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Welcome! But not now….

The Primorsky hospitality industry has additional time to prepare: the introduction of a simplified visa regime for foreigners, expected from 1 January, is being postponed so far

Restaurateurs and hoteliers of Primorye see great opportunities for their business in opening a simplified entrance to Vladivostok for foreign tourists.

Welcome! But not now….
This rule is introduced by the recently entered into force law "On the Free Port of Vladivostok" (FPV). According to it, from January 1, 2016, foreign citizens entering Russia through Vladivostok (as well as a number of other settlements of the region included in the free port zone) will receive 8 day visa right at the border. And this expected innovation has been incredibly inspiring for the representatives of the regional hospitality industry throughout the past year.

“Our city is the only one in all of Russia where foreigners are given the opportunity to freely, without any red tape, get into our country for more than a week. During this time, each such tourist will make a serious contribution to the regional economy by paying for accommodation, food, leisure and transportation. And if he manages to travel to the western part of the country during this time, for example, then we can already talk about the contribution to the Russian economy as a whole, "Roman Ivanishchev, President of the Far Eastern Association of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers, spoke with optimism in early December in a conversation with the ER correspondent. ...

But, apparently, the restaurateurs of the region and everyone else will have to wait with 8-day a visa "green corridor" for some time after the new year. Konstantin Shestakov, Director of the Primorsky Territory Department of Tourism, said at his online conference on December 24: “Our department sent inquiries to the Russian Foreign Ministry's Representative Office in Vladivostok and the Russian FSB Border Administration for Primorsky Territory to clarify the mechanism for implementing the simplified visa procedure. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the city of Vladivostok, the simplified visa regime will not be applied until the issuance of the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation. And the establishment of a round-the-clock operation of checkpoints is planned from October 1, 2016 ".

However, it may be for the best that the expected surge of foreigners to the region is canceled for now: the local hospitality industry might not be ready for this. And so, you see, there will be time to swing. The players of the market of restaurant and hotel services soberly note its shortcomings. The latter are especially clearly visible to guests from the opposite end of the country. Thus, representatives of the restaurant and hotel business of St. Petersburg, who visited Vladivostok in early December, noted the underdevelopment of the hospitality industry here.

“I was unpleasantly amazed that all the way from the plane to the hotel I did not hear a sympathetic“ Hello! ” with at least some semblance of a smile. And in a hotel restaurant, when I drew the administrator's attention to the absence of a sugar bowl on my table, I heard the sacramental: “Apparently, your table is unhappy!”, - Alexander Zatulivetrov, general director and co-owner of the SkyRestGroup management company (St. Petersburg).

“And I was surprised that in places of the greatest concentration of city guests - including the airport - there is not a single, striking symbol of the city or region. By the way, the friendship of a tiger and a goat in the Primorsky safari park could become an amazing image feature for the region. But while the videos from this explode all the popularity ratings in the West of the country, in Primorye itself they are very indifferent to this event. You see, you need unique selling propositions mixed with local specifics, ”sums up Tamara Builova, General Director of Address. Hotel chain "(St. Petersburg).

In general, both visitors and local restaurateurs note that Primorye needs to develop such HoReCa formats (hotels, restaurants, leisure) that would focus the attention of nonresident and foreign tourists precisely on the regional features of the region, unique in the geographical, socio-cultural and ethnographic sense.

“I would not say that Primorye - Vladivostok, in particular - suffers from a shortage of catering establishments. There are enough of them here, even in abundance. But on the fingers you can count the establishments offering guests original Russian cuisine. And the same Japanese tourists, who come here most often just for Russian exoticism, lack this. The hotel room fund also leaves much to be desired. At the peak of various forums and summits of state and regional scale (and Vladivostok positions itself as the center of event tourism), despite the fact that there is an acute shortage of free hotel rooms, ”he shared his opinion with the correspondent. "BP" Vitaly Antropov, commercial director of "Olympic Group" LLC.

“Foreign tourists - even if they are residents of Southeast Asia, who are not as scrupulous in terms of comfort, unlike Europeans - nevertheless, when they come to Vladivostok, perceive it as a European city and expect appropriate standards from the local hospitality industry. But they quickly become disillusioned, since, if such standards are offered in some places, they are offered at fabulous prices. Hence the skeptical attitude of many foreigners to visits to our region. Infrastructure food and recreation for foreigners means a lot. Especially - an adequate ratio of price and quality in their view ”- shared her opinion Tatyana Melnikova, managing director of the panoramic restaurant“ Michel ”.

According to the regional administration, now the tourist flow in Primorye is more than 2 million people - foreign and Russian citizens. Of these - for 9 months of 2015 - 364 802 foreigners arrived in the region. The number of foreigners arriving for tourism purposes amounted to 280 (815% more than in 30). The bulk of foreign tourists were citizens of neighboring China - more than 2014 thousand people.

For such a number, the region does not have enough tourist and hotel infrastructure (only two five-star hotels in the entire South Primorye). One of the options for solving the problem is attracting foreign investment within the FPV regimes and territories of advanced socio-economic development. It is planned to pay special attention to restaurant and hotel service within the framework of the Second Pacific Forum, which will be held in Vladivostok 18 22 May 2016 at the site of the Far Eastern Federal University (Russky Island). In addition to numerous events promoting the services of tour operators, agencies, bases and hotels, the Far Eastern street of national cuisines will be laid along all forum sites.
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