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Gift Certificate - to return
Tourism in Primorye - from the first person
About how much Chinese tourists leave in the Primorsky Territory and how to determine the degree of satisfaction of Vladivostok guests for the sale of gift certificates from Primorsky stores, the EastRussia correspondent spoke with Konstantin Shestakov, director of the Primorsky Territory tourism department
- Konstantin Vladimirovich, how do you assess the current year in terms of the development of tourism in the Primorsky Territory?
- The Primorye Territory is the undisputed leader of the entire Far East in terms of tourist flow, both inland and inland. Suffice it to say that today we are entering the top 3 regions of Russia in terms of the number of tourists from China, yielding only to Moscow and St. Petersburg. And if we evaluate the year, according to forecasts, the number of visits by foreign citizens to Primorsky Krai this year will exceed the figure of half a million people for the first time. This is a good achievement.
- Tourists from which countries come to Primorye?
- These are mainly tourists from Asia. Key countries are China, South Korea and Japan. Of course, tourists from China most of all - from the beginning of the year their number exceeded 350 thousand people. Compared to the same period last year, this flow increased by a third. At the same time, the growth in the number of tourists from China visiting our region as part of the visa-free exchange agreement was even greater - on the order of 65-70% from last year’s figures. There is a well-defined dynamic over the past two years.
The second largest inbound tourist flow is provided by South Korea. These indicators are far from Chinese, but their dynamics are higher. Korean tourists began to visit our region more often. So the growth, compared to last year, at the end of 9 months of 2016, is more than 62%. In just 9 months, more than 41 thousand people from the Republic of Korea visited Primorye. Tourists from Japan close the top three.
- China, Japan, South Korea - the nearest neighbors of the Primorsky Territory. Are there those who come from afar?
- European flow has pleased us, it is already estimated in thousands of people. The growth of the tourist flow, for example, from Germany amounted to 184%. Even greater distance has to be overcome by tourists from Australia, but here we see a good growth: 154% compared to the same period of 2015. For us, this is very important and significant: this shows that the regional and federal policy of promoting tourism products of the region does work. There is a certainty that the dynamics of growth will continue in the future.
- How much does the average tourist from China leave in Primorye? How can you characterize their social portrait, status?
- Based on the monitoring, we derived an average tourist check from China. They can be divided conditionally into two classes. The first - let's call it economy class - the trip itself in Primorye will cost such a tourist from 350 to 500 yuan. In our region, for three days and two nights, he spends on average from 150 to 200 dollars during his stay.
The second “class” has been growing quite dynamically recently, and the growth is associated with the development of air travel destinations. These are more solvent and wealthy tourists, as a rule they represent the central and southern parts of China. For them, taking into account the flight, the entire amount of the tourist product is already 5000 yuan - that's about 740 dollars. And the average check of such a tourist for the same three days two nights is already 4000-5000 dollars. Such tourists is growing, and it is secured and wealthy people. Their preferences - rather expensive hotel with class restaurants, they prefer to air tours. Such tourists order boat trips on yachts, can afford to buy jewelry, visit cosmetics and clothing stores, and also prefer expensive cuisine. In such a beauty salon, the average tourist check is about 12-13 thousand rubles per visit. By the way, lately there has been a characteristic detail: tourists increasingly began to buy to buy gift cards from our seaside stores. For us, this is a very good sign, meaning that the arrival of such a guest is not an isolated one.
- And the Japanese and the Koreans?
- Tourists from Japan, the Republic of Korea - as a rule, these are individual tourists with their own special wishes. Among them there are great lovers of gastronomic tours, connoisseurs of the wild nature of the region, who are increasingly interested in tours to the North of the region, there are art connoisseurs who specially come to the performances of our Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Theater. Such tourists form groups of interests; specialized tours are already ready for them, the average cost of which, excluding flights, can be, depending on the tour, from 2 to 3 thousand dollars. Of course, as in the case of tourists from China, these are average values.
