Oksana Sargina, Tourism Development Centre of Tatarstan: in 2017 tourists will feel comfortable here

Oksana Sargina, Tourism Development Centre of Tatarstan: in 2017 tourists will feel comfortable here Photo: Roman Khasaev

Director general of Tourism Development Centre of the Republic of Tatarstan ANO Oksana Sargina is one of the most active functionaries who is working on defying the stereotype that there is nothing to look at in Tatarstan. Like citizens of Kazan believed that Kazan is a tourism city three years ago, the whole republic should realise itself in a new way. Oksana thinks that we will be surprised at the results in 10 or 15 years. In her New Year column, she shares her plans for 2017 with readers of Realnoe Vremya.

I am certainly one of those people who make plans for a new year. It always is a new stage of development, an opportunity to draw conclusions correctly and change plans for the next year, correct mistakes and clearly set tasks. The end of the year is time to think about perspectives waiting for us in the next year, to lay the foundation for future achievements. Success in the new year directly depends on how correctly conclusions of the previous year were drawn and plans were made.

Results of the work say we are in the right direction because I have optimistic expectations of the new year. Only positive people who try making the republic the most hospitable and comfortable place working in tourism. This is why we try thinking optimistically and expect a positive result.

Tourism brands of the key tourism centres of the regions Great Bolgar and Island City of Sviyazhsk were created. Photo: Maksim Platonov

Many important changes took place in tourism in 2016. Firstly, official tourism brand Visit Tatarstan was presented. Its major task is to represent Tatarstan as a region for comfortable holidays where every guest will have unique experience and incredible impressions. Moreover, tourism brands of the key tourism centres of the regions Great Bolgar and Island City of Sviyazhsk were created. We also organised the first professional award among hotels and restaurants ''Tatarstan Top Hotels Award'' and ''Tatarstan Top Restaurants Award''. Due to our active work, the first professional exhibition for hotels and restaurants ''Horeca_Kazan 2016'' took place.

In 2016, a big project on opinions of tourists Tourism Quality Service was launched, a big project on education of residents of the Republic of Tatarstan called Friendly Citizen was fulfilled. We started to educate students and schoolkids in 2016. We gave face-to-face hospitality classes for 11,000 students of colleges of Tatarstan. There are talks in class on Tourism and Hospitality Lesson in Kazan schools and districts of Tatarstan that were not on the list for face-to-face classes. 45,000 people are participating there!

Now we are actively working on implementation of Visit Tatarstan by developing tour destinations. We will be able to estimate the results in 10 or 15 years when tourists associate Visit Tatarstan as comfortable and quality holiday in Tatarstan.

''We will present tourist a new branded tourist route of Visit Tatarstan named Tatarstan. Land of 1001 Delights in 2017.'' Photo: Maksim Platonov

Every year brand Visit Tatarstan will realise several the most important projects because it is impossible to fulfil many quality projects within a year. In 2017, we plan to accredit tourist sites, create a new route, produce souvenirs, introduce analytics, improve Visit Tatarstan portal, development social networks, create new tourism videos, unusual offers and co-branding projects.

In 2017, the focus will be on creation of a full-fledged set of tools for comfortable stay of tourists in the republic. It is a tourism portal, social networks, of course, recommended sites for tourists with high-quality services among hotels, restaurants, tour operators, guides, transportation, museums, souvenir shops that will be selected within the Visit Tatarstan accreditation programme. The Visit Tatarstan accreditation is designed for bringing the whole tourism market of the Republic of Tatarstan to a single standard of quality services.

We will present tourists a new branded tourist route of Visit Tatarstan named Tatarstan. Land of 1001 delights in 2017. The route is due to be launched in spring 2017 together with the biggest tour operators of Tatarstan. The route won't only tell tourists about the republic. Tourists will be able to become residents and part of our traditions, history and culture. It is a unique route that shows a unique lifestyle of Tatarstan that tourist can join.

''Pins, cases, socks, rucksacks, decorated cushions, adornments are available on shelves of souvenir shops.'' Photo: instid.org

We will continue creating a new generation of souvenirs Visit Tatarstan for tourists. In 2016, there were created about 30 things – magnet, notebook, umbrella, handkerchief, sweatshirt, polo, T-shirt, raincoat, adornment collections. One part of them is created, while pins, cases, socks, rucksacks, decorated cushions, adornments are available on shelves of souvenir shops. In 2017, we will continue working on development of retail souvenir sale points, complete the production of casual things for all seasons together with all local producers.

Next year we will start working to estimate the popularity of Tatarstan because it is important for the future and current image of the region. We will continue working on Tourist's Portrait and examine our audience to create Tatarstan's promotion strategy. A big project on reputation management will be launched in 2017. It will allow us to quickly react to comments about Tatarstan and tourism, define the tone and correct the current position on the Internet. We hope to pay greater attention to common projects with local companies, continue to actively work on advertisement and PR of Tatarstan to increase the coverage through social networks, unusual videos and offers.

It is impossible to fulfil all goals in both personal life and work of the Tourism Development Centre of Tatarstan within a year. All our plans are ambitious and global! I think in 2017 we will achieve all our goals both in terms of the development of the brand and development of Visit Tatarstan's team. Personally, development of the team is an important part of the work for me because everyone has their own talents and possibilities that need to be discovered and directed in the right direction.

As for me, next year I am going to get two degrees and continue my professional self-development.

By Aigul Chuprina