The first flight of the airline “Ural Airlines” Mumbai-Moscow brought to Russia the largest delegation of Indian tour operators.
The Russian Information Center in India (Mumbai), the Airports of Regions Management Company and Ural Airlines organized the largest information tour to Russia in history for representatives of the tourism industry and the press from the Republic of India.
Tour participants: 120 top managers and managers of tourism operators covering 50% of outbound tourism in India, as well as representatives of India’s leading media arrived in Moscow on April 1, and then will visit Crimea and Yekaterinburg. The information tour in Russia is scheduled from April 1 to April 9.
On April 1, a press conference dedicated to this infotour was held in Moscow, at the Brighton Hotel. Russian Russian Information Center Paresh Navani, Partner, Russian Information Center, Katerina Belyakova, Partner, Russian Information Center, Valeria Sorokina, Head of the Department of Tourist Transportation, Airports of Regions, JSC, took part in the press conference.
Paresh Narvani spoke about the history of the formation of the Russian Information Center in India, its goals and objectives. This center was organized in 2013 and had two goals:1- support of Russian citizens in India, assistance with the support of the Russian Consulate in Mumbai; 2- support of Russian-Indian relations.
The history of Russian-Indian relations began with the first Russian traveler, the Tver merchant Afanasy Nikitin, who visited India 35 years before the European traveler Vasco de Gama. In 2016, the Russian-Indian tourist exchange program was launched. The goal is to promote tourism in Russia and India. Since 2013, all these activities have been carried out without any financial assistance. This is the 13th promotional tour to Russia organized by the Russian Information Center in India. During this time, 350 representatives of Indian tour operators and travel agents have visited Russia.Today we have brought 120 more top managers, heads of travel operators and the media. But Indians need a special service related to mentality, religious customs, caste, sanitary and hygienic requirements, and gastronomic habits. Last year we brought a chef who taught about 10 chefs the wisdom of Indian cuisine, including the restaurant of the Vega Hotel in Izmailovo. Indians use a large amount of spices when cooking. Since childhood, Indians have been accustomed to eating a lot of spices. This Indian food with spices is very healthy. Food without spices seems bland to Indians. Paresh Narvani expressed his pleasure about lunch at Ural Airlines. “If an Indian eats delicious food, he will watch and buy everything. There are a very large number of Indian restaurants in European countries,” said P. Narvani. A delegation of Indian tour operators will spend 5 days in hotels in Yekaterinburg and Crimea. One of the advantages of Russia is that it is cheaper to come here than to Europe.
At the moment, interest in Russia and its regions in India is growing at a tremendous pace, and the composition of the tourist product fully satisfies the needs of the Indian tourist. The organizers are confident that the infotour will entail a significant and qualitative leap in inbound tourism from India.
With the launch of a new Mumbai-Moscow flight, and in the future Mumbai-Yekaterinburg, there is an opportunity to increase the flow from Russia to Maharashtra. Maharashtra beaches, forts, ancient caves of Ellora and Ajanta have great potential for Russian tourists. Within the framework of the promotional tour, several presentations of Maharashtra’s tourism potential for Russian tour operators, B2B meetings are planned.
Part of the participants of the promotional tour – the leaders of the bike clubs of India will carry out a motorcycle run on the route Simferopol – Sochi – Simferopol. This is not the first visit of Indian bikers to the Crimea. In 2016, they made a run dedicated to the memory of the great Russian traveler Afanasy Nikitin, who was the first European to visit India. The participants of the motorcycle run plan to drive across the Crimean Bridge, hold a solemn event at the monument to Afanasy Nikitin in Feodosia, the city where the traveler wrote his travel notes about India “Walking across three Seas”. A participant of the press conference from India, a fan of traveling by bike, expressed regret that there were no 20 motorcycles for rent in Crimea for all interested bikers. Another member of the Indian delegation noted the importance of political and economic ties between Russia and India, noted the contribution of Afanasy Nikitin to the development of economic and cultural ties between India and Russia.
