New Year's tourist flow to Tatarstan breaking records again — it grows by 13%

A shocking fact: tourists were often interested in what to sightsee in Innopolis

More than 170,000 tourists visited Tatarstan from 30 December 2019 to 8 January 2020. This is a new record — by 13,3% more than in the same period a year earlier. Realnoe Vremya has summed up the results of the New Year's tourist campaign, finding out about how a German hitchhiker basked in Kazan on the way to Baikal, why the Chak-Chak Museum will have to expand, and what the most popular requests were sent to the tourist mobile app.

More tourists have visited Tatarstan during these holidays than last year

Official statistics have appeared recently on how the holidays went for the tourism sector of Tatarstan. The State Committee for Tourism of the Republic of Tatarstan reported that more than 170,000 tourists visited the region during the New Year holidays. Last year, this figure was “only” 150,000. A simple calculation shows that the republic has been visited by 13,3% more guests than a year earlier. It is more than 20,000 people — so many people live in the city of Buinsk.

Kazan International Airport received and served 71,000 passengers during the holidays: this is by 7,5% more than in the same period last year. 51,300 people travelled by domestic airlines (Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi have become the most popular cities), the number of passengers of international flights has increased by 18,6% compared to the New Year holidays in 2019.

The island town of Sviyazhsk has also broken all its records and received 34,104 tourists for during the holidays: this is by as much as 47% more than last year. The Yelabuga State Museum-Reserve has shown a 24 per cent increase: 8,138 people have visited the museum. The five-star hotel Kol Gali Resort&Spa in Veliky Bolgar was 100% occupied on New Year's eve and Christmas, and the average load for the holidays was 97%. The resort city Sviyazhsky Hills received 72,000 people (last year, it was visited by 65,000 people during the holidays).

But, of course, most actively tourists were walking around Kazan.

The first tourist in the Kazan Kremlin in 2020 was from Nizhny Tagil

The Kazan Kremlin Museum-Reserve has a new lighting — colored arches, stylized under the ethnic ornament. By tradition, all the trees were decorated here. The light figures of Snow Leopard and Zilant were placed on the observation platforms, neon snowflakes were “planted” on the fence of the square, and a cozy New Year tree was decorated in the Cannon yard. In short, as always on New Year's holidays, the Kremlin looked fabulous and elegant.

During the New Year holidays, 178,507 people walked there — by 15,3% more than last year. It is difficult to distinguish what proportion of them belongs to Kazan residents, but the fact that more than one and a half thousand excursions were sold in the Kremlin's ticket offices in 9 days (and they are, of course, mostly bought by tourists) speaks for itself. More than 200 new year programmes, master classes and quests were held there. In general, the museum-reserve was working hard while everyone was on vacation.

It works 365 days a year (and in the leap 2020, it will work 366!). On 31 December 2019, its ticket offices closed at 4 p.m., and on 1 January 2020, it opened at 10 a.m. The communication marketing department of the museum-reserve told Realnoe Vremya that the first tourists who bought the tour were guests from Nizhny Tagil.

The unspoken contest for the longest queue did not bring any surprises: the exhibition 'Matisse. Picasso. Chagall...' laid all competitors flat on their backs on this indicator. During the holidays, it was visited by more than 8,000 art lovers.

Health resorts welcomed the new year with the greatest benefit

According to the Tatarstan Tourism Development Centre, Tatarstan hotels were loaded by an average of 79,6% during the holidays. This is slightly higher than last year in the same period (78,4%). During peak dates — from January 3 to 5 — 97% of rooms in hotels were occupied (last year — 96%). The health resorts of the republic experienced the peak of occupancy on New Year's eve: everything was 100% booked there. The average occupancy of Tatarstan health resorts during the holidays is estimated at 95%.

The average tourist spent 2-3 days in Tatarstan: over this time, it was quite possible to see the main sights and to taste chak-chak and qistibi.

Dilbar Sadykova, the director general of Сentre For Tourism Development of the Republic of Tatarstan ANO told Realnoe Vremya about where the bulk of tourists concentrated on holidays, and as a bonus announced their most popular search requests:

“Bauman Street, the Kremlin embankment, the Kremlin and the Black Lake Park became popular locations among tourists during the New Year holidays 2020. In the period from 1 to 8 January, the official tourist portal Visit Tatarstan was visited by 2,822 users. Most of them were looking for information from smartphones. 37,2% of visitors are between the ages of 25 and 34, 24,7% are from 35 to 44, 18,3% are from 18 to 24, and 19,8% are over 45. The most popular search phrases were: 'Visit Tatarstan', 'Kamskoye Ustye', 'Khan's Сourt Kazan 2020', 'Innopolis what to see', 'ice village Kazan' and 'weekend in Kazan'.”

Tourist Pass app was downloaded 20% more than in the previous month

The downloads statistics of Tourist Pass adds to the picture of tourist activity. It is a mobile application for tourists with integrated payment system. It was developed by Ak Bars Bank together with Centre For Tourism Development of the Republic of Tatarstan ANO. The application contains information about tourist sites and routes of Tatarstan, the schedule of events. Among other things, the application user can issue a virtual Mastercard card, top it up without commission from any Russian bank card and enjoy a wide system of privileges: 15% discounts in museums of Tatarstan, bonuses up to 10% in bars and restaurants of Kazan, 10% discounts in entertainment centres and discount on tickets to events. The list of project partners includes more than 45 partners.

The press service of Ak Bars Bank told Realnoe Vremya that over the past month statistics on downloads of Tourist Pass increased by 20%: now the app has already been downloaded 2,500 times, and more than 900 virtual bank cards have been issued. Statistics in comparison with the New Year holidays 2018 can not be given yet: the app was launched only in July 2019. But the very fact that the number of downloads has grown steadily over the past month confirms a growth of tourist traffic to the city during the New Year holidays.

There wasn't enough space for everyone in the Chak-Chak Museum

Dmitry Polosin, the head of the Chak-Chak Museum, told Realnoe Vrmeya that the museum received 1,400 people during the holidays. There is no open exhibition here, but only organized programmes with a maximum number of visitors up to 30 people. Therefore, there was not enough space and time for everyone:

“Those who did not get on the museum programme were limited to visiting our Tea House and souvenir shop. Here, of course, there is also something to see, but some were upset. During the holidays, we usually have a high load. Even during this period, we organized an author's walking tour around the Staro-Tatarskaya Sloboda, which was created and conducted by Tatar rock musician Radif Kashapov. The 2020 holidays have shown: we definitely need to expand to meet the demand of everyone. The festive programme is not finished yet, and we will be finalizing the final statistical results later, but we already have information that our guests came from all over Russia. There were people from the North, and residents of the Primorsky regions, and, of course, residents from Moscow and St. Petersburg. There were also many foreigners.

Rustem Valiakhmetov, the director of another iconic tourist place in Kazan — the Museum of Soviet Life — also noted a traditional surge in attendance:

“There are no exact figures yet, but several thousand people came to us over the holidays, many of them tourists. Every day something interesting happened: for example, once German Hans Mayer came to warm up and stayed with us for a couple of hours. He travels to Russia by hitchhiking — going from Germany to Baikal. He said that he had specially chosen the winter time of the year for a trip to our country: to see everything “in white” and boast the power of the spirit to friends. His dream is to swim in Baikal Lake. And there were a lot of other interesting people during the holidays. Traditionally, foreigners come to us — thanks to that we are present in most international guides. During the holidays, we met Indonesians, Chinese, Australians, Europeans of all stripes, and Americans in the museum.

By Lyudmila Gubaeva

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