- How difficult is it to please foreigners?
- In order to determine the points of growth of tourist flows as efficiently as possible, we must clearly try to understand their interests, their mentality, often preferences, up to gastronomic preferences. And they are quite multifaceted and complex. But based on the recent experience of working with our Asian neighbors, we already have a lot of information and an understanding of in which direction to move further. And the experience gained by our travel companies working at the reception of guests of the region is great.
Probably nothing promotes the regions in terms of tourism as the communication field formed by the tourists themselves. That is, the richness of information provided by tourists themselves visiting Primorye: sharing their impressions of travel on social network pages, sharing the information received with their friends, colleagues, relatives, they form an additional favorable image of our region. All this creates a certain effect of a snowball: the more we are visited, the more actively is the dissemination of such information about Primorye as a favorable tourist destination. Such communication brings, of course, great benefits.
- What objects do tourists choose?
- Traditionally, these are objects that are well known to our colleagues and tour operators from Asia: starting with viewpoints and the historical part of Vladivostok, memorials and museums, and ending with new objects built for the 2012 APEC Summit - this is the Far Eastern Federal University, the Opera and Ballet Theater, and etc. The integrated entertainment resort "Primorye", the sports and technical complex "Primorskoye Koltso", the Historical and Cultural Park "Emerald Valley", the seaside "Safari Park" and "Oceanarium" are invariably popular. As part of the regional state program "Tourism Development in the Primorsky Territory" for 2013–2020, the specialists of the Tourist Information Center presented new routes, adapted for the cold season. They included original programs: "Primorsky Confectioner", "Asian Vladivostok", "European Vladivostok", "Orthodox Primorye", ascents - hiking tours to the town of Pidan and the Olkhova hill. But let's not forget about the desire of our guests to visit our shopping centers. The purchasing power of our guests is now extremely high.
Event tourism is also an excellent method of attracting tourist flows. Thus, the region traditionally hosts competitions of the highest international level in water sports: sailing, aquabike, rowing. This year the region is one of the main leaders of the regional stage of the all-Russian competition Russian Event Awards - 2016, where all regions of Russia present developments in the development of the tourism industry, and, above all, new opportunities for domestic tourism. It is not the first year that Primorye has hosted the regional stage of the national award, but for the first time it firmly occupies a leading position in the nominations "Tourist Information Center" and "Tourist Business Event". Holding such events of event tourism is a colossal magnet for increasing tourist flows.
In general, I would like to separately note that this year, our Tourist Information Center has achieved great success in promoting the region on the markets that are strategically important for us. This year, his work was highly noted at specialized congress and exhibition events and competitions. The team there has developed a very active and most result-oriented.
- The next year is planned a multiple increase in the number of ship calls of cruise ships to Vladivostok. What is the reason for this?
- Sea cruises in recent years have become an increasingly popular and more affordable option for tourist trips, both in the world and in the Asia-Pacific region. Cruise tourism is a separate area in our work, in which good results have also been achieved. The calls of Korean and Japanese passenger ships became more frequent. For the first time, the region was visited by the Chinese Taishan liner, and certain agreements were reached with him for the future - to include the port of Vladivostok in its itinerary. In addition, agreements have been signed with Korean colleagues from the Marine Tourism Center of Gwangon Province: a regular cruise line will connect Primorye, Japan and South Korea.
Prospects for the development of cruise tourism between Primorye and Asia were discussed at the XXI Summit on international exchange and cooperation of regional administrations of the countries of North-East Asia. Recently, meetings with our colleagues in Shanghai ended, where, within the framework of international congress and exhibition events dedicated to the tourist business - the Sea ITM exhibition, the city and port of Vladivostok were presented - as objectively interesting for cruise tourism and a comfortable cruise ship call point on the Russian coast. We had negotiations with the heads of Asia's largest shipping and shipowners companies, whose headquarters and offices are located in Shanghai - these are the management of Royal Carribean, Costa, and SKY Sea Cruise. The operators indicated their interest in working together with Primorye and demonstrated a fairly clear understanding of our capabilities and advantages. Following the meeting, Costa officially announced 6 ship calls to Vladivostok. Thus, the number of cruise ship calls in Primorye next year will double and amount to 12 ships.
