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Boris Yarmakhov

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Туризм в России [Aug. 24th, 2005|03:35 pm]
Boris Yarmakhov
Одно из широко бытующих мнений о России состоит в том, что это страна огромных возможностей для развития туристического бизнеса. Наткнулся сегодня в JRL на

From: "David M Rowell" <david@rossia.com>
Subject: More on Tourism
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001

Yale Richmond's comments (JRL 5429) about Russia's disinterest in developing
its vast tourism potential struck a responsive chord.

For several years in the mid/late 1990s I attempted to sell Russia as a
travel destination to American consumers and travel agencies (as an adjunct
to the other destinations in the world my travel wholesale company
featured). We opened an office in Russia and made a substantial financial
commitment both in the US to promote the destination and in Russia to create
a high standard of infrastructure for our tourist clients.

Unsurprisingly, no-one wanted to help us. Whereas our other destination
marketing efforts not only involved popular destinations with positive
public images, but also had us participating in cooperative ventures with a
slew of partners - national tourism bodies, regional tourism bodies, local
tourism bodies, international and domestic airlines, hotel chains, tour
operators, etc etc, such as to sometimes give us five or even sometimes ten
dollars of coop money for every dollar we invested ourselves, none of these
resources were available for promoting travel to the much more problematic
destination that was and sadly still is Russia. As you can imagine, the
difference between having 80+% of our promotional budget covered by other
organisations, when promoting destinations with positive images and large
established tourism flows on the one hand, and having none of our
promotional budget covered in a struggle to combat the raft of negatives
that surround the image of Russia on the other hand was profound.

It got worse. Elsewhere in the world we'd be given truckloads of collateral
material - brochures, fliers, and all manner of other promotional items,
giveaways, posters, etc, none of this was available for Russia. I tried to
create our own Russian brochure, but no-one would even supply photos to be
incorporated in the brochure, other than as an expensive commercial
transaction. I couldn't even get acceptable quality images of the hotels we
wanted to feature!

It got still worse. An accepted way of building marketplace awareness is to
take groups of 'opinion leader' travel agents on a 'familiarization tour' of
the destination, giving the destination and featured suppliers a chance to
showcase their products and make positive impressions on the agents; with
such positive impressions theoretically translating into personal
recommendations from the agents to their clients and a boost in bookings for
all concerned. It is common, in such situations, that airlines, hoteliers,
tour operators, etc, all make their products available at very reduced rates
and sometimes even free of charge. Such an approach was, of course, almost
completely foreign to Russian tourism operators.

By subsizing the costs of such a tour ourselves, we managed to lure a group
of 22 rather unwilling agents on such a 'famil' but this was a disaster with
largely negative results. The strongest impression left with the agents was
of the coach driver in Moscow who refused to clean the coach and its
mud-spattered windows so as to make it almost impossible to see out of the
coach, and who also refused to unlock its toilet door (we paid a premium to
hire a coach with onboard restroom). This latter intransigence proved to be
a particularly distressing act of meanness on his part when we got stuck in
an unexpected traffic jam for two hours on the road to Sergiev Posad,
followed by a toilet experience at SP which, while profoundly welcome, was
equally profoundly unpleasant in terms of its smells and general hygiene.

Another vivid impression that will remain burned in my memory for a long
time to come was attempting to take these agents for a pre-arrangaed 'site
inspection' of the Rossiya Hotel in Moscow, only to be turned away at the
front door by an armed security guard who would not let us in the building
because we weren't hotel guests.

Yes, there's lots more that I could recount about our failed venture. In
particular the complete refusal of any city officials to meet with me and
'hear me out' with some of the (zero cost to them) ideas and suggestions
that I had put together really sticks in my craw.

Notwithstanding this colossally negative experience, I remain convinced that
Russia has every bit the tourist >>potential<< that any other country has.
Tourism is a renewable resource that has a very high local content,
employment factor and spending multiplier (ie each dollar spent in tourism
results in several more dollars spent subsequently), and international
tourism of course helps a country's balance of payments as well. Tourism is
one of the most valuable economic boosters that any country can enjoy, and
requires little substantial outlay to 'bootstrap' up from humble beginnings.
This has been very convincingly shown in, for example, China's transition
from similarly a 'forbidding' and Communist destination to a key and popular
place that Americans tour to.

Russia should be single-mindedly pursuing every possible opportunity to
build its enormous potential as an international tourism destination. Sadly
I couldn't even get to offer self-financing methods for developing some of
the country's infrastructure and promoting it off-shore; I couldn't help
Russia learn practical lessons from other successful countries; because
no-one would listen to me in a manner strongly reminiscent of Yale
Richmond's earlier experience. The net result - we closed down that part of
our operation; there were too many easier destinations in this huge world to
profitably sell.

As Peter Baker's earlier article recounted (JRL 5427), in Russia the gap
between tourism potential and tourism reality remains vast and there are no
convincing indications that anything is being done to bridge it.
очевидца, пытавшегося три года назад такой бизнес организовать, со всякими драматическими подробностями.