The answer to the question of how to lure tourists from other regions to Bashkiria and, most importantly, how to make vacation at home attractive for the residents of the region themselves, has been actively discussed for many years. But a universal recipe has not yet been found. Oksana Nigmatzyanova, an active tourist, shares her views on solving this problem.
Aigul Nurgaleeva, AiF-Bashkortostan: We have our own tourist brand Terra Bashkiria. Do you think our republic is really unknown?
Oksana Nigmatzyanova: In response to the question: "Where did you come from?" in Turkey, Greece, Europe they asked: “Ufa? Bashkiria? Where is it?" I have to explain that it is near Kazan, not far from Moscow. These cities are well known. And Bashkiria is indeed an uncharted territory. They just don't know her. How can you relate to the unknown?
- But if you believe the statistics, about 2 million tourists visited our region in 2017, which is 15% more than in 2016.
- Many guests come to Ufa - to forums, exhibitions, competitions. But they don't become tourists. Because they leave without seeing the city, the republic and without remembering it. Now, if our hotels included a city tour in the cost of living, the attitude would change. For example, schoolchildren from Vladivostok flew to our competition. But apart from the market and shops, they saw nothing. I think that tourism rests on children, they are the ones who need to be educated, to show new republics and cities. And we miss the opportunity to tell about ourselves.
- But the developers of the tourist brand were betting on the unknownness of our territory, taking the word "terra" in the name.
- In some ways I agree with them. But it seems that the brand is referring to some distant time. Indeed, many travel agencies and tour operators want to offer trips to the republic, to Ufa. But the problem is not that we know nothing about history and beauty. There is very little choice now. And if a person comes with an individual request and quickly wants to get a specific vacation, where everything is included, then most often he has nothing to offer.
- A man came on Friday and asked him to pick up a tour in the republic for the weekend. There are no ready ones. I need a day or two to call, find out, book. And the tourist wants to conclude a contract today. All I can do to help him is to give phone numbers, addresses of sites of recreation centers, hotels on reservoirs, lakes. Then he reservations himself and gets there on his own. Basically, my job comes down to a help desk.
Another disadvantage. Sanatoriums, recreation centers arrange promotions, make discounts when booking on the sites. But agencies cannot participate in them. Therefore, it turns out that when buying a ticket from us, a tourist pays the full cost, without any discounts. And when he returns, he expresses his claims to us. And not only for the unsaved money, but also for the service, food, conditions. And as a result, he chooses abroad, where everything is included and cheaper.
- That is, the main thing in choosing a vacation spot is the price?
- Not always. For example, a bus tour to the Black Sea to Anapa for 13 days with travel and accommodation will cost 14-15 thousand rubles. And a three-day trip to the Bashkir natural reserve "Shulgan-Tash" - 9 thousand. There are many routes there - caves, rafting, a national village, this is a must see for every resident of Bashkiria, and even more so for a guest. There are those who wish. But not everyone can afford it. For example, the same trip to Kazan costs half the price.
An influx of tourists is expected in the republic during the New Year holidays, there are practically no places at the recreation centers. At the same time, 2020 was not the easiest time for the tourism industry. External flows decreased, travel agencies' revenues fell, and many were on the verge of bankruptcy. UFA. IF. U learned how the industry survived the pandemic.
Inbound and outbound tourism has been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the closure of most flights, the flow of citizens arriving in the republic from foreign countries has decreased. According to experts interviewed by UFA. IF. U, it fell 80%. The situation is no better with trips outside the region. Here the drop was as much as 90%. For these reasons, many travel agencies focused on external flows found themselves in an extremely difficult situation. Some had to retrain for domestic tourism, while others left the market altogether.
“Before the pandemic, 500 travel agencies were engaged in outbound tourism in the republic. With the introduction of restrictive measures, half of them simply ceased to exist, ”said tourism expert Artur Idelbaev.
“Our share of foreign tourists was about 5-7% every year, - gives an example of the director of a travel agency specializing in inbound tourism, Alexander Goncharov. - With the onset of the pandemic, their number fell to 1-2%. Most of all people came to us from Germany. There were also many from France, Spain, Italy. Now they are practically gone ",
But in the domestic segment of the market the opposite picture is observed: there are much more tourists in the region. So, in the summer months of 2020, about 2 million people visited Bashkiria. Indicators exceeded the same period in 2019 by almost three times - a real tourism boom. By 2024, the tourist flow is planned to be increased to 3.5 million people.
“There is an increase in tourism: these days it is impossible to book rooms in hotels and tourist centers. All seats have been sold until August 31, 2020, ”said Salavat Nafikov, Chairman of the State Tourism Committee.
“In the summer season, many tourists came to us from nearby regions - from Tatarstan, Orenburg and Chelyabinsk regions. A particularly significant flow came from Tatarstan, ”says Alexander Goncharov.
“Among the regions, Bashkiria took the palm in terms of ecological and active tourism. But here the general situation with the covid also superimposed. Traveling abroad was limited, so many decided to relax at home, ”notes Artur Idelbaev.
