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To make economy at the expense of the tourist

Victoria Kolitenko on hospitality in the Far East

To make economy at the expense of the tourist

Victoria Kolitenko

Director of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Hotel Association, director of the hotel complex "Equator" (Vladivostok)
Skeptics who do not believe in the success of government plans for the development of the Far East often use one argument: there are too few people in the region to make it attractive for serious foreign investments. But hundreds of millions of people from the Asia-Pacific region (APR) live in the 500-1000 radius of the south of the Far East, and three of them directly border Russia by land or sea. Attraction of a stable and powerful tourist flow from the Asia-Pacific region can provide the regional economy with the necessary economic burden, and for this the authorities and Russian business need only make a feasible contribution to the development of the hospitality industry, says the director of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Hotel Association, head of the Equator Hotel Complex (Vladivostok) Victoria Kolitenko.

According to Victoria Kolitenko, in general, the hotel infrastructure of the Far East is currently in a stage of sustainable development. There is a growing number of not only reconstructed accommodation facilities, but also the construction of new facilities. In such cities as Vladivostok and Khabarovsk (the most populated and socio-economically developed cities of the Far East), the situation with hotels and other means of accommodation is better than in other cities of the region.

"And the fact that the government of the country activates economic activities in the Far East through stimulating mechanisms (TOP, the free port of Vladivostok) and attracts attention to the region on various communication platforms - is itself very powerful in the development of the hospitality industry. Every year, with the participation of federal and regional authorities here hold business events with international participation: forums, congresses, festivals, conferences. Of course, all of this contributes to the influx of guests, and the development of bottom segments of the regional economy ", - notes Victoria Kolitenko.

EastRussia help. According to Rosturizm, the hotel services market in the Far East at the beginning of 2016 was 9,96 billion rubles. The nominal increase in relation to 2009 year (without taking into account the devaluation of the ruble) is about 40%. During the same period, the volume of tourist services in the region in nominal terms increased from 2,6 to 7,4 billion rubles. In 2016, the influx of tourists to the Far East increased by more than 60% compared to the previous year. The high positive dynamics is shown by the Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories located in the southern sector of the Far East. In Primorye, the flow of foreign tourists in the last five years has increased seven-fold - from 82 to 568 thousand guests, and the total tourist flow to the region has reached three million people. The hospitality industry in the Far East, which is inextricably linked with tourism, demonstrates, according to the RGA, an annual improvement in the quality of the service and today is, on average, 8 points on the 10-scale scale.

The expert associates qualitative changes in the Far Eastern hospitality industry with 2018 year. It is this year that the mandatory stage-by-stage all-Russian classification of hotels and other accommodation facilities begins. In particular, the hotel accommodation will be streamlined and standardized. This will give the consumer, according to Mrs. Kolitenko, a clearer understanding of the level of services provided and will form the corresponding reality of expectation. The Far East, she says, demonstrates in recent years a high positive dynamics in the growth of tourist traffic at the expense of both foreign and Russian tourists and business visitors from other regions. Such a dynamic is bound to contribute to the development of a hospitality sphere adjacent to tourism.

"The latter is being built today in the region primarily around business and cultural tourism. And in this sector, in accordance with international experience, public-private partnership including international hotel chains, international operators of congress tourism, as well as concession agreements for the development of road and transport infrastructure, is effective, "the expert notes.

In her opinion, today the enterprises of the Far Eastern hospitality industry should focus on customer-oriented service and develop their competitive advantages. Also relevant remains the problem of shortage of human resources. And here the RGA, which organized the School of Hospitality in Primorye about ten years ago, provides professional support for the hotel, tourist, restaurant and even taxi business, to a great assistance to the regional industry.
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