Sergey Ivanov: “Tatarstan should become a champion of hospitality in our country”
The educational Hospitality Forum took place in Kazan on 20 November where they discussed the issues of improving the quality of service in tourist centres of Tatarstan through training, workshops and trainings for local members of the tourism industry. The participants of the industry were explained what is the essence of the concept of the brand Visit Tatarstan and why it is time to move the “standard” European service to the background focusing on folk traditions and famous Tatar hospitality. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
European service vs Tatar hospitality
The forum brought together about 400 representatives of line staff of hotels, cafes and restaurants, museums and excursion centres of Tatarstan. The organizers prepared trainings for them on communication, sales increase, conflict resolution and hospitality standards. All this is to create an even more comfortable and favourable atmosphere for tourists in the republic.
“The topic raised on the forum is not new. We all talk about it periodically, but, it seems to me, we do not yet fully possess, know and understand what we are dealing with,” said Sergey Ivanov, the chairperson of the State Committee of Tatarstan on Tourism. “We do not fully know what we should do to make a person say: ‘Indeed, I have been in Tatarstan and hospitality is just great.’ We need to be very well versed in this matter.”
The speaker also added that it is important “not to be afraid to turn to your history, traditions and roots” — this will only play into the hands of the tourism industry of the republic.
“As a rule, we already do not notice European, Western standards. Now the tourist is looking for something else — some ethnic peculiarities. In this part, we still have something to work on. Tatarstan and all of us as a team should become champions of hospitality in our country. It is important to concentrate on something additional that you can bring to the guest: to tell about our traditions, how people greet us, how it is customary to pour tea and so on. It is very important not to be afraid to be a little different — different from other regions and territories. At the same time, it is necessary to be sincere, attentive and professional,” Sergey Ivanov told.
Zufar Gayazov, the chairperson of the board of the Association of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Kazan and Tatarstan, also stressed the importance of hospitality and the inseparable link of this quality with the Tatar culture.
“On the eve of the centenary of the Tatar ASSR, our association together with Kazan Innovative University named after Timiryasov publishes a very interesting book The Secrets of Tatar Cuisine, in the preface to which it is just written about the hospitality of the Tatars. It also contains the statements of Karl Fuchs — a man who knew a lot about the customs and traditions of the Kazan Tatars. He stressed that they are very hospitable people, and this quality is considered one of the most important,” said Zufar Gayazov.
To see Tatarstan and die
The brand Visit Tatarstan, which is, in fact, the official programme of development of the tourism destination of Tatarstan, was presented for the participants during the forum. According to Director General of the Tatarstan Tourism Development Centre Dilbar Sadykova, “many think that the brand is just a visual picture, but, in fact, it is a big programme including internal and external work”.
“The first goal of the programme is to place Tatarstan on the tourist’s mental map. We want everyone to dream of seeing Tatarstan as much as everyone wants to “see Paris and die”. We want every person on Earth to have our republic in the top 10 must-see places,” Dilbar Sadykova shared her great plans. “The second goal is to place the tourist on the Tatarstan mental map. We want to have great interest in this sphere from the state, businesses and investors so that young people will want to study and work in this sphere.”
To achieve the goals that were set, first of all, it is necessary to create a “clear and homogenous image of tourist Tatarstan”. In this respect, Dilbar Sadykova reminded that some “still confuse Tatarstan with Kazakhstan and even ask if a visa was required to visit our republic”.
“Development of our unique lifestyle is also important. In general we, residents of Tatarstan, are seen from two perspectives. Firstly, as determined and stubborn, Tatarstan is ahead of the curve. Secondly, we are seen soft and hospitable — we are always glad to see a guest and welcome him with pleasure. The next task is to unite the activity of the whole tourism sector and improve infrastructure. It is also necessary to work on the concept of the prestige of the tourism sector,” the head of the Tatarstan Tourism Development Centre gave a speech.
Apart from, the programme includes visual development applied in souvenirs, providing tourists with information through a special site, which is available in eight languages, accreditation for establishments as well as excursions and competitions.
Head of the Association of Restaurateurs of the Republic of Tatarstan Galina Sharafutdinova concluded the official part of the forum who reminded the participants that the philosophy of the brand Visit Tatarstan “is in 1001 delights” and “it is necessary to deliver it no matter where you work: in a hotel, museum or restaurant”.