At the same time, market participants note that despite the increase in the number of vacationers, local firms did not receive large profits. The founder of the travel company Komil Sirazetdinov explains this by the lack of places at the recreation centers. For this reason, most people prefer a tent and a backpack over the convenience of hotels. And the result of this is the pollution of many natural parks in the republic
“There weren't so many places to accommodate the entire stream of people pouring in to us. For example, in the Burzyansky district, a maximum of 500 people could be accommodated at tourist centers at a time, well, even a thousand, if with tent camps. But this is only one time. If more people came, then there was nowhere to accommodate them, ”he explains.
Restrictions in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, a ban on travel abroad caused a real tourist boom in Bashkiria this summer. The number of vacationers in nature has tripled, but the conditions for normal recreation have not been created. About why the tourism industry in the region has not been developed - in the material UFA. IF. U.
The largest lake in the republic, Aslikul (area 23.5 sq. m.) is located 142 km from Ufa. This is the territory of the natural park of the same name, which was created in the Davlekanovsky district in 2011, its area is 47.5 thousand hectares. The reservoir is called the "blue pearl" of the republic. It is included in the Red Book of Bashkiria and is included in 150 regional natural monuments. Officially, the natural park is not open to the public due to the high alert regime in force in the region due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, this does not prevent tourists from coming here to rest. The whole problem is that it is impossible to do this in a civilized manner.
“Employees of the nature park refuel cars with their own money, leaving for work in compliance with order, in order to somehow preserve the life and safety of people,” the appeal said. - The leadership of the Directorate for Specially Protected Natural Territories from June 19, by verbal orders and instructions, forced the inspectors and residents of the village of Alga to go out on weekends and holidays, promising them that they would issue them in accordance with labor relations and pay for fuel and lubricants. Until now, there are no orders and contracts for hiring people ”.
Two weeks have passed, and the situation on the lake has not changed at all. On a day off, July 18, a stream of cars moves to Aslikul from the village of Yangi-Turmush, an inspector stands at the entrance and collects a fee for visiting the natural park: 90 rubles. per car and 150 rubles. per person per day. In fact, the money should be spent on landscaping and creating a comfortable stay. But there are no beaches or campgrounds here, not to mention the sufficient number of toilets with cesspools. Unable to withstand long lines, tourists relieve themselves in the bushes or in the lake. The reservoir itself can hardly be called a pearl - it is overgrown with reeds, turning into a swamp, the banks are overgrown with tall grass. Cows are walking in free pasture. Tourists have pitched several hundred tents on the banks, nearby are barbecues and barbecues, leaving trash behind. After complaints from the park staff, containers appeared, but they are overflowing. But are tourists only to blame for the lake becoming dirty?
“This weekend, July 18-19, 600 cars arrived at a small area near the village of Yangi-Turmush, 400 more without overnight stay,” says Airat Safikanov, a local resident, deputy chairman of the Green Coast regional public organization. - This is one and a half to two thousand people. Where do they all go? In one old toilet, from where the liquid waste goes into the lake. When I asked this question to the new director of the park, she could not find what to answer. And if you count across the entire coastal strip? From this Aslikul has been blooming for many years. And how much waste remains on the shore! "
The activists brought the ASG, bought a netting, poles, held a gathering of the villagers and turned to the Alga village council to determine the boundaries of the territorial public administration (TOS). But at the meeting, the deputies of the village council made a personal subsidiary farm at 6 Central Street, where it is simply impossible to install toilets, garbage sites for separate collection. Naturally, no work is being done there. Nobody supported the initiative.
Misunderstanding arises not only with rural, but also with regional authorities. Igor Pelipenko, chairman of the Green Coast public organization, member of the All-People's Front, says that the activists have well-thought-out plans for the development of TPSG. But everything rests on officials. Eight months have passed since the project of the recreation center with a rescue station, a sealed sewer system, and eco-routes was sent to the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic, which has the territory on its balance sheet. But there is still no answer. Although in two or three years the project would have already been implemented - there are investors for this.
According to the public figure, the natural park is responsible for garbage collection and literally chokes in it: after all, five inspectors cannot cope with this. He is sure that a whole system needs to be built here so that it is always clean around the lake. When problems began due to the influx of tourists, they began to look for the guilty ones, to blame each other. Although everything is simple: you don't need to take money from the park for the maintenance of the bureaucratic apparatus, but invest here! This is not a pandemic, the problem has not been solved for decades.
Meanwhile, senior officials are delighted at how the pandemic has helped the tourism industry in Bashkiria.
Every year the number of people traveling in Bashkiria is growing. But mostly people leave the republic for other regions and countries. And so far it has been difficult to attract tourists to our republic, which is famous for its natural attractions. Experts are sure of one thing - the whole problem is the underdeveloped infrastructure.
