SOCIETY met with Sergey Ivanov, Chairman of the State Committee on Tourism of the Republic of Tatarstan and spoke about the Republic as a relatively new, highly frequented tourist destination.
For seven years you are holding the professional position of the Chairman of the State Committee on Tourism of the Republic of Tatarstan. What are the recent achievements? The Republic of Tatarstan is one of the leading regions of the Russian Federation in tourism. The number of tourists increases each year by 13,5 percent on average. Compared to 2015, the quantity of foreign tourists coming to the Republic of Tatarstan, has grown by 6,7 percent and reached 250.506 people in 2016. In the last seven years, we have also established strong links to Germany, Finland, China, Iran and UAE. Thanks to the activities of the State Committee for Tourism, we have opened different foreign tourism markets for the Republic, participating in nine international fairs in 2016. We also took part in several online-fairs, road-shows for tourism companies and representatives of mass media in Russian cities and foreign countries. During these years we developed a strong tourism infrastructure: 404 hotels and other accommodation facilities are available in the Republic; different associations for a stable activity of the entrepreneurs in the tourism sphere have been established: an “Association of the hotels of Kazan and the Republic of Tatarstan”, an “Association of the restaurants of the Republic of Tatarstan”, an “Associations of the hostels of the Republic of Tatarstan”, and an “Association of the travel agencies of the Republic of Tatarstan”. The goal was to create the image of Kazan city as a third capital of the Russian Federation and to create a complex image of the Republic of Tatarstan as a tourism destination, as a weekend destination for Russian tourists and a region of cultural and intellectual tourism for foreign tourists. We’ve already achieved the goal to create an image of the Republic as a region of different colors: Kazan as a capital of the region with concentration of culture, gastronomy and history; the “Island town of Sviyazhsk” is that same fairy-tale island of Buyan, that magical land, which Pushkin wrote about in his story of “Prince Gvidon”; “The Great Bolgar”, the site of the ancient settlement of Bolgar, registered by UNESCO and renowned for its history and legends, attracts yearly hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world. In 2016, we officially accepted the tourist brand “Visit Tatarstan” and also created the tourist brands of the “Great Bolgar” and the “Island town of Sviyazhsk”. Today it allows us to promote the Republic in the Russian and international tourist markets more effectively and we are able to clearly present Tatarstan and its main tourist destinations. During these seven years, international direct flights have been established: Kazan-Prague (Chech Republic), Kazan-Helsinki (FinnAir), Kazan-Dubai (FlyDubai) and Kazan-Frankfurt (Aeroflot). In addition, there are constant charter flights from Kazan. In summer 2016 we installed a charter flight from Urumchi-Kazan-Urumchi (China). The next step will be to establish a direct charter flight between Kazan and Beijing in 2017.
What is the main goal in the nearest future?
One of our tasks is to increase the number of foreign tourists. Today, the share of foreign tourists in the total tourist flow in the Republic of Tatarstan is 8,6 percent. We need to increase our presence on the tourist markets of the following countries: China, Iran, Finland, United Arab Emirates and Germany. The next task is to develop a small river fleet. Nowadays – because of our not underdeveloped fleet of river vessels – we don’t use our water areas of the rivers Volga and Kama to their full extend. After all, most tourists come to the Republic not only to get acquainted with the rich historical and cultural heritage, but also to enjoy our water spaces. It is necessary to consider, that at the present time the fleet of small vessels in the Republic consists of only 17 units, the average age of the ships is 40 years. The third task is to work with the Tatar diasporas. Together with the World Congress of Tatars we are completing the formation of a special tourist product for Tatars from other regions and countries. In 2017, we are planning to begin the implementation of this tourist offer. The forth task is to take a leading position among tourist destinations in the Internet. The tourist of these days starts his journey from the Internet, today it is the main source of information. In 2005 Tatarstan has been visited by 500.000 tourists – today, each of our tourist destinations like Yelabuga, Sviyazhsk and Bolgar reach this number of guests on its own.
Sergey Ivanov was born in 1976 in Severodvinsk, USSR. He is married and has two daughters. Currently he works as the Chairman of the State Committee on Tourism of the Republic of Tatarstan. In 2009 he started to work as the CEO of the “Tourist information center of Kazan city”. Afterwards he was Chairman of the Committee for External Relations and Tourism under the Executive Committee of the Kazan Municipality, Municipal Institution. From the end of 2009 until 2010 he was Chairman of the Committee for External Relations and Tourism in the Kazan Executive Committee Administration Office of the Kazan Municipality, Municipal Institution. In 2014 he got the position of the Deputy Minister of The Ministry of Youth Affairs, Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Official tourist portal of the Republic of Tatarstan:
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Foto: State Committee on tourism of the Republic of Tatarstan