Shaman’s Tambourine Invites Guests

Alina Khorosheva, 21.02.2014 11:09
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You do not have to leave Russia if you want to see Buddhist temples, learn the secret of the shaman’s tambourine, and feel closer to the nature. All this and more awaits you on a trip to one of the remote and truly unique regions of the country – the Tuva Republic, which is situated about 4,700 km (2,920 miles) from Moscow. TRN magazine spoke with Tuva’s Minister of Culture Vyacheslav Dongak about what the republic had to offer to its guests and about the course of development for the region’s tourism.

- Vyacheslav Oktyabroovich, was 2013 a good year for the republic’s tourism? Is the tourist flow growing? Do foreigners contribute to its growth?

- During the last three years the tourist flow to Tuva has been steadily growing. According to the preliminary estimations of the Information Center of the Tuva Republic, 54.5 thousand people came to the region in 2013, which is 15% more as compared to 2012, when 47.7 thousand tourists visited Tuva. In 2011 the number of tourists was 43.6 – figures speak for themselves.

Now on to the foreign tourist flow. According to Tuva’s department of Federal Migration Service, in 2013 the republic was visited by 2,388 foreign citizens, 1,131 of whom came for tourism purposes. This is a 47% rise as compared to 2012. It should also be said that the absolute majority of those who come to Tuva for business also visit tourism objects, get acquainted with the culture and history of the region and with its sights and nature.

A large number of tourists come from the USA, Germany, Finland, Mongolia, Japan, China, Switzerland, Brazil, France and Italy.

- Who is the biggest contributor to the region’s inbound tourist flow?

- The republic’s tourist flow is mostly made up of visitors from Siberian Federal District (Krasnoyarsk Krai, the Republic of Khakassia, the Republic of Buryatia, Irkutsk Oblast, Altai Krai, Novosibirsk Oblast). Visitors from Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Urals and from Central Russia are less frequent.

Tuva possesses vast tourism resources, which include natural, recreational, historical and cultural aspects. Tourists are drawn to the republic’s beautiful and pristine nature.


 

- Is the region included in the Russian federal program for tourism development? If yes, what are the projects that are being implemented?

- As per the Russian government’s order No. 644 dated August 2, 2011 ‘On the development of domestic and inbound tourism of the Russian Federation (2011-2018)’, Tuva was included in the list of the first 18 regions to receive federal funding during 2012-2014.

The creation of the tourist cluster in Tuva is divided into 3 stages. In 2012, as part of the first stage, the ethno-cultural complex Aldyn-Bulak was opened in the republic. In 2013, during the second stage, the tourist center Silbir was built and the access road to Dus-Khol Lake was reconstructed. Also, work was done on securing the additional federal budget funds in the amount of 14,716 million rubles ($415,200) for the completion of the object.

The third stage is to be carried out in 2014 and it includes building a hotel and shopping complex in Kyzyl for 26 million rubles ($733,300). From this amount 20 million will come from the federal budget and 6 million – from the republic’s budget. In 2015 a new tourist cluster will be created, and it will be home to new promising social projects.

- Is Tuva going to participate in the upcoming exhibition ‘Intourmarket’? What will the region show to the market?

- Yes, our region will participate in the annual international travel fair ‘Intourmarket (ITM) 2014’. This year the republic has prepared a spectacular program for the participants and visitors of the exhibition, which will showcase the full travel potential of the region. Among the events planned is a presentation of the many options for the event tourism for 2014 which are sponsored by Tuva’s Ministry of Culture and an exposition ‘Wonderful World of Shamans’. Also, there will be a theatrical performance by the dance and costume theater ‘Edegey’. Finally, visitors will be able to taste Tuvan dairy dishes and drinks, and learn about the Tuvan throat singing – khoomei.

- What kinds of tourism will Tuva be developing in the coming years?

- Those which are going to take precedence in the near future are rural, event and educational kinds of tourism.


 

- How many tourists a year can visit the region? What are the capabilities of the local hotels?

- The total number of rooms in the region is 1,963 rooms a day, out of which 215 rooms are in Kyzyl; hotels in municipal districts that offer only accommodation services have 240 rooms a day. Also, throughout the whole territory of the republic there are holiday camps and resort hotels which collectively have 1,508 rooms.

In the capital there is one two-star hotel – the hotel complex ‘Buyan-Badyrgy’, and three hotels without rating – ‘Odugen’, ‘Cottage’ and ‘Mongulek’.



Buyan-Badyrgy is the most recently-built of all the hotels in Kyzyl, which was officially given the 2-star rating and which has different categories of rooms. This hotel complex has a canteen with a banquet hall, a coffee bar and a conference hall. The complex was named after a Tuvan public figure who founded the state of Tuva – Mongush Buyan-Badyrgy.

- Are new accommodation facilities being built in the region? What are they?

- Yes, of course. As I have already mentioned, in 2013 a new tourist center with 59 rooms was opened – Silbir, which is situated on the mud and salt lake Dus-Khol in Tandinsky district.


 

A 3-star hotel and shopping center is slated to be built in 2014. The projected area for the hotel rooms – 1,820 square kilometers, the number of rooms – 97. This center will work all year round and is expected to offer 60 comfortable rooms. Among them is 1 suite (single), 5 apartments (2 single and 3 double), 24 studios (10 single, 14 double), and 30 first-class rooms (10 single, 20 double).


 

- How active are the local DMCs?

- In 2011 there were 10 travel companies in the republic. In 2013 – already 19, out of which 10 specialize in inbound tourism. Inbound tourism is also handled by the Information Center of the Tuva Republic. I think that tour operators have caught wind of the growing interest in the republic among Russians and foreigners. Also, in the past years a lot has been done to support entrepreneurs who contribute to the development of the travel business.

- Do any of the large Russian tour operators plan on opening an office in Tuva?

- As of now, 8 travel companies that specialize in the outbound tourism (out of 19 that work in Tuva) are working with large Russian tour operators - PEGAS Touristik, Natalie Tours and Теz Tour, and we are working on variants of further cooperation. We are positive that as the tourism infrastructure in the republic grows, so will the interest of large tour operators.

Страны, регионы и города: Russia
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