business forums could be held. Conference rooms in Barnaul are located at many hotels. However, all of them are designed for no more than 100 people. Accordingly, the city cannot count on high-profile business events. “Once we received an order to hold a conference for 400 people. But we could not find worthy accommodation facilities, interesting to the customer: in this regard, it was Gorny Altai that was very interesting to him. We wanted to hold a conference in Barnaul, using the premises of the Mir cinema, and then go to Gorny. But the customer did not agree to go far, ”said Olga Guseva, manager of the Altaytourist company.
When it is required to organize an event with a large number of participants in the regional center, the organizers are forced to turn to the rental of premises that are not intended for that, for example, in a drama theater or a musical comedy theater. As noted by tour operators, today there are specialized sites of the required level only at the resorts of Belokurikha. Therefore, it is she who is popular all year round with both Altai officials and business representatives. This year, there is going to "move", in particular, the international youth management forum "APR", designed for 1.5 thousand participants. Last year it took place at Turquoise Katun.
“Every year we host 30-40 events of various levels,” says Oleg Akimov, director of strategic development at Resort Belokurikha. - Last year there were two major ones: the first international forum "Rural tourism in Russia" in June and the forum of the "Shanghai Cooperation Organization" in November (more than 500 people took part in each). The latter took place in the hall of the Belokurikha sanatorium, designed for 360 people. But the most in demand is the hall in the sanatorium "Siberia", it can accommodate up to 300 participants of the event. Designed specifically for conferences, equipped with a broadcast system: central screen plus six additional screens in the hall; there are systems of simultaneous translation, video and audio protocols, the walls are covered with special sound-absorbing material. Events in Siberia are held every week. "
According to experts, Altai should rely on such objects, and the fact that the center of business tourism in our country does not coincide with the regional one is logical in our case. In cities with a population of one million, the business tourist flow has been and will be greater than in Barnaul; but in Altai it can be increased using the "natural advantage" - the unique natural beauty in the mountainous regions. “In business tourism, the natural factor is important,” says Alexander Smirnov, director of the Plot travel agency. - The same Novosibirsk does not have such a recreational potential, coupled with a sufficiently developed infrastructure, as we do. I believe that on the scale of the entire Siberian Federal District, the potential for the development of business tourism is greatest in our country. Even in Irkutsk, where there is such a gorgeous natural object as Lake Baikal, it will not work to do something large-scale: a very weak hotel base. "
So far, orders for trips with business purposes from Altai tour operators are no more than 7-10%. Most of them are local businesses. Sometimes there are expensive orders from companies from Moscow and other large cities: enterprises buy out a base in Gorny Altai for several days in order to hold some kind of corporate event there and at the same time look at a new beautiful place. Such bases as "Aya", "Tursib" or "Areda 1" provide guests with not only rooms and meals, but also conference rooms for 50-200 people. According to tour operators, for three days and two nights, such an order can cost 1-2 million rubles.
But they're pretty rare. Therefore, none of the representatives of the local tourist business thought about focusing on the development of a business direction among their services: there is a long-established stable demand for the rest, and tour operators are satisfied with this state of affairs.
The situation with air transportation is also a long-standing problem for guests from other regions. “To come from the same Ulan-Ude or Irkutsk, northern regions, certain manipulations are needed. Last year, guests from Perm and Yekaterinburg could fly here only through Moscow, ”recalls Tatyana Sazhaeva, director of the Okhota travel agency.
- What is rest? This is the desire to get a piece or two of life. Let for two or three weeks, but be transported to an unfamiliar world, to join something bigger, irrational, - Moscow experts of the Center for Strategic Research - Region Foundation believe that this is exactly what a vacation in Altai should be like. Last week they presented the regional target program "Tourism Development in the Altai Territory" (the program was presented in the Altai region as part of the annual meeting on tourism. It is expected to be finalized in July, and approved by the governor by the end of the year). It is assumed that our hospitality industry will develop according to this document.
In a nutshell, it will be complex. The Moscow experts especially pressed on this: we need coordination of actions, a unified management and promotion system, the creation of regional quality standards, according to which everyone, without exception, will work, and an information base on personnel, security.
- As for the management system, tourism clusters will be formed on a territorial basis, - announced Denis Denisov, expert of the Center for Strategic Research - Region Foundation. - Currently, there are four or five zones - Belokurikha, Altai district, Biysk district, Zmeinogorsk, where there is already a tourist flow and a tourist activity management system has been organized. In fact, these points can become engines of growth for areas where tourism is not particularly developed at the moment.
The bottom line is that everyone can be involved, and there is a hope that sooner or later investors will come to those areas where they are not expected. In the Sovetsky District, for example, routes have already been developed, there are also routes with a visit to the Swan Sanctuary, but there are no people willing to start organizing them yet.
Experts strongly recommended the development of children's, rural and historical and cultural tourism. For example, to create myths and thereby give tourists "something more, irrational", to be guided by the reception of family vacationers.
- Security is a matter of principle, - said Vladimir Kuznetsov, an expert of the foundation. - In my opinion, you can not spend 50-60 million on exhibitions, but decide something to support emergencies and then position the region as a place stronger in Russia from this point of view. Let's bring the infrastructural conditions to mind - safety, medicine, children and families. Plus the protection of nature, and then we should have a picture of an "Alpine-style" recreation.
Nevertheless, you will have to invest in promotion, and significantly. And it's not just about exhibitions - you need to do targeted advertising in target regions, create TV projects. In a word, sound no less than the resorts of the Krasnodar Territory. Although, judging by how Vice-Governor Mikhail Shchetinin blamed the Belokurikhintsy (see "Comments"), we are still far from that.
Experts also talked about threats: the tourist flow will begin to dry up if the quality does not improve, if everyone is on their own, if they cannot resist competition from Siberian regions (Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk) and inexpensive foreign countries. One of the weaknesses of Altai tourism was named the inconsistency of the material, infrastructural base of the cost of services. Simply put, the prices are overpriced and the quality is lame.
- There should be a training center for working specialties, because at the moment there is an overabundance of managers of the tourism industry and few people who can really work "on the ground" - guides, guides, tour guides, - said Denis Denisov ... - And if we teach a maid, then 50-60% of the time should be spent on practice. This requires, for example, attracting accommodation centers in Belokurikha.
The problem is finding money for the project, no, there is a problem of time. Making a cultural project for Gornaya Kolyvan is not a question, in a year it will be supported by the Potanin Foundation and 40 thousand dollars will be given for it. Microfinance in Russia has been established, there are a lot of grants, the main thing is that the topic is interesting and “tasty”.