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Waiting for tourists: Kamchatka opens up new paths
In the conditions of self-isolation, the Vityaz-Travel company has developed new offers for tourists
Kamchatka is a region of beautiful but inaccessible places. They remain untouched and primitive due to the fact that you can only get to them by special transport or by helicopter. Local travel agencies help to see unique natural places. The largest tour operator in Kamchatka, organizing helicopter and walking tours of the specially protected natural areas, Vityaz Travel intends to continue working, and is waiting for tourists after relaxing restrictive measures. Coronavirus caused problems, but also opened up new possibilities.
CORONAVIRUS TURNS DATE
For over 9 years, Vityaz Travel has been organizing excursions to the most remote, inaccessible and amazing areas of the peninsula. You can go to volcanoes, geysers, reserved lakes by helicopter as part of a group or only with a guide.
You can visit the famous Valley of Geysers, the equally impressive caldera of the Uzon volcano, the most bearish place in Kamchatka - Kuril Lake. Usually the tourist season opens in June, but due to the coronavirus, the usual dates are broken - it is difficult to predict when the epidemiological situation will improve and restrictions will be lifted.
“There was a big decline in early bookings when booking tours in a few months. Recording is underway, but it is 70% less than last year. It is difficult to say whether the excursions will take place in early June, because in Kamchatka, a self-isolation regime was introduced before May 31, mass events are prohibited. Even if the prohibitions are lifted in June, it is not clear in what format tours will be allowed. In this regard, there is complete uncertainty, so we only keep a record and nothing more, ”said Ekaterina Anisimova, director of Vityaz-Travel LLC.
The company hopes that they will be able to resume work in normal mode by the end of July.
HELICOPTER ONLY CAN FLY
“Helicopters for excursions, we are provided by our general partner - the aviation company Vityaz-Aero, this is the largest helicopter operator in the Kamchatka Territory. Not so long ago, the airline acquired two new Mi-8 MTV and Mi-8 AMT aircraft of increased capacity, which are designed both for the delivery of goods and passengers, as well as for guided tours. Our company and Vityaz-Aero are part of the holding known not only in Russia, but also abroad, the fishing and fish processing enterprise Vityaz-Avto LLC, ”explained Ekaterina Anisimova.
The purchased helicopters are already ready for operation by the airline, however, they are still at the manufacturing plants. Now a plan is being developed for their delivery to Kamchatka, since difficulties have arisen due to the self-isolation regime. Get the aircraft expected by May.
For the convenience of tourists, who have become in recent years in Kamchatka and to increase the mobility of the region’s residents, the airline has developed a network of regional heliports for delivery to remote areas of the peninsula. Now Vityaz-Aero has five permanent helipads and a head heliport in the village of Nikolaevka. Its reconstruction within the framework of the ASEZ continues. Work there does not stop even in spite of coronavirus restrictions. Soon there will be a runway for light-weight aviation with its own infrastructure - a hangar, aircraft parking lots and an air traffic control and control center.
To deliver a tourist to his destination, to organize his vacation, we need experienced pilots and tour guides, managers and operators. The company retained the staff of specialists under the conditions of coronavirus restrictions, making a few changes to their usual mode of operation.
“We try to support our employees as much as possible, the only change for them is the remote mode of operation. Like so many, we are now working remotely. Nobody lost anything in the salary either, due to the accumulated reserves, we try to maintain the state, not to reduce anyone and not to leave on vacation, ”said the director of Vityaz-Travel LLC.
A long regime of self-isolation made it possible to open up new possibilities - the company developed new tours. If earlier “Vityaz-Travel” provided only helicopter tours, then from this year it also launched walking routes to the most popular natural sights of Kamchatka.
“This is a shift trip. We entered into agreements with suppliers for the newest cars of 2018-2019, the most comfortable. Selection and additional training of tour guides is also underway, because the main thing for us is that our tourists receive a high-quality, comfortable and safe product. Now we will organize walks on home volcanoes - Avachinsky, Mutnovsky, Gorely, Vachkazhets. We are expanding and discovering a new direction, ”says Ekaterina Anisimova.
The Ural and KAMAZ voted in favor of the passenger “shifts,” since it is almost impossible to get to most of Kamchatka’s natural attractions by ordinary car. And off-road vehicles and professional drivers allow you to do this in comfort.
Ekaterina Anisimova admits that the idea of organizing such tours has been around for a long time, however, there was not enough time to implement them. Self-isolation allowed us to do this closely without looking at other matters.
“This regime has helped us realize the plans that we have been cherishing for about two years. Now we want to develop package offers for which we will offer maximum discounts on our part. In such circumstances, it’s not possible to significantly lower the price, but for tourists we will try to make the most advantageous offers when buying package tours, ”the director of the company said.
New offers, products and routes will also be offered for group and individual excursions. If you fail to provide them this year, they will certainly appear in 2021.