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Roads hamper the development of tourism
What hinders the development of the hospitality industry in Kamchatka
Comfortable transfer is one of the main components of the tourism industry. From the bus and the road to the hotel or attractions begins the journey. There are not many new comfortable buses in Kamchatka. The leader in this market is individual entrepreneur Oleg Pushaev. He spoke about the state of the transport infrastructure on the peninsula, as well as about the features and difficulties of working in the field of tourist transportation.
- About 18 years ago, one of the travel agencies in Kamchatka, which did not have its own vehicle, began to attract me as a carrier. I took tourists in a Hiace minibus. I was attracted because the car was newer, had better cross-country ability than others. The business gradually grew and developed in parallel with urban and suburban passenger transportation. I continue to work for them now, because the transportation of tourists is only part of the business. The tourist flow is large only in August and early September, the rest of the time only single applications come.
- How has your vehicle fleet grown since those times?
- Now I have enough units of tourist buses. Five years ago, I first acquired several Mercedes tourist class. They work only for travelers, we don’t attract them on city routes. Now I have four such buses. There are buses on 33, 41 and 44 places, but they operate on urban and suburban routes. The biggest problem of Kamchatka is that there are practically no large tourist buses that are used only for guests of the peninsula. Mostly in season and when cruise liners arrive, regular carriers are connected.
- What are the years of work consider their achievement?
- This year I purchased a large 51-seater Chinese-made bus. It is new, produced in 2018. This is a tourist class bus, such buses work only in Moscow, St. Petersburg and in several other large cities. There is only one such bus in Kamchatka. Of course, there are not many orders for it, but I bought it because I decided that something needed to be changed in the field, to attract more travel companies to cooperation. I decided to be ahead of everyone in this part. This season, many companies made orders for this bus. This is a completely different level of service. The Agency for Investment and Entrepreneurship Support of the Kamchatka Territory helped me with buying a car. Taking into account the delivery to the peninsula, the GLONASS installation, the bus cost me almost 10 million rubles. The agency paid the first lease payment - 3 million rubles. This is significant support. Of course, this is not enough for the development of transport infrastructure. While I alone took advantage of this support measure, other carriers are not ready for such purchases: the payback of the equipment is more than seven years. If the regional government adopts some kind of program for the development of tourist transport, it will be of great help for many carriers.
- What successes can you boast not in the field of purchasing vehicles?
- Most travel agencies work with me, they appreciate the new technology that does not work on city routes. Basically, all transfers "on asphalt" converge on me. If 18 years ago I worked with only one company, now there are about 15 of them. Do not forget about the personnel issue - you have to instruct the drivers, follow their dress code and behavior. I have drivers who have been working for 5-10 years, they know the routes and guides. This is a relationship that has developed over the years, and I appreciate it.
- What problems and difficulties do you have to face in your work?
- One of the problems is the short tourist season. The demand for such transport as we have is only a month or a half a year. But the main problem is poor access roads to popular sites and tourist attraction points. Even the airport is not suitable for large buses. Tourists have to wait for the whole group; only after everyone has gathered near the airport, the bus makes its way among a large number of private cars. Another point: there are no roads to all tourist places, such as the ocean. There are tree branches hanging low, there are many holes and bumps. New, lower cars cannot go there. The road was graded once this year - for the arrival of Dmitry Medvedev. In just two days, the passage was brought to a state in which it had never been: the road was widened, poured over, and after the Prime Minister left, they again forgot about it. In the camps, areas for parking and turning buses are not properly made. A huge request to the people who are responsible for the roads to make access roads to tourist sites - everyone is interested in this. In the meantime, travel agencies have to hire jeeps and shift trucks, but this is not the same level of service.
- What are the priority tasks you set for the development of your business?
- The highest priority task is to update the equipment. This is due not only to the comfort for tourists, but also to safety: the fresher the car, the more modern the security system in it. The new buses are easier to drive and more reliable. Of course, this will require considerable investment, but you need to look exactly in this direction. After all, we are creating the image of Kamchatka, the transport and logistics components are very important, because we are the first to meet tourists and take them to interesting places. Another task for me is to attract other travel companies to cooperation. No one canceled the competition, you need to understand that you need to be ahead of other carriers.
- How, in your opinion, is the logistics and transport infrastructure developing in Kamchatka? Are there any improvements, what are the prospects?
- Even ten years ago the roads were much worse. We worked on routes, and because of the holes, springs broke from time to time on the buses. Now the roads have become better, but in terms of access to tourist sites, nothing has changed: if new sites appear, then there are no good access roads to them (no ramps to rivers, no turning areas). Even to the pier in the area of Lake Bogorodskoye you can't get there by a big bus. I don’t know whose task it is to make these access roads, but I think that it is necessary for travel agencies and regional authorities to develop such an infrastructure, because companies cannot do this on their own. I cannot say that the infrastructure is actively developing, but I really hope that the situation will change.