'Smelling a sheep' in Kukmor: new shopping tour launched in Tatarstan
Sodruzhestvo suburban passenger company, with the support of the Kukmor district administration, is launching a new route for industrial tourism
Kukmor is the number one news provider among Tatarstan regional centres this week Surprisingly, but all the news is good. The district was first marked by President Minnikhanov for record milk production then was awarded 'The Order of Merit for the Republic of Tatarstan', and then the president visited a large family from Kukmor. A new unique route has been added to the tourist map of the republic — a shopping tour from Kazan to Kukmor. Tourists are taken by train, in Kukmor they are taken to three enterprises and to the local history museum, they are given a hot lunch and taken back to Kazan. Realnoe Vremya found out how this will happen and how to treat the unexpected prospect of meeting crowds of tourists at the enterprises themselves.
How it will work
Every day, nine trains leave Kazan for Kukmor, and eight return. There are no special “tourist trains”: you can just get on the train, preliminary calling the customer department of Sodruzhestvo suburban passenger company — and a guide will meet you in Kukmor. It will take guests through three famous enterprises in the city: the felting and felt factory (Kukmor Valenki brand), Kukmara metal dishware and household items factory and the garment factory. Then there will be an excursion to the local history museum, Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral, then a hot lunch in a cafe. After that, the culturally enriched and well-fed tourist gets on the train and goes to Kazan.
It is better to leave for sightseeing purposes in the morning: it takes about 5-6 hours to take a leisurely tour of the Kukmor enterprises and attractions. Plus about three hours on the road in one direction — and you get a full and non-banal route for the whole day. The only drawback of the route — it does not work on weekends (or rather, there are electric trains, but there are no excursions): the enterprises included in the programme are closed at weekends.
The tourist programme (including lunch) costs 700 rubles per person (plus electric train tickets: 218 rubles in one direction on a regular ticket, all the necessary discounts are made for beneficiaries).
If you plan a mass tour (for example, a school class or a work group), you can order a special transfer from the station to the enterprises: Sodruzhestvo has a contract with a local motor transport company. This scheme works the same way as the route to the island-city of Sviyazhsk: a bus meets the tourists and takes them from the railway station directly to the gates of the museum-reserve.
The launch of the tour is timed to the 100th anniversary of TASSR
Yevgenia Andreeva, the expert on public relations at Sodruzhestvo, told Realnoe Vremya:
“We have developed this tourist route in coordination with the administration of the Kukmor district. Kukmor is one of the new directions, we timed its launch to the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Tatarstan's statehood. It has operated in pilot mode since the end of 2019. Over this time, we have transported about 400 people on this shopping tour and we think that the direction will develop. Inside Kukmor, all facilities are within walking distance, but if some groups are organizsed, it is possible to negotiate about the provision of a bus.
Separate tours around different enterprises have been held in Kukmor for already a long time. But now a multi-modal excursion route has been created, including a chain of enterprises (of course, with access to branded stores) and cultural objects of the city. This will allow you to cover everything at once and get acquainted with the rich industrial history of the region. Local guides work on the route.
Agreements with the administration have been oral so far: it is beneficial to everyone. The enterprises, according to Andreeva, reacted to this well and are happy to show the production facilities to tourists.
“Some visitors cover their nose and mouth with scarves. It's not very pleasant”
Lyalya Sharipova, the director of the Kukmor felting plant, an enterprise with a century and a half of history, expressed an ambivalent attitude to the new project:
“Personally I don't like it. But if this improves the image of the plant, the image of the entire district, we, of course, agree. Don't get me wrong, adults walk around the plant and look at working people — this is not very comfortable for our employees. Of course, we have instructed the workers, they understand everything. If children come — this is our future, they are more ok with it. But as for adults, some visitors cover their nose and mouth with scarves: because the shop has a specific smell of wool and sheep... This is not very pleasant, people work there for 8 hours, after all. But at the same time, we can't close it all. So we have dual emotions: it seems to be good, and it would be good to show to people, but there is also the shortcoming. Of course, advertising goals are important for us: people will first see how our products are made, and then go to our store and buy something. Of course, this is the main thing for us. It will be a little difficult because the working week is five days: there will be no excursions on Saturdays and Sundays.
An experienced employee who thoroughly knows the history and technology of production gives the tour around the felting plant. There are different excursion programmes for different categories of tourists: preschoolers are told one thing, school children — another, and adult groups — third.
Elvira Bikeeva, the head of the marketing department of Kukmor factory, also noted that frequent excursions can affect the operation of the company, but in general, she considers this step as positive:
“We evaluate the organization of shopping tours positively — both for the city and for the enterprise in particular. This will be more of an image step than a method to raise sales. The tour takes 30-40 minutes, the number of people present — preferably no more than 15 people. Frequent excursions, of course, can affect the operation of the enterprise, but it works around the clock seven days a week, and it is impossible to halt the production process in this case. Besides, the company is considered a hazardous production facility.