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RUTI opens its first branch in Europe with headquarters in Riga

08:07, 28 сентября 2012

The increase of the tourist flow between Russia and Baltic countries, as well as the need to create a united tourist space, lead towards better cooperation between travel market representatives and government authorities. An important step in that process is the opening of the Baltic branch office of RUTI in Riga.



During a meeting in the Riga Duma representatives of both governments and travel industry professionals discussed RUTI projects in the Baltic region, the development of new tourist relations between the countries, possible ways of increasing the tourist flow in both directions and many other questions.


“We’ve done a lot in the recent years to make Riga an intellectual tourism center” – said Maksim Tolstoy, member of the board in Riga’s Tourism Development Bureau. Riga is advertised as a capital city with rich cultural and historical heritage as well as a good event list. Among them you’ll notice the local holiday Ligo (Ivan Kupala Day) and the grand two-week winter celebration, including both Christmas and Ney Year’s eve. “Russia is a priority for our tourist market. If an average tourist spends around 531 euro during his stay in Latvia, a Russian tourist spends twice as much – 1277 euro”, - noted Mr. Tolstoy.


Latvia is attractive to Russian tourists because it preserves its authenticity, its sense of cultural heritage. In the globalization era, ethnicity is a good marketing move, - thinks Head of the Tourism and Regional Politics Department in the Ministry of culture, and also vice-president of RUTI, Sergey Korneev. – Latvia and the North-West region of Russia both have some common markets available for them, like India, China and Latin America. We need tourists to come to this region and perceive it as one big destination”. One of the main tasks for the new RUTI branch, according to Mr. Korneev, is creating tourist routes which include visiting nearby countries. All in one trip.


This is the first time a full-scale RUTI branch is being opened in Europe, pointed out Irina Tyurina, RUTI Press-secretary and Chief Editor of RATA-news. Its main objective is to increase the tourist flow between our countries in both directions. And there’s room to grow: according to analytics, Latvia is in 25-28 place in Russian tourist ratings. But we can already see some progress. According to Irina Tyurina, Russians are starting to take interest in destinations other than Riga and Yurmala. Places like Sigulda, Rundale, Liepaja, Lielupe, Cesis and many others are gaining popularity. Also spa-resorts are in demand, but there’s a shortage of them at the moment.


“Russian tour operators complement Riga’s new brand – LiveRiga. But there are still not nearly enough promotion materials in Russian. Also the lack of Latvian Tourism Office in Moscow is a serious drawback”, - noted RUTI Press-secretary.


The Baltic branch of RUTI is just the foundation we need to work out some service standards for North-West of Russia, Baltic countries and countries of Northern Europe, thinks Head of the North-West RUTI branch, Tatiana Gavrilova.


Latvian tourists are attracted to Russia by the famous brands (like The Golden Ring) and eco-tourism destinations (Baikal, Karelia). Yet, according to Olga Sanaeva, Head of the RUTI Committee on Cultural and Educational Tourism, Kazan, the Far East and Kamchatka also have good potential. If advertised right, the small historical towns can attract Latvian tourist as well.


The new branch will be led by Ilona Ansone, who has great experience in project marketing, including some in tourism. “The new RUTI branch will help colleagues and partners improve their cooperation with professional travel industry pralers in Latvia and other Northern European countries. We will have a chance to improve travel ties between Russia and the Baltic region, do better promotion and increase the tourist flow in both directions”, - said Mrs. Ansone in the Riga Duma. The first step is to get Latvian tour operators to participate in the RUTI branch. With time the project will reach out to other Baltic countries.


“Our mission is to establish a positive information exchange, create professional ties, so we can start to destroy the stereotypes many tourists and travel industry representatives have”, - noted Ilona Ansone. The first event of such nature was a tour called Riga+, highlighting what new attractions the capital and the Vidzeme region have to offer. Many people, including tour operators from Saint-Petersburg and RUTI representatives took part in the tour.


Companies that will become part of the Baltic branch of RUTI will have more options when working with their Russian counterparts. RUTI houses more than 20 regional travel associations and many top Russian tour operators. Also Baltic partners will have discounts for many specialized events like trade fairs, international forums and festivals. Also the Russian Union of Travel Industry helps its partners to compile groups of travel market representatives and journalists for those special press-tours.


During the visit, the Russian delegation met with the Mayor of Riga, with heads of the Riga Tourism Development Bureau, members of the Riga Duma and Latvian travel industry representatives.


Ilona Ansone was born in Riga, there in 2001 she graduated from the Russian International Academy of Tourism. She worked in the entertainment industry, marketing, business-consulting, took part in many trade fairs, has a lot of international conference experience, attended forums in Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Belorussia, Poland and Finland. Her last place of work was the BT1 company, where Ilona organized the Balttour trade fair and travel forum.


The registration of a legal body is already underway for the Baltic branch of RUTI. More than 10 Latvian companies have already voiced their wish to be the part of the organization.


You can contact the branch director by email ilona@rata.ru

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