Russia will make the most comfortable conditions of stay for Indian tourists. It will be performed according to “India Friendly” program, which was represented at the largest tourism fair in New Delhi on February 16, 2017. The program will be launched in April 2017.
Participants of the exhibition told to “E Vesti” magazine, that Indian people have a very strong interest in Russia. More than 2’000 representatives of Indian tour operators have visited our stand during 2 days. More than 100 people attended presentation hall, and almost all seats were occupied. Many market players are predicting a serious increase of tourist flow from India to our country.
The program includes voluntary certification of tourist facilities, which confirms services in accordance with Indian tourists’ expectations. The development and implementation of the program, in the framework of Visit Russia project, will be jointly performed by the Union of National and international tourist information organizations (SONATO), Russian Information Centre in India, Northwest regional department of Russian Union of Tourist Industry and Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics.
Regarding to upcoming launch of India Friendly program “E Vesti” addressed to General Manager of SONATO Alexander Gorokhov for details.
EV: India Friendly program provides adaptation of tourism facilities, and creating a “comfortable environment stay” for guests from India. What does this mean?
Alexander Gorokhov: Indian tourists have a special mentality, which includes the rules of communication, meeting guests, rules of conducting in public places, food traditions.
The hotels should meet such requirements as the mandatory presence of vegetarian dishes for breakfast, the presence of a kettle and adaptor socket in the room, English-speaking staff and information signs in English, the availability of free drinking water.
Indians are used to British education system, they are familiar with European culture, but at the same time they follow national traditions. About 70% of their comfort depends on food. It should be purely Indian. The remaining 30% are associated with selection of important information for Indians, the ability to communicate and receive information in English, as well as behavior specificity of guides and staff in hotel and restaurants.
That is why special training courses which cover all important elements of working with Indian tourists will be prepared for staff. Cooks will be trained in Indian cuisine.
Participation in India Friendly program lets various formats. For example, some participants could cooperate with the recommended Indian restaurants for catering.
EV: How many tourists from India visited Russia, and how much are they expected after program launch?
Alexander Gorokhov: currently the number of tourists from India amounts several dozen of thousands a year.
For the first 9 months of 2016, Russia was visited by 47 thousand Indians. It is 18% more than during the same period of 2015 year. The introduction of India Friendly program is one of the opportunities to attract guests from India. FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and World Cup 2018 in Russia will play a very important role. These largest world sport events will attract the attention of tourists from all parts of the world including Indians, many of whom know and love football. Number of Indian guests may grow by 15-20% in 2018 and the next few years. So it could exceed 100 thousand people per year by 2020.