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“I want to understand when the suffering will end”

Director General of a travel company from Kamchatka Territory about why the tourism business is a very affected industry

Tourism was the first to feel the brunt of coronavirus restrictions. It is especially difficult for representatives of the sphere in regions that are very dependent on tourism and are always looking forward to the start of the season. Olga Pilipenko, general director of the OLFI-Tours travel company, told about how the tourist sphere in Kamchatka is now.

“I want to understand when the suffering will end”

Olga Pilipenko

General Director of the travel company "OLFI-Tours"

In the first weeks of self-isolation, all my loved ones were happy that they could spend so much time together. The children began distance learning, and at first it was new and interesting. Adults gathered virtual companies, arranged holidays and just evening gatherings, finding this form of communication at a distance even entertaining. Now all this has become routine, and it became clear how much lack of live contact with people.

Climatic conditions also bring their own characteristics. If spring has already begun in the middle lane, and at least you can go for a walk outside the city, then in our country house there is still a lot of snow, dirt, and once again it does not draw on nature. It is especially difficult not to know and not be able to predict at least the approximate end of general seclusion.

As for our business, the situation here is even more complicated. What can you think of when you can’t go anywhere? How can people replace the trip? Nothing. Now our potential customers not only do not know when the self-isolation regime will end, but what the consequences will be for their budget and whether they can afford a vacation in the foreseeable future. In addition, for civil servants there is an attitude - not to travel outside the region, and it is not known when this restriction will be removed. For those clients who are ready to postpone their vacation, we offer to do this with the maximum economic benefit, we return the rest to the rest.

Small and medium enterprises engaged in tourism (to which we belong) are recognized by the state as the affected industry. In a financial sense, this means, inter alia, the ability to take soft loans for the payment of salaries to employees. But the risk is that it is not yet possible to predict when the tourist season will begin, and when, accordingly, it will be possible to repay these loans. Our employees also understand this. Now they receive their salaries without bonuses (as well as managers) and are waiting for the opportunity to start work. We all hope that the picture will change in June, and our industry will be able to stay afloat. We mainly rely on domestic tourism, the peak season of which falls on the summer and autumn months.

My son is studying in St. Petersburg, at a branch of the Higher School of Economics. Now he is with us - he managed to fly home before all these events. Distance learning is not quite understandable for me. For example, lectures are sent to students in writing, although everyone has the technical means to listen to the teacher online. The seminars are held without taking into account the fact that many students are not residents of St. Petersburg, and are now at home. The time difference with Kamchatka is nine hours, and, of course, learning a child at midnight is completely inconvenient.

How the session will be held is also not yet known. Probably, students will be sent in test mode assignments, limiting the time to complete the work. But whether this form of knowledge assessment is effective is a moot point. It is absolutely impossible to compare with when the teacher speaks directly to the student. At the same time, he studies for a fee, and in this regard, I have a question - will, for example, be returned part of the funds or offered other forms of benefits for tuition. I really hope that we will receive answers to all these important questions for us at the beginning of summer. And this is very soon.

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