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The ships do not enter our harbor ...
Anchor for a white steamer
Vladivostok claims the status of one of the main cities of Southeast Asia, visited by cruise liners. But in order to fulfill the cherished dream of becoming a Mecca of cruise tourism in the region, the city will have to work hard to promote its attractiveness in the eyes of foreigners.
Morning 18 March. The Amur Bay dimmed the mirror shines under a light gray hazy sky. A huge white liner with an emerald inscription on board - “Artania” (“Artania”) fits to the pier of the Vladivostok Marine Station.
All six decks of the floating skyscraper are densely strewn - like tiles of sugar ants - hundreds of figures of passengers. In total, there are 1200 people aboard the Artania, mostly Germans (the ship belongs to the German tour operator Phoenix Reisen). The lucky ones were able to please themselves with an 19-day cruise from Taiwan to Hong Kong, calling at the ports of Japan, Russia, the Republic of Korea and China. Stay in each port - no more than 10 hours.
From the liner, obviously, the following picture opened: on the approaching pier, near the relatively low building of the sea terminal (hardly exceeds the level of the bridge of the “Artania” itself a pretty impressive group of people are dotted with buses, cars and some trays next to them. ..
Among the "official comrades" meeting in the mansion are representatives of the mayor's office of Vladivostok and the Primorsky Krai administration responsible for the sphere of tourism. Their faces radiate smiles. Officials are happy that ships come to "our harbor" and wish that this happens as often as possible.
It is the efforts of local officials from tourism on a not very spacious entrepreneurial site that has built two dozen excursion buses. Here, a small line of Russian beauties in traditional costumes with traditional bread and salt, merchants-hawkers souvenirs, pickets guides and employees of the regional tourist information center. Smartly dressed girls are preparing to hand them Vladivostok maps and tourist booklets with detailed information about the city and the region.
Year by year the algorithm of meetings - the so-called welcom-ceremony - is being improved. For example, girls with cards-booklets and guides at the gangway - a novelty-2016. But the process of improvement lasts quite a long time. Thus, Vladivostok lost (by the decree of the Russian President Boris Yeltsin) the status of the "closed port" a quarter of a century ago, in 1991. Since then, the city has been visited by about a hundred cruise liners with foreign tourists on board - no more than six ship calls a year. For comparison, in the same Pacific city of the USA - San Francisco (with which Vladivostok is loved to compare since Soviet times), only annually comes around 80-type cruise liners, and in the South Korean Busan - about 135.
The reasons for such rare ship calls to the Pacific outpost of Russia are, as you might guess, being reduced to the notorious domestic lack of civilizability in terms of comfort: a long procedure of border and customs control (can last several hours, and there it must go), undeveloped infrastructure for people with disabilities, A certain shortage of parking spaces for tourist buses, a very small number of public toilets in the city center, not very convenient navigation (signs and signs in English e be far from everywhere, even in the city center), and of course - lack of coherent information on the town's attractions and interesting events.
As noted in a conversation with the correspondent. “ER” Olga Kudryavtseva, head of the Primorsky regional branch of the Union of Tour Operators of Russia: “The liner will approach the pier. Some passengers will plunge into sightseeing buses and go to get acquainted with the sights of the city. It is highly likely that they will fall into a half-two-hour traffic jam. Someone will want to walk around the city on foot, but our city does not suffer from an excess of offers of hiking excursions. Foreigners, in fact, are left to their own ... We don’t have any systemic navigation in the sights, interesting events in the city. Mostly only trade in souvenir consumer goods ... "
Event event discord
As for the event component, about a week before the arrival of "Artania" in Vladivostok a heated discussion arose: what needs to be done to turn the main port of Primorye into a city attractive for cruise liners. A wider - in the city, attractive for tourism in general, both inbound and internal.
The discussion was held within the framework of a round table organized by the regional branch of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Primorsky State Picture Gallery and the regional Tourist Information Center (a structure created recently under the auspices of the Regional Department for Tourism). Representatives of the tourist industry who participated in the roundtable complained that the city, among other things, lacks a calendar of interesting events that could attract foreign cruise operators.
The list of 35 events prepared for the round table by employees of the regional Tourist Information Center (“Calendar of the best events in the field of culture, sport, folk traditions and crafts ...” for 2016 year) was criticized by tourism professionals.
