''Abau effect'' by Ivanov: quick trip to Tatarstan for four days and $500

''Abau effect'' by Ivanov: quick trip to Tatarstan for four days and $500 Photo: Maksim Platonov

On 15 March, the Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism presented a new branded route ''Tatarstan: 1001 Delights''. Within four days, tourists are promised to be shown key objects of our republic not in the usual format of a ''point-to-point bus trip'' but close communication with locals during excursions, master classes, unobtrusive class of the Tatar language and acquaintances with the history of Turkic dishes in halal establishments. Realnoe Vremya's report tells the details how the ''abau effect'' will be made for ''a bit raised price'' for Tatarstan guests.

It's called a wow effect in English, in Tatar, it's ''abau'' effect

The route ''Tatarstan: 1001 Delights'', which was presented in Marhaba halal restaurant (the visit to oligarch Ayrat Bashirov's establishment is included in the tour) will last for four days and include three cities – Kazan, Sviyazhsk and Bolgar. Groups of up to ten people are made, while a personal attaché will accompany them. In addition, the guide will also have a function of acquainting guests with the Tatar language.

Chairman of the Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism Sergey Ivanov explained the difference of the new branded tour from already existing. According to the speaker, the routes that exist now in Tatarstan focus on certain objects only (a tourist goes on a bus, he is brought to one point, then to another one and so on), while the creators of the new tour decided to go further.

The route ''Tatarstan: 1001 Delights'' will last for four days and include three cities

''Now tourism develops all over the world to get the greatest experience as a traveller. People don't want to be tourists – they want to be travellers. In other words, they want to discover something new to them, they want individualisation, they want to learn local lifestyle, live like locals, try what locals eat. The new route was precisely created in accordance with world trends,'' Ivanov explained. ''A person must go home and say: ''Yes, the Kremlin is beautiful, Bolgar is beautiful, the mosque is beautiful, but during the trip, I took a sword in my hands, put chain mail on, tried to be a medieval knight, I crossed a river by boat like 300 years ago, I knew what the traditional tea ceremony is, I knew how people eat chak-chak and so on.''

As director of the Tatarstan Tourism Development Centre Dilbar Sadykova explained, the programme is built with a visit to tourist sites and sightseeing points that are known to many people. However, the manner of presentation and dialogue will be unique: ''It's important for us that every traveller takes pleasant impressions and emotions. It's called a wow effect in English, but in Tatar, it's ''abau'' effect.

''The prices are probably higher than standard group tours to Tatarstan''

A tour price varies depending on accommodation. If you book a single bed in three-star Nogay hotel, the tour will cost 30,990 rubles (a double is 25,990). Four-star Relita for one person is 31,990 (an option for two people is cheaper again – 26,990 rubles). Five-star Mirazh with accommodation for one person will be 40,990 rubles (the option for two is 32,990). Sergey Ivanov fairly notes: ''The prices are probably higher than standard group tours to Tatarstan. But our task is not to compete with standard products.''

Dilbar Sadykov also commented on the tour's price by announcing the data on how much tourists spent while staying in Tatarstan: ''Men, by the way, spend about 26,000 rubles, while women – a bit less – 23,000 rubles. There is a question: ''Is it because they travel with men or alone?'' Sergey Ivanov replied with a joke: ''Men pay in Tatarstan.''

Dilbar Sadykova explained lasting trips were a difficulty for many travellers

For the mentioned sums, guests will have the following programme: on the first day, tourists will acquaint with the history of Tatar cuisine in a halal restaurant in which they will be treated to not only chorba, manty and other dishes but also told their history and revealed secrets of ancient recipes. We need to note that alcohol is strictly prohibited in the establishment (different teas are the main option), also there is a room for prayer. Then the guests go on tour to the Kazan Kremlin where they will meet Tatar Queen Syuyumbike who will tell them about the Kremlin's secrets. Then there will be a walk by cycle rickshaw on the embankment, a visit to the big wheel and, finally, a tea ceremony where the guests will acquaint with Tatar traditions through interaction and a costumed show.

The second day is dedicated to the trip to Sviyazhsk where the locals will tell the tourists the island's legends. The guests will also taste Russia cuisine, horse yard and Sviyazhsk workshops. The third day is optional – a trip to Bolgar or ''soaking'' in a spa complex. As Dilbar Sadykova explained, such a decision was made because lasting trips are a difficulty for many travellers: ''In general, the route is oriented to the audience from 25 to 35 years. But one can have a rest in the spa complex for body and soul on the third day and then visit Urban Panorama complex and exhibitions of the office of the State Hermitage on the third day, so it will suit all.''

The last day is dedicated to Tatarstan pleasures: guests will go on an excursion to the Old Tatar Settlement accompanied by Grandma and Grandpa who will also acquaint the guests with the Tatar language, songs and cuisine. The travellers will also go for a walk on the Kaban embankment, know the 18 th-century architecture. And degustation of Tatarstan liquors in Arysh Maye museum shop is the final point.''

According to the chairman of the Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism, the route was created together with the local community of tour operators

''If we successfully work this year, we plan to present it in the international market''

According to the chairman of the Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism, the route was created together with the local community of tour operators: ''Now five tourism companies fulfil it (Kazan Travel Bureau, Travel&Work, Persona Grata, Sputnik-Hermes-Kazan and Kazan Tourism and Information Centre). We offered all companies, five tour operators replied, and we started to work. We hope there will be a certain number of tourists by the first date of the tour, and then we will gain speed.''

''This year we plan to present our route in the Russian market. It's clear it's not a mass product. But we want it to become a brand,'' said Ivanov. ''The number of visits next year can be bigger, the number of groups can also increase. If we successfully work this year, we plan to present it to the international market. There will be probably small changes because foreign tourists are different from ours, domestic ones.''

Dilbar Sadykova notes that after Tatarstan accepts the first group of tourists on the new route, some corrections can be made, and even new places can appear.

''Of course, we want to show all places in Tatarstan: Chistopol, Yelabuga, Tetyushi and so on. Somebody is interested, for instance, in oil extraction in Almetyevsk. But the tour's task is to show key places for four days. There already was a project of the tour that had more points. But analysis showed that such an option doesn't completely suit for a holiday in a normal regime. I think after hosting the first group, there will be some amendments. There is also an idea to launch branded routes and visit other places,'' Sadykova concluded.

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By Lina Sarimova. Photo: Maksim Platonov
Tatarstan