Pre-pandemic tourist traffic is back to Kazan, but there is staff shortage

Most tourists came from Moscow and Saint Petersburg as well as from Samara, Ufa, Cheboksary, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod

A 10% rise in the death rate in Kazan in 2021 became a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, natural growth of the population remains in the city: 18,535 people died last year, 20,501 were born. In other words, “the Russian cross” doesn’t threaten Kazan. The Tatarstan capital became the only Volga city with a population of over a million people that has positive dynamics of demographic indicators. Other good news was voiced at Business Monday meeting in the city administration. Last year 3 million tourists visited the city. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

Kazan became the only Volga city with the positive demographic dynamics”

Due to the epidemic of coronavirus infection, the number of deaths become a political factor and is closely monitored by not only functionaries but also ordinary citizens. Head of the Kazan Registry Office Rimma Minnullina reported that in 2021 18,535 deaths were registered in Kazan, which is by 10% more than last year’s indicators. 53% of them are men, 47% are women. However, 20,501 babies were born, which is 724 more than in 2020.

“Compared to million cities of the Volga Federal District such as Ufa, Nizhny Novgorod, Perm, Samara, Kazan conserves a high birth rate,” Minnullina noted. So Kazan became the only Volga city with a population of over a million people that managed to save the positive demographic dynamics for the second year in a row.”

Minnulina said that 52% of newborns were boys, 48% were girls. 41% of the babies were firstborns, 40% were second children, 19% were third and so on. 280 families had twins, two families had triplets. Amir, Timur and Mark are in the top most popular boy names, Amina, Amelia and Sofia are the most popular girl names (Karim and Yasmina left the top chart for the first time in eight years). Parents keep looking for exotic names for their babies. Avgust, Grant, Kubanych, Afifa, Rassvet, Madonna are among them.

Both marriages and divorces increased

Restrictions on a solemn wedding ceremony remained last year because of the epidemiological situation. Nevertheless, this didn’t impede people from creating 11,461 families, which is 37% more than in 2020. A 79-year-old groom and a 76-year-old bride became the oldest couple in 2021.

The head of the Registry Office said divorces increased by 18% and explained that this happened because there were temporary restrictions on some services in 2020, including divorces.

The format of the ceremony for couples who were awarded the medals For Love and Loyalty changed too. Registry Office workers congratulated the awardees at home. Four families received congratulations on the 70th anniversary of their wedding day, 191 families had a diamond wedding anniversary, 950 families had a golden wedding anniversary.

Kazan Mayor Ilsur Metshin called such news “inspiring.”

“The positive birth rate dynamics, the conservation of the natural growth of the population in 2021 is the main positive result. Our young families’ mood makes us happy — the number of families who had the second, third and fourth child increased. The number of large families rose from 7,500 to 10,500, by nearly 30%. The death rate increased by 10% compared to the previous year. The pandemic plays a role here. High-quality medicine, health workers’ medics help us to resist the attack of coronavirus. And of course, the strict restrictions the Republic of Tatarstan and the capital are demonstrating play a role, of course. The restrictions bother anybody, of course, both me and the managers sitting in the hall, but this allows saving human lives, therefore we will strictly follow them and be disciplined,” the city mayor commented on the demographic indicators.

3 million tourists visited Kazan

Recovered pre-pandemic tourist traffic in Kazan is other good news. Last year, 3 million tourists visited the Tatarstan capital, Director of Kazan’s Committee for Tourism Development Daria Sannikova shared. This excludes the guests who come here on their own or visit their relatives, they don’t check in anywhere or rent a flat.

“Even though the sector was recognised as one of the most affected by the novel coronavirus infection in 2020, the pandemic gave an impulse to the development of alternative ways of attracting tourists, while internal routes certainly found room on our country’s travel maps. Today Kazan has 229 accommodation facilities, it is hotels, hostels, guesthouses. The average occupancy rate was 60%, moreover, the highest percentage of the average monthly rate — from 83 to 86% — was in the summer months. In occupancy rates, we don’t fall behind such big tourism centres as Moscow and Saint Petersburg. But due to the amount of hotels and rooms we give way in the number of hosted guests,” Sannikova noted.

Most tourists arrived from Moscow and Saint Petersburg as well as from Samara, Ufa, Cheboksary, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and other countries such as Turkey, Kazakhstan, China, Egypt, India, Ukraine. Hotel and hostel occupancy rates during the New Year holidays reached 97%, while a total of 138,000 tourists visited the city during the last decade.

New landmarks such as the restored Kazan Cathedral, Uram Extreme Park and Souyuzcartoonpark multimedia centre appeared besides traditional tourist attractions — the Kremlin, Bauman Street, the Old Tatar Settlement, Kremlin Embankment, Kazan Riviera water park.

Passenger traffic significantly rose at the Gabdulla Tukay International Airport last year. It serviced over 3,8 million passengers. A year earlier, passenger traffic was 2,1 million.

In river travel, passenger traffic rose from 55,300 people in 2020 to 100,300 in 2021.

Gastronomic guidebook

Sannikova noted that 11,100 people were employed in the hospitability area. However, there is a staff shortage. The Committee for Tourism Development continues working to raise the workers’ professional skills, such projects as Hospitality Stars competition, New Year Kazan and I Help Kazan are aimed at this.

After traditional events that recommended themselves like Yummy Kazan, a night bike festival, KyshDaKar winter festival, new ones are developed too. For instance, it is a special route Kazan Is City of Labour Glory including the facilities that aren’t only in the city centre.

The development of a gastronomic guidebook in two languages — Russian and English — is another novelty. Guests of the city can learn what establishments serve dishes of different national cuisines, where they can join culinary masterclasses and what “yummy” events are held in the city.

“Apart from cafes and restaurants, different culinary traditions of our city, guests learn where they can buy interesting souvenirs linked with gastronomy in the guidebook. This guide includes everything that has to do with gastronomic tourism. The information in it will be constantly updated,” Sannikova added.

Travellers can find the gastronomic guidebook at hotels, railway stations, the airport and the tourist information centre. It is planned to digitalise and adapt it for smartphones.

“The return to the pre-pandemic level is good news, moreover, we didn’t invite guests last year. This talks about Kazan’s good reputation among tourists,” the mayor concluded.

Ilsur Metshin noted that it was necessary to continue going by international service standards, master modern technologies and constantly control the quality, which will allow developing the sector further.

Eleonora Rylova