Tourist Tatarstan: number of foreign visitors increases, but purse of the visitors becomes thinner

Realnoe Vremya has drawn up a list of the top 11 facts discovered through the work of the Tatarstan tourist market

Tatarstan State Committee on Tourism has recently reported on their successes and failures. As the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya found out at a board meeting, more and more Russian and foreign tourists visit Tatarstan, the Kazan Kremlin has broken its record for attendance, however, visitors of Tatarstan have become poorer. Read the details in the top 11 facts by the results of the committee's activities.

1. Tourist flow to Tatarstan grows by 13.5% a year

By 13.5% more tourists come to Tatarstan a year on average, and by 17% more services are provided for them. Thus, taking into account the related industries, the tourism industry brought 19.5bn rubles in 2016.

2. The number of tourists reached almost 3 million people

In 2016, despite the lack of major events, the Republic managed to attract 2.9 million people, which is by 7.5% more than last year.

There was a significant growth in individual countries. For example, China — plus 33%, Finland — plus 36%, Iran — plus 54%, India — plus 63%, said the head of Tatarstan State Committee on Tourism Sergey Ivanov. Photo: Maksim Pl atonov

3. Tatarstan was visited by 250.000 foreigners

Last year, 250.506 foreigners visited the Republic of Tatarstan. It is by 6.7% more than in 2015. According to Federal Migration Service, the first place among the tourists belongs to Turkish citizens — they were 13.466 people. Second — to China with 10.000 people, and then — Germany with 6.296 people, North Korea — 2.657, and India — 2.651.

At the same time, there was a significant growth in individual countries. For example, China — plus 33%, Finland — plus 36%, Iran — plus 54%, India — plus 63%, said the head of State Committee on Tourism of RT Sergey Ivanov.

4. There is more than a hundred of new tour operators

Despite the crisis, a number of companies involved in the tourist industry is growing. During the year, 104 new tour operators were registered, 32 of which work in the sphere of domestic tourism, and 65 — of domestic and international.

5. A number of hotels and hostels is growing

Eight new hostels and hotels appeared last year. In total, today there are 360 collective accommodation places in Tatarstan. At the beginning of 2015, 32% of all accommodation places were classified. As from 29 January, their share has risen up to 90%.

As for the average load of the hotels, it though insignificantly but increased and added one percent up to 55% in a year.

The island town of Sviyazhsk has broken the record for attendance. Photo: Dmitry Reznov

6. Attendance of the Kazan Kremlin increased by 700.000 people

The number of tourists who visited Tatarstan coincides with the number of visitors of the Kazan Kremlin. In a year, the number of visitors to the main tourist site of Kazan has grown by 700.000 and amounted to 2.9 million people. The record in the growth of tourists was broken by the island town of Sviyazhsk, where the number of visitors increased from 261.000 to 525.000 people in 2015. By the way, last year they conducted an extensive work on the water approaches to the pier, which allowed to accept multi-decked ships. Within the framework of the federal target tourism development program in 2017, there will be built an intercept parking.

Having such a significant growth, Sviyazhsk outpaced Yelabuga by attendance. Yelabura was visited by 467.000 tourists, Great Bolgar – by 472.000 guests.

7. Tourist's wallet has become thinner

ANCO (Autonomous Non-Commercial Organization) Tourism Development Center of Tatarstan conducts the study of the portrait of a tourist, collecting data from surveys. The year of 2016 showed that most tourists come to the Republic for vacation. However, business activity has begun to fall since January of last year. According to other reports, most tourists come to the Republic for 2-3 days, a little less — for 4-7 days. More active are women, they are more than men at any time of the year. By the way, most visitors answered that they are married and have higher education. By occupation of the tourists, they mostly work as a manager or a specialist, the second place — a head of an enterprise, the third place — a division manager and a civil servant.

According to Oksana Sargina, two years ago the tourists with income more than 30.000 rubles per month per person prevailed. In 2016, 40% of respondents said that the income per family member amounts to 20.000-30.000 rubles. Photo: Roman Khasaev

Among the changes, in the results of the study Oksana Sargina, the head of Tourism Development Center, noted the fact that the content of a wallet of a tourist has changed in a year.

''As for incomes, two years ago the tourists with income of more than 30.000 rubles per month per person prevailed. In 2016, 40% of respondents said that the income per family member amounts to 20.000-30.000 rubles,'' said the speaker.

8. Travel market has been united under one brand

In 2016, State Committee proudly presented the concept of VisitTatarstan, which has brought together the tourism market of the Republic under the common brand, actively promoted in Russia and abroad. The continuation of the work was the presentation of two tourism brands — Great Bolgar and the island town of Sviyazhsk.

9. December in Kazan was a failure

Despite overall positive results, the board could not help but mention the unexpected December decline in the tourist flow to Kazan. The first to raise the topic was Deputy Prime Minister Vasil Shaikhraziev. He reiterated that the competition takes place even in the domestic tourism market and ''Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Sevastopol, Yalta, Barnaul are also not asleep''. Having noted that there were many New Year events in the city, Deputy Prime Minister came to the conclusion that there was something they did not take into account. Shaikhraziev called to develop medical and business tourism.

One of the main objectives for 2017, according to Sergey Ivanov, is the implementation of the complex program Visit Tatarstan. Photo: Roman Khasaev

10. The English language remains one of the main problems

One of the major problems in the reception of foreign tourists is that employees of the industry do not speak English. There is not enough information in foreign languages on objects of tour service in the Republic. The director of Byuro Puteshestviy Elena Ilkun, listing the problems, also noted the lack of decent river fleet and a shortage of buses. In the latter case, there arises another difficulty — unreasonably inflated cost of rental vehicles. In Kazan, the bus rental is more expensive by 15% than in Moscow, and by 25% than in Saint Petersburg.

11. Main objectives for 2017 is to attract Tatar tourists and to take advantage of the potential of the rivers

Sergey Ivanov identified five main objectives for 2017. It is the implementation of the complex program Visit Tatarstan, the development of small river fleet in the waters of the Volga River and the Kama River, strengthening of the work on attracting foreign tourists, working with representatives of Tatar diasporas. Now together with the World Congress of the Tatars it is being elaborated a special tour product for the Tatars from other regions and countries. Besides, taking a lead among the tourist destinations on the Internet, successful holding of the Confederations Cup and the preparations for the World Cup in 2018.

By Mariya Gorozhaninova