Four million is not the limit: ‘Today we receive as many tourists as how many of us every year’
Domestic tourism in the country is growing. According to Irina Osadchaya, the deputy director general for communication projects at the National Priorities ANO, at the moment Russians make about 60-70 million trips a year around their country. The goal of the national project “Tourism and the Hospitality Industry” is 140 million trips. Tatarstan is among the Russian regions on the 7th line of the most popular subjects of the Russian Federation among compatriots and on the first in the Volga Federal District. This was repeatedly recalled today at the board meeting of the State Committee for Tourism of the Republic of Tatarstan on the results of work in 2023 and tasks for 2024.
“Tatarstan welcomes guests from all regions of the Russian Federation. Over the past 10 years, the number of travellers in Tatarstan has increased by 2 times. Museum visits have increased 4 times — up to 8 million a year. The volume of paid services in the tourism sector has tripled in 10 years.” With this video, where all the most “picturesque” and not very interesting sights of the republic were colorfully and vividly demonstrated, the board of the State Committee of the Republic of Tatarstan for Tourism began on the results of work in 2023 and tasks for 2024.
Chairman of the State Committee for Tourism Sergey Ivanov announced the main figures and once again announced the flagship events for next year.
“Today, we annually receive as many tourists as ourselves, residents of the Republic of Tatarstan. It is difficult to argue with statistics: the Republic of Tatarstan is indeed included in the list of the most visited regions of Russia. On average, a tourist spends 3.2 days in the Republic of Tatarstan. The average amount of his expenses, excluding transportation costs, is 22,400 rubles. Taking into account these data, we predict that the turnover of the tourism industry, taking into account related industries, will amount to more than 88 billion rubles in 2023," Ivanov said, adding that the republic can finally boast of four million tourists. This was greatly facilitated by that as many as four airlines launched new flights, which simplified the way to the Republic of Tatarstan for residents of Altai and Altai Territory, North Ossetia — Alania, Vologda, Kirov, Omsk and Tyumen regions, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
“We definitely have to work on increasing this flow," said Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan Leyla Fazleeva.
She is sure that the potential of Kazan Federal University museums has not been fully realised, and they have something to attract an “intelligent, interested public.”
Besides, the inclusion of the Engelhardt Observatory in the UNESCO list, according to Fazleeva and Rifkat Minnikhanov, President of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, should contribute to the development of another direction of tourism — popular science.
Minnikhanov also recalled that for almost 10 years the issue of creating an Archaeology Museum in the Kazan Kremlin has not been moved from the dead end. At the same time, 550 thousand units of unique exhibits are stored in the storerooms. He expressed hope that in the Year of Scientific and Technical Development, which was announced by the rais of the Republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, the issue with the museum about historical memory will still be resolved positively.
A bet on country tourism
“This is a trend," stated Ivanov.
Glamping and camping sites are sprouting like mushrooms in Tatarstan. Their number has already more than doubled, for example, the Crimea (46 to 20). Tatarstan has broken out into the top five in the country. Glamping and camping sites operate in 16 districts of the republic. In 2023, almost 80 thousand tourists rested in them, which is a third higher than in 2022. At least 10 more new country recreation facilities are opening in 2024.
According to Ivanov, most glampiners responsibly master the money won within the framework of the federal national project, but it also happens otherwise. However, Ivanov himself and Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan Leyla Fazleeva assured that they would not allow violations in the operation of such facilities.
“Our guests should not have negative impressions.” It's almost a motto that came out of the mouths of two speakers in one form or another.
There is a tourist flow not only to Tatarstan, but also from it
About 10% of the republic's residents prefer to relax with their neighbours in Mari El. This was told by Minister of Sports and Tourism of the neighbouring republic Lidiya Batyukova.
“By the results of 2023, about a million tourists visited Mari El. More than 400 thousand of them are from the Republic of Tatarstan... Tatarstan forms a tourist flow to Mari El," Batyukova admitted.
According to it, this is 43% of the total tourist flow. At the same time, the number of guests from Tatarstan is increasing — an increase of 37% by the results of 2022.
And another 37% of this number, according to Batyukova, “chose the local lakes”.
“Rafting is a favourite activity," added the minister of sports of the neighbouring region.
Besides, residents of Tatarstan are attracted to Kaliningrad, Makhachkala, and Baikal.
“If we talk about rapidly developing routes, this is, of course, Makhachkala (Dagestan, ed.). We started about a year ago with two flights a week. There are going to be seven of them this year. There will be daily flights. Vladikavkaz (North Ossetia — Alania) is developing interestingly. I won't talk about Sochi. Many flights of different airlines fly there from Kazan. Kaliningrad. It is also a very interesting route. And the opening of the last year and a half is a set of Siberian destinations, which we raised during 2022-2023 and will continue to develop in 2024," Anton Mattis, the commercial director of Nordwind Airlines, told Realnoe Vremya.
According to him, the airline currently flies on two dozen routes from Kazan.
“This year we set a kind of record — we transported over 1.2 million passengers. This is an increase of more than 2 times compared to the previous year. We are particularly proud of that we have contributed to the five million record of Kazan Airport. 25% is our fair share. Next year, we are planning at least two new directions. It will be Yakutsk and Kemerovo. And there is a third direction in the plans. This is Ulan-Ude. In addition to Irkutsk, where we already fly. We want to circle Lake Baikal from two sides. But Irkutsk is already an established destination. We've been flying here for over a year. And Ulan-Ude is in very active development now. We will see what will happen in 2025 closer to the end of 2024," Mattis shared.
He confirmed that the tourist flow between the Northern and Third Capitals is impressive: “We are the dominant player on the Kazan — St. Petersburg route. We have up to four flights a day.”
The price of “wings”
According to the commercial director of North Wind airline, today “the price of an air ticket is a derivative of the cost price”.
“And the main component in the cost is the cost of aviation fuel. Over the past two years, we have seen a clear trend towards an increase in the cost of aviation kerosene. Last year, air tickets rose in price by an average of 10-15%. This correlates with an increase in cost," Mattis admitted.
Challenges of the future
The Games of the Future and the BRICS summit are the main hopes and, at the same time, the headache of Tatarstan's tourism industry participants in the coming year. Where can I find additional places in hotels, staff, and guides who can tell in the language of the guest about the unique history of the Third Capital, make cappuccino, not espresso and just smile? The necessary personnel are in short supply. Young Tatarstan citizens can help.
At the moment, according to the president of the Association of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Tatarstan, Zufar Gayazov, high school students from the Sovetsky and Novo-Savinsky districts of Kazan have already joined the process of mastering the difficult art of hospitality. In the near future, it is planned to involve high school students from the regions of the republic.