Altai Region and Republic of Altai welcome tourists

Alena Donskaya, 25.07.2014 11:57
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The first part of a series of media tours for Siberian Federal District (representatives of federal and regional mass media) took place on July 11–13. The event aimed to provide an objective outlook for the region in the wake of June’s river flood and was organized by Altaitourcenter and Altai Regional Tourism Association (ARTA), with the support of the regional administration.

Journalists from Omsk, Novosibirsk, Kemerovo and Barnaul visited the Turquoise Katun tourist OEZ, where they tried a short rafting course down the Katun River, took a look at the main excursion sites and travel complexes along the left bank of the Katun, joined Fern Flower festival celebration and visited a trout farm.

The journalists were shown that it was absolutely safe to stay in Altai Region and in the neighboring Republic of Altai, and that the river flood aftermath had been all but dealt with. In other words, the negative image of the region’s travel potential offered by some mass media sources and local officials (the latter were interested in receiving substantial financial aid) is unfounded.

Speaking at the press conference in Tsarskaya Okhota (“Royal Hunt”) tourist complex, President of the Association of tourist organizations of the Republic of Altai (ATORA) Sergei Zyablitsky said that the regional authorities took swift action when eliminating the river flood aftermath.

"It is true that the river flood severely damaged the road infrastructure and, in part, electrical communication facilities. The infrastructure of Ongudaysky and Ust-Koksinsky districts of Altai, which are located in the upper reaches of the Katun, took the brunt of the damage. The executive authorities all across the Altai region were quick in eliminating the consequences of the flood. However, some officials thought that making the situation look worse than it really was would help them het government aid," he said. As a result, in June the Altai accommodation facilities were only 30% full.

According to Lubov Zamyatina, CEO of Lubava recreation center in Altai, the flood did not affect many recreation centers, including this one.

"All of the region’s tourist centers were ready for tourists as early as mid-June: everything is clean and tidy, the nature is in blossom, the weather is good and the music fills the streets. The only thing missing is people…" says the expert.

The first big inflow of tourists to Altai coincided with the weekend of the first media tour. Natalitya Gordeeva, President of Altai Regional Tourism Association (ARTA), told TRN portal that "all economy-class tourist complexes were filled to capacity during the previous weekend. The situation in Altai is calm and safe, with the infrastructure almost fully restored."

"The authorities were not alone in eliminating the aftermath of the river flood. One of the main tourist attractions of Chemalsky District is Karakol lakes. To get there, you need to cross 13 bridges over a mountain stream, and all crossings were destroyed by the river flood. Local businessmen did not sit still and instead invested money in the construction of new bridges," said Sergey Zyablitsky, Head of ATOR.

However, travel business already suffered irrecoverable losses in June and in early July. Still, experts concur that during the period from mid-July and until August it will be possible for accommodation facilities to at least reach last year’s results. The accommodation prices will also remain the same as last year. "Close to 35% of tourist centers have lowered their rates," says Valery Kopytsky, CEO of Altai Tour Operators group.

The majority of tourist complexes are introducing bonus programs and special offers for tourists. Also, a number of accommodation facilities have increased the commission fees paid to their partners to 20-22%.

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