Alena Kochanova: Tourism does not happen online!

June 15 marks the 5th anniversary of the tourist information center of the Krasnoyarsk region. Director of the TIC Alena Kochanova on how the institution went beyond the tourist center and why you don't need to do stupid things.

- Alena Sergeevna, why do you exist as a tourist center at all? Tell us a little about how it all began and what is the tourist center of the Krasnoyarsk region now?

- We were originally a classic tourist information center. We collected the most interesting information about our attractions, put it into beautiful convenient catalogs and maps, told tourists where they could relax in the region, which tour operator was better to contact, or how to organize a vacation on their own. We promoted all the best that we had for residents of our region, other regions of Russia and abroad. But recently we have been performing another very important task. We create tourist infrastructure, create points of attraction for our tourists. It is clear that the number of natural attractions in our region is constant, the Krasnoyarsk Stolby National Park, the Ergaki Natural Park, the Mana River and others - we are trying to increase the number of points of attraction for tourists and do it with taste and respect for nature.

" Tourism in the Krasnoyarsk region as it is, is just beginning, and our region is the second largest in Russia, which means we still have a lot of work"

- Who works in your team, who are these people?

- The team is the most important thing in our center. In general, in my understanding, in any project, if you are not a lone expssionist artist, the most important thing is the team. Initially, I think I was just lucky. When our team was being formed, there were literally three like-minded people who performed their work with high quality, responsibly, I emphasize - very responsibly. Further, when the team began to develop, of course, we selected people for ourselves. This is also a branch department - tourism managers, administrative and managerial personnel, a separate team works in
Gremyachaya Griva. - administrators, workers, engineers, park manager. More than 30 people today. Being the leader I see the effectiveness and the main indicator of my team as the fact that there is practically no turnover in our team at all. Those people who came initially they still work. It is important.

- How do you determine whether a person is right for you or not?

- I can determine by a person, even if he (she) is phlegmatic, for example, and does not openly show emotions that he (she) is ready to live with a project. When you start talking about the institution, what we do, how the work is organized, you can immediately see whether a person's enthusiastic or not.

- Now you have a larger group of choleric, sanguine or phlegmatic people mentioned?

- Now I have a team of great professionals from the point of view that they themselves, without any instructions, checks, work independently - for me this is an important indicator. Psychotypes are different, but when they work together, in a team, together, then they get
cool products.

- Now let's talk about the most interesting thing: how did you with all your team endure the period of self-isolation?

- Honestly, it was interesting! I cannot say that it was very simple, but we had an idea what what to do now. Again, probably due to the fact that all people are adults and with understanding, with some kind of inner awareness. The most difficult week, when all were at home by psidential decree, we also stayed at home, and then switched to remote work, and that was not easy. Communicating by looking into each other's eyes and explaining difficult tasks is one thing, but communicating online, let's say in a new reality, is more difficult, of course. However, during this time the team did not lose not only the speed of work, but on the contrary - we did everything and even more according to our plan. We also changed the work plan several times, depending on the situation that was in the world and in our region. We had a number of events aimed at participating in large, mass events - it was urgently necessary to change everything.

- What difficulties do you see now and how do you deal with them?

- Now the peak of the crisis has passed, but the planning horizon remains very short. Until now, some data are unknown, on the basis of which we can plan something. Will there be the events that we set in the fall, will the exhibitions be held in winter, how will our domestic tourism tour operators work, have they managed to restructure their work during these months, and try to turn to another target audience, how many of them will remain what kind of tours we will promote is still unknown.

Now even those people who, for various reasons, did not consider it interesting to travel in Russia, choose a place to travel in their country - you need to find an alternative in terms of money, interest and service”

- The world has changed. In a situation of ambiguity during this period, what is appropriate for organizations such as yours?

“You definitely don’t need to do stupid things. No need to do incomphensible flash mobs, go “online”, tourism does not happen online, people travel to specific places, get real emotions, online can not replace this! Therefore, it seems to me that it would be more useful to spend this time in our own monitoring, in professional training, in the repair, as some of our tour operators did, who had the opportunity to renovate the office, in putting things in order in the documents, in some useful applied work in order to get out of this regime with a clear understanding of where to go next, with at least one new product. Now even those people who, for various reasons, did not consider it interesting to travel in Russia, choose a place to travel in their country - you need to find an alternative in terms of money, interest and service.

- And what unusual are you doing?