At the end of 2017, the number of tourists visiting Russian resorts remained at the last year's level. At the same time, people began to fly more to Moscow, Kazan and Yekaterinburg. In addition, planes appeared in Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, Kaliningrad.
On foreign routes, Istanbul, Prague, Dubai were most quoted, new flights appeared to Bodrum (Turkey), Krabi (Thailand).
From March 25, a transfer to London is available from Ufa with a transfer in St. Petersburg with a minimum connecting time.
New flights were opened to Nizhny Novgorod (from March 1), to Rostov-on-Don from April 1, as well as summer flights to Sochi, Gelendzhik, Simferopol. From June 16, residents of Bashkiria will fly directly even to Batumi (Georgia).
People are traveling more. How did this affect inbound tourism? Bashkiria took 11th place in the ranking of popular tourist destinations. And the Burzyansky cluster and the recreation center "Lake Bannoe" were included in the five best Russian ski resorts, said Vyacheslav Gilyazitdinov, Chairman of the State Committee for Entrepreneurship and Tourism of the Republic of Belarus.
Answering a question about the calculation methodology, the official admitted that tourists are not only guests from outside, but also residents moving within their region. And if statistics on organized tourists are quite simple to compile, then it is extremely difficult to count the “savages” who choose mountain trips or rafting, since they do not use the services of hotels and catering. But a person who bought a ticket to a museum or a bus in a particular locality is automatically entered into the statistics of the tourist flow. For example, even schoolchildren from the region of Bashkiria who arrived by bus to Ufa are considered tourists in the capital. Also, the traffic of mobile calls is taken into account.
“Residents from neighboring small towns arrive in Barcelona, but they are also there in the status of tourists,” Vyacheslav Afrikovich explained.
The State Committee of Bashkiria for Tourism, the heads of the Toratau and Yangan-Tau geoparks and archaeological scientists spoke about the development of tourism in the geoparks, as well as the trends and prospects of entrepreneurial activity at a press conference organized by Kommersant -Bashkortostan "at the Hilton Garden Inn Ufa hotel.
According to Elina Gataullina, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Tourism of Bashkiria, today investors from among the republican entrepreneurs show the greatest interest in the construction of glamping sites (from the phrase "glamorous camping" - "Kommersant"). This is a relatively new type of ecotourism in Russia. Glampings allow you to combine relaxation in beautiful natural places with the comfort and coziness familiar to a city dweller. Tourists are accommodated in equipped heated tents, tents, yurts or eco-houses.
Last year a concept for the development of glamping was developed, this year we expect to take measures to support the organization of engineering infrastructure and the acquisition of the complexes themselves "
Investors are provided with federal support: they can receive grants in the form of subsidies provided by Rostourism based on the results of the competition. At the same time, at least 30% of the amount of the requested grant must be invested by the entrepreneur himself. Last year, the maximum amount of federal support was 3 million rubles.
According to Elina Gataullina, 33 sites have been identified in Bashkiria for the placement of glamping sites in the Gafuri and Salavat regions. They are placed on the investment attractiveness map of the region and on the investment portal of the Republic of Belarus. Most of them are located near rivers for tourists-rafters to stop there. Also, work is underway on another 110 sites, which will appear on the investment portal in the near future, said Mrs. Gataullina.
According to the State Tourism Committee, over 100 thousand tourists visited the natural parks of Bashkiria last year. During the New Year holidays, the occupancy rate of tourist centers in the republic reached 90-110%, which is 2% more than in the same period of 2020. One-day routes and sanatoriums were in the greatest demand.
Another promising area that the State Tourism Committee is trying to actively develop is Geoparks. In Bashkiria, two geoparks have been created and are functioning: Yangan-Tau and Toratau. Today, the government of the republic is developing a package of measures to support and develop them, as well as discuss additional preferences for their residents, said Elina Gataullina.
General Director of the Geopark "Toratau" Ainur Samanov said that several points of attraction for tourists have been identified. Among them is the shikhan "Toratau", where an eco-hotel built by local entrepreneurs together with the administration of the Ishimbay region is operating, and the construction of a visit center is nearing completion. Also, the Geopark Directorate intends to create an ecotrail on the Shihan this year in order to minimize the damage to nature caused by visitors. In one day off the mountain is visited by about 1.5 thousand people, on weekdays - about 400-500, Ainur Samanov said. The eco-trail will be made of eco-friendly materials. It is planned to place it on the most gentle northeastern rise.
The eco-trail should not disturb the general background of the mountain and be as invisible as possible. Since the shihan has a protective status, all work is carried out in agreement with the Ministry of Ecology of Bashkiria "
An arts center will be built in the village of Voskresenskoye, Ainur Samanov said. The concept of its creation won the All-Russian competition for the best projects to create a comfortable urban environment in the category "Historical settlements". For its implementation, the Geopark will receive 45.4 million rubles from the federal center. Also in the village is located the oldest copper smelter in the South Urals, which is another point of attraction, said Mr. Samanov.
From September 1, 2020, even more Russians will be able to take advantage of the certificate for additional education for children.