"The calendar includes many activities that are specific. They are unlikely to interest foreigners who descended from the ship to our land for only a few hours. For example - "The tenth international forum" Nature without borders ", or a forum on maritime tourism on the basis of one of the universities. A significant number of events in general pass hundreds of kilometers from Vladivostok (the festival "Khankaisky Zori" near Lake Khanka, for example), "Irina Kushnaryova, Executive Director of the NP" Tourist Association for International Integration "Window to Eurasia" was perplexed at the roundtable. In her opinion, it is enough to leave only a few events in the calendar, but they are really interesting and reflect the unique spirit of the city and the region. For example, "Day of the Tiger", or the film festival "Meridians of the Pacific". And concentrate on them all the power of marketing efforts.
Director of Vladivostok Marine Terminal Valery Nagorny urged everyone in the coming months to form a line of compelling tourist products (interesting for visiting places and events) on the basis of the edited event calendar, where Vladivostok would figure as an attractive port for cruise operator companies.
"In this market, the decision to enter this or that port is taken based on what passengers in this port can see. Therefore, today it is entirely necessary to concentrate on the preparation of proposals and the technology for bringing them to the target audience. In other words, prepare the presentation of products and a media plan to bring it to the target audience - cruise companies working in the Pacific direction, "concluded
Valery Nagorny. He also rightly remarked that the arrival of a beautiful liner, its solemn meeting, seeing off, seeing foreign guests and possible communication with them is an event that works for the image of the city attracting "domestic" tourists from other regions of Russia.
Another problem identified at the “round table” and directly related to the financial aspect is the lack of a clear customer for activities that stimulate the development of cruise tourism. Yes, in the regional and city budgets for the meeting of the same liners funds are allocated throughout the entire item of expenditure on tourism. But on the other hand, the municipality of Vladivostok considers it not entirely fair to arrange welcom-ceremonies only at the expense of budget funds.
"Commercial profit from the sale to foreigners of their products are given to certain commercial and travel agencies (in the case of organizing tours around the city). But to bear the costs of financing welcom-ceremonies are in no hurry. Many have become accustomed to the fact that these costs are borne by the city. I would propose to limit the participation of city authorities in this process only at the beginning and end of the cruise season. And the rest of the expenses should be taken by the businessmen concerned, "suggested Alexei Kushnir, head of the department for international relations and tourism of the Vladivostok administration.
The outcome of the “round table” on event tourism was the decision to form an expert group of representatives of the tourist industry, a regional Information and Tourist Center, the Primorsk State Picture Gallery and to charge it in close cooperation with the relevant committee of the regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, relevant departments of the city and regional administrations - to prepare specific proposals for the development of event tourism in the region,.
These proposals will be presented at the Second Pacific Tourism Forum, which will be held in Vladivostok in May this year - in the framework of the “Cruise Tourism” section. Many cruise companies operating in the Pacific direction are invited to the forum. According to Konstantin Shestakov, Director of the Primorsky Territory Tourism Department, as a result of the presentation of “our tourist event product, Primorye Territory should become not only one of the brightest places of attraction of cruise tourism, but also the starting point of cruise routes, primarily for countries of the Asia-Pacific region . Their inhabitants perceive our Primorye as a unique region “with a European soul”, located in Asia. ”
Until the end of the year, Vladivostok should visit four more cruise liners: Nippon Maru, Costa Victoria, Sun Princess and Pacific Venus. In May in May, July and October, respectively. To their arrival should already fully earn such projects to promote the city, as: "Hospitable Primorye" and "7 Wonders of Primorsky Krai" (both are the result of joint work of the regional branch of the Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Tourist Information Center). The first involves placing signs of tourist navigation in the center of Vladivostok and along the edge, and the second is a single information base of tourist resources of Primorye. The city's capacity to receive passenger ships is still limited to one marine terminal. But its technical parameters allow one-time reception of a vessel with draft up to 8,6 m and length up to 380 m, that is, in fact, any of the largest passenger airliners in the world today. An additional advantage of the Vladivostok terminal is its close proximity to the historic part of the city, where the railway station is located (the beginning / end of the Trans-Siberian Railway), Vladivostok Arbat, architectural monuments of the tsarist and soviet times, etc., descending to the sea. However, due to the fact that the cruise market of the Pacific Asia is quite impressive in its volumes (about 1000 cruises per year lasting 2-6 days, 2015 million passengers were transported in the order of 2 million passengers on 52 ships of 26 cruise brands) and has a tendency to Growth - in the future, the construction of another passenger terminal in Vladivostok - in the waters of the Russian Island - is being considered.