- To begin with, we are unusual and have long gone beyond the usual tourist center’s boundaries, whose tasks include informing tourists about the sights and promoting the region. Very soon we will have a line of author's tours, and excursions. I would like to make a remark that we are not competitors for tour operators and we make these products primarily for people who think that a tour of Krasnoyarsk cannot be interesting, who have already “seen everything, visited everywhere”. We will give people the opportunity to feel like tourists in their hometown, and this, believe me, will be very interesting.

The very attitude to the creation of guidebooks or
printedsouvenir products, it is also non-trivial, non-standard. If this is a guidebook, then this is not a fact from Wikipedia, in what year which district was formed - this is not interesting to anyone, experts contact the cultural bearers in these areas, learn the most interesting features that are known only to the "local".

The World Winter Universiade gave impetus to our Siberian city. For a couple of years, while we were pparing for the event, people received a slightly different Krasnoyarsk, it became better, more comfortable, beautiful places appeared in it, special lighting, and so on. You get used to good things very quickly, you have been in one place 2 times - you already need something new. One of the flagship projects of the institution is the
Gremyachaya Griva eco-park ; last year we have already built its second stage.

- What does the “second stage” of the park mean?

- Briefly: "Gremyachaya Griva" consists of 2 parts, the first part is a park one, here it looks more and more like a city park, there is an asphalt part, covered paths, there are historically existing paths, many benches, 2 visitor centers, observation decks, video surveillance, lighting - in the evening it's very beautiful there! The second part is tourist, moms with strollers do not go there, a guest of the second stage of the park is an active person, which may be 70 years old, this is not uncommon here, a person who is ready to walk with a backpack 3-5 hours and look at our facilities. There are also observation platforms, recreation areas, I note that there are very few such places in Siberia, and probably even beyond the Urals, and this is our pride. It is one thing to create and completely another thing is to serve such a territory every day, because this is not a city park that can be closed with a key and do a technical revision there, this is a park without fences, a new format, people work there every day from 8 am to 10 pm, they monitor its cleanliness, so that visitors are pleasant to be in this park. We must pay tribute to the visitors themselves, it is possible to maintain cleanliness.

- How much of a traveler are you? What do you remember the most and where is your place of power?

- I cannot say that I am an experienced traveler and have been to many places. Although, depending on what to compare with, I have visited several countries and many regions of Russia, in the south of our region and in the north too. Most often I have been to Yeniseisk, I love this place, and I love it more in winter than in summer. I like the city for its peaceful, very measured atmosphere, which is very different from my usual life. When you arrive there, it seems that life freezes, as if Yeniseisk has been on self-isolation for a long time, unlike us! (laughs). Ergaki made a great impssion on me, such a luscious nature - there is snow in June, mountain streams, air that everyone should breathe at least once. The Putorana Plateau is a completely different world, we can talk about it forever. I never dreamed of going there - there are things that you dream about, but there are things beyond your dreams. It was a gift of fate when we organized an information tour for foreign tour operators and managed to visit the plateau.

- If now there was an opportunity to go anywhere in the world, then where?

- You know, I have always dreamed of visiting Crimea. I love the sea dearly. It is this special Crimean climate, the contrast of colors that I imagine right now - a light strip of sand, a blue strip of the sea, green trees, fields of poppies - I would go there, on my own as "savages", with the opportunity to live in a tent.

- What is tourism for you?

- This is unambiguously development through new knowledge and emotions, the internal development of a person through how you get to know people, culture, cuisine. This is not always very positive, but any experience is an experience, tourism is a deep concept.

- And if not for tourism - then what?

- Ballet! (laughs). If it were not for tourism, then journalism, because this is also communication and gives endless impulses for development, you on duty every day meet new people who give a million reasons to think about life and look at yourself from the outside. This happened once, when I came from journalism to tourism.

-What will happen next?

- Since I am an optimist in life, I see a great bright future for myself, for my team, for our institution. Otherwise, how can you work further when there is a wall in front of you. There is no wall, we have a horizon with a very beautiful picture, because tourism in the Krasnoyarsk region as it is, is just beginning, and our region is the second largest in Russia, which means we still have a lot of work.

- Last question. What is your happiness? What brings you joy?

- Such a simple question, but very deep. It brings joy when I am calm inside and feel that everything is going the way I want. This requires a lot of work. Not in terms of completing tasks at work, although this is also important. You need to work a lot with yourself, with your family and with loved ones, give them attention, and then there is this pleasant sensation with which you fall asleep in the evening summing up the day: “Yeah, it's okay. Everything is calm, burning cases are resolved. " You wake up in the morning and you understand, yes, there are different problems and we will solve them this way and that. Together with this, you just live and move on.

Write to Alena
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Published: Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Published: 16.06.2020
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