How New Year holidays ended in Tatarstan and if coronavirus restrictions will be eased
Kazan hosted 140,000 tourists in 10 days
The festivities related to the celebration of New Year traditionally started in Tatarstan almost a week until 31 December. In general, according to all agencies that prepared and hosted them, there were held about 6,000 cultural and sports events, while nearly 450,000 residents of the region and its guests participated in them.
According to Tatarstan Vice Premier Leyla Fazleyeva, all events were first-class, but accidents couldn’t be avoided. Representatives of the government, Ministry of Culture, State Committee for Tourism, State Fire Safety Inspection Service and the Kazan City Administration summed up the results of 10-day holidays at a special briefing on 11 January.
As usual, they started with positive news: tourist traffic started to return to pre-COVID-19 times in Tatarstan and its capital. During 10 days, more than 140,000 tourists visited the republic — by 2 January, hotels and hostels were 79% full, noted Fazleyeva, then the rate rose to 90%.
The Kazan Kremlin, other landmarks of the Tatarstan capital are among the favourite sites of guests. The island town of Sviyazhsk, Great Bolgar, museums of Yelabuga and Chistopol arouse tourists’ interest.
Tatar Santa Claus living in Kyrlay village and his granddaughter Snow Maiden managed to host nearly 3,000 guests, not only from other regions but also from Tatarstan residents. Last year, the village won a grant from the Federal Agency for Tourism thanks to which it renovated the exterior and interior design, which certainly made the tourist landmark more popular, speakers think.
Leyla Fazleyeva emphasised such a New Year project as the New Year Tree of Wishes. She says that Father Frost received about a thousand letters from children in 2021.
In the letters, little residents of the republic asked him to meet with the Tatarstan president, travel to Moscow, Saint Petersburg or Baikal, there were a lot of wishes for different gadgets. But as the vice premier noted, most of them aren’t children’s wishes but “tips” of their parents. By the way, children’s letters continue arriving in the Tatarstan government, while those received in the administration of the Cabinet of Minister and president didn’t go unnoticed, the speaker noted at the briefing. Also, school-based and countryside camps opened during the New Year holidays on the territory of Tatarstan, a total of 144 establishments where over 4,000 schoolchildren could spend the holiday.
Tourists prefer Kazan Kremlin and Tatar Santa Claus
Deliberately organised charter flights from Moscow to Kazan made their contribution to the grown tourist traffic, which included accommodation and a special cultural programme, vice chair of the Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism Aygul Balakhontseva complemented the vice premier’s report. 800 people took advantage of discounts (from 14,000 rubles per person).
Three charter trains delivered another 510 tourists to the New Year city. The tourists arrived from Izhevsk, Samara, Penza, Ulyanovsk and other cities of the Volga Federal District by railway.
A tour for two adults with a special programme cost from 10,000 rubles, it was from 7,000 rubles for a 5-10-year-old kid.
As Aygul Balakhontseva noted, New Year Trees of Kazan and a tour to the island town of Sviyazhsk ranked first in tourists’ preferences. They held 80% of the full list of services. A tour to Tatar Santa Claus’s village and a trip to the Raifa Monastery on Christmas were second in terms of requests and popularity (18%).
By the way, another stage of the tourist cashback programme starts in Russia on 18 January — the government will return 20% of the tour cost for a trip across the country, but no more than 20,000 rubles. Russians can choose a destination and pay for it until 12 April.
Fire, road accidents and violations of COVID-19 rules
Accidents couldn’t be avoided on the long holidays. Leyla Fazleyeva complained that no matter how much parents prohibited their children from riding tubings, there will anyway be found those who stubbornly prefer this way of going down a hill. As a result, there were 35 accidents with different injuries. Also, cold days and children spending much time outdoors without control lead to frostbite — three cases were registered.
Snowstorms, snowfalls and, of course, violations of the traffic code caused 84 road accidents on the republic’s roads. 17 children got injured in the accidents, two died.
Also, a total of 110 fires were registered in different districts of the republic. As a result, seven people died, six Tatarstan residents got different injuries, Vice Chief Inspector of the State Fire Safety Inspection Service Maxim Trushchin provided the sad report.
Still, he noted, compared to last year’s holidays, the statistics improved: the number of fires reduced by 20%, the amount of deaths did by 5%. The main causes of fires didn’t change — the violation of fire safety rules as well as the malfunction of furnaces, chimneys and flues.
At the end of the briefing, Leyla Fazleyeva noted as head of the republican coronavirus task force that inspections were carried out during the festive days in the republic — there were over 400 inspections, “about 10% of establishments permit violations of anti-COVID-19 measures,” she said:
“The restrictions that were imposed were scheduled for the festive period. The fate of restrictions depends on the next week: we will see… Of course, since there is a fall in the incidence, the mask regime is again not followed, the temperature isn’t measured, QR codes aren’t strictly checked at the entrance… But inspections are carried out, the Ministry of Internal Affairs continues working, reports are made, reports of Russia’s consumer rights protection watchdog are made, the work doesn’t stop… We are working with those restrictions that were imposed. While it is possible, despite the fall in the incidence, we should understand that the measures must be followed.”