- How long does it take for the port services, official bodies, border control authorities to design a cruise ship, from the moment of entering the port to the exit of passengers?
- Modern cruise ships are the most real floating hotels, with a full set of all related services, capable of hosting thousands of passengers. And in order for the population of such a floating town, traveling on the seas and oceans, even for a day to come to our seaside shore, much has already been done and is to be done. Let me remind you that to date, two ports of Primorye have already been included in the list of seaports through which tourists can arrive to the territory of the region without a visa and stay up to 72 hours. These ports are Vladivostok and Zarubino. Today, thanks to the active position of the border services of the region, passengers of cruise ships entering the port of Vladivostok in the early morning can go to the city without hindrance by 8 - 9.
In general, the development of cruise tourism in the region was approved by the Governor of the region Vladimir Miklushevsky as one of the priority directions for the development of the region's tourism industry. In this regard, a set of measures has been developed to ensure the dynamic development of this area. This is work on improving the quality of service, promoting the territory as a favorable cruise destination, and of course the work carried out by the owners of coastal infrastructure facilities to modernize it.
In this vein, I would like to remind you that Rosmorport announced a tender a month ago for dredging works on passenger berths of the VICP. Rosmorport has already allocated 8,8 million rubles to carry out design works on dredging.
Another direction in which we are moving is filling the program of stay of cruise ship passengers in Vladivostok with interesting events and activities. For example, this year, our seaside stage of the Mariinsky Opera, joining forces with cruise and tourist operators, presented a special program for the next arrival of the liner - special performances were organized, docked with the cruise schedule. This approach caused a lot of positive emotions both among the tourists-passengers of the liner and its operator. And the fact that Vladivostok and Primorye can and is ready, and most importantly, it has enough opportunities to form interesting tourist products made at a high professional level, no one doubts.
"It's understandable with large vessels." And how to be a small-sized fleet? Vladivostok is a port city, on the part of tourists there is a stable demand for boat trips on boats and yachts.
- The sea is one of our main strengths in attracting tourists to the region. And we must be able to use this resource competently. Now in the Primorsky Territory 38 thousand small vessels are registered. But a few months ago, their owners did not have the opportunity to obtain a license to organize transportation. At our request, this year the government issued a Government Decree, thanks to which such an opportunity appeared, and already the first interested parties received such a license. These changes will become a serious additional incentive for the development of the tourism industry. We expect that the adoption of such a decision will allow the whole sector of small private entrepreneurship in the field of tourism to come out of the shadow, in particular, the implementation of sea excursions.
- What are your goals for the future?
- Tourism is a unique sector of the economy, which is a powerful catalyst for the development of more than 53 different economic areas. The tasks set by the Governor of the Territory and enshrined in the tourism development program in the Primorsky Territory are ambitious, but quite justified: the development of the region as an Eastern tourist hub of Russia, and in specific indicators, it is an increase in the total tourist flow (inbound and domestic) to 10 million people in year by 2020. This means about a 3-fold increase to current indicators.
We are facing very important, but at the same time extremely interesting tasks. For me personally, this is very important, the business you are doing should be interesting and loved. I know for sure that thanks to clearly set tasks, understandable ways to achieve them and, of course, the team of professionals working in the industry today, tourism as a sector of the economy will become one of the locomotives of its development.
Shestakov Konstantin Vladimirovich - Director of the Department of Tourism of Primorsky Krai. Graduated from the Far Eastern Federal University in 2004. He has two higher educations in the specialties "World Economy" and "Jurisprudence". Konstantin Shestakov began his career in the travel company Dialogue Narodov-1 LLC. Since 2010, he worked in the Administration of the Primorsky Territory in various positions in the field of tourism.