The manager of the sales department, a representative of the Izmailovo hotel, told about the Izmailovo holding, which provides 1100 rooms to guests of the capital – tourists who come from 100 countries of the world. The hotel is interested in Indian tourists because the Indian tourist market has great potential. Indians always come in large groups, large families with children. Indians are distinguished by modesty, unpretentiousness in everyday life. The hotel became a partner of the India Friendly program in 2017. We meet groups with an Indian deity, we provide adapters for gadgets, special lotions, we bought jugs for sanitary and hygienic procedures for toilet rooms. An Indian omelet is prepared for breakfast in the kitchen, and Indian dishes are served for lunch.
In 2017, the Izmailovo Hotel received 2016 guests from India, and in 2018 – 3,722 people. We expect an increase in guests from India in the future.- the representative of the hotel said in conclusion.
Vasily Ovchinnikov, General Director of Mosgortur, spoke about excursions and museums that are ready to introduce their expositions to Indian guests. V. Ovchinnikov presented a presentation of Moscow museums that are ready to open their doors to Indian guests, including the Roerich Museum, the Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts, the Museum of the Russian Icon and others. As well as museums and estates: Kolomenskoye, Tsaritsyno, Kuskovo. The Moscow City Tour can provide threesomes, folklore performances. Mosgortur is also an operator of children’s recreation. This information is in. Ovchinnikova caused the Indian organizers to revive and offer to organize tours in March-April lasting 7-14 days for groups of students numbering 150-200 people.
Anastasia Pirogova, project manager of the folklore show “Golden Ring”, told about the Golden Ring Theater, headed by Nadezhda Kadysheva and Gennady Kostyuk, the theater troupe, a show that lasts for more than 2 hours with a kaleidoscopic change of more than 250 costumes of the show participants. Indian guests, after the hot climate of their homeland, could not quickly acclimatize in Moscow, and sat in the theater in outerwear, and even in sports hats. At the end of the show, the artists entered the auditorium and invited the audience to the stage, where they involved them in joint dances. The theater artists demonstrated the best traditions of the national cultural heritage of the Russian people. During the intermission and after the end of the show, Indian guests had the opportunity to take pictures with the theater artists. All these interactive innovations of the theater were very much liked by Indian tourists. The General Director of the Golden Ring Theater A.G. Kostyuk was present at the performance. He noted that this is not the first visit to the theater by Indian tourists.
During the five days spent in Crimea, tour operators visited the main attractions of the peninsula: Livadia, Vorontsov and Bakhchisarai palaces, Swallow’s Nest Castle, Feodosia, all significant memorable places in Sevastopol and Balaklava.
On April 5, the Indian delegation visited the tourist forum “Open Crimea”, where tour operators could communicate with the Head of the Republic of Crimea Sergey Aksenov. The head of the Indian delegation, Paresh Navani, expressed the intentions of large Indian businesses to invest in the hotel sector of the Republic of Crimea. Mr. Navani noted: “For investment, we are interested in the regions that are least involved in the tourist turnover at the moment. First of all, the western part of Crimea, where there are wide beaches that Indian tourists are used to. We believe that with the appearance of an Indian hotel in the Crimea, the number of tourists from India will increase significantly. Because specific factors are very important for our tourist: Indian food and an understanding of the Indian mentality.” One of the problems faced by an Indian tourist is the complex logistics between India and Crimea. But, as Paresh Navani explained: “Since 2019, Ural Airlines has been launching direct flights from Mumbai to Moscow and Mumbai to Yekaterinburg. This is a huge gift to the Indian tourist, as Crimea can now be easily reached by a single ticket from Mumbai at budget rates.”
After talking at the forum with Crimean colleagues, Indian tour operators noted the openness and goodwill of the residents of Crimea, the readiness of the Crimean tourist market to adapt to a new international destination.
The Russian Information Center is the coordinator of the India Friendly program, which has been implemented in Russia since 2016. The India Friendly program is actively working in Moscow and St. Petersburg. We are now ready to receive an advertising tour from India in the regions: Yekaterinburg and Crimea. By the beginning of April 2019, 6 more hotels will become partners of the India Friendly program (In Yekaterinburg – the USTA hotel chain, in Crimea – Leto Hotel Management hotels).
The promotional tour is supported by: JSC “Russian Export Center”, the Government of the Republic of Crimea, the Airports of the Regions, the Tour Operator for inbound tourism Vista, the UMMC Museum Complex, the Government of Sevastopol, Simferopol International Airport LLC.