Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Who visits Novosibirsk?

There will be no pictures in this post, but I hope my readers will find it interesting.
The tourist season is over now, and I expect very few tourists in winter. I guided only three tours the previous winter, and it was luck, because many colleagues didn't have any at all.
But the season 2011 was very good for me, so I'd like to summarize it, analyze it and make some forecast for the next season.
My friends and family often ask me if I am honest to say that I have a lot of work with tourists. They cannot believe that Novosibirsk may be attractive for guests. I am convinced, however, that the number of tourists will be increasing, and the last summer can confirm it.
So, who visits Novosibirsk, where are these people from and why they come to the city?

As I only speak English and German, I mostly work with those who speak these languages. It does not mean, however, that I only work with people from America, the UK, Australia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and several other countries where these languages are spoken. This summer I had a group of tourists from Belgium, a couple from France, one gentleman from Japan, a very nice young lady from Spain, a group from Turkey and two groups from the Netherlands. The rest were from the countries mentioned above, and the prevailing number was from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Oh, I forgot about several Russians! Though I prefer foreign tourists, I can't say no to Russian tourists wishing to go on a city tour. Working with Russians is a real challenge for me, they usually have much deeper questions and a tour guide should be well informed. Besides, Russians like complaining a lot. I don't know why, but my countrymen are the most 'problematic' tourists of all!
I've tried hard, but I couldn't count the number of tours I guided from April till the end of October (it's the main season here), but I suppose I guided about 35 city tours during this time. Compared to 2008 and 2009, when I had only 12 city tours during summer, this is not bad! In 2010 I had about 20-23 city tours, which was not bad either, but I wanted to have more and I worked on marketing and advertising a lot. I hope to have more the next summer.

Where do I find tourists? Well, the most of them are still those traveling by a special tourist train and by ordinary passenger trains along the Transsiberian Railway. And I get the most of them through local travel agencies. Mainly these tourists are over 50 (with some exceptions) and they usually travel from Moscow to either Lake Baikal or Beijing, or Vladivostok, or Ulan Bataar, or from those destinations to Moscow. Only a few travel to Altai Mountains, which is a pity, because Altai Mountains is my favourite region and I find it definitely worth visiting. Still several tourists I guided were going exactly there or back from there.
The prevailing number of tourists do not stay in Novosibirsk for more than 1 day (and 1 night), but I had those who stayed here 2 and even 3 days, which means that Novosibirsk is still an interesting travel destination. These people had good chances to visit the most interesting museums and theatres, and they told me they really loved it! I hope it's true:)
Not all people I guided were pure tourists. Many of them were here on business and wished a city tour during their spare time. Among those there were several researchers and scientists, and it turned out that they were more interested in a tour than businessmen. The latter normally keep making phone calls, looking for something in their laptops or papers and are often in a hurry to the next meeting.

What tourists do I like more? Well, all of them! Now when the season is over and I'm thinking of it, I can say for sure they were all interesting, and none of them was a disappointment. Each nationality has its features. People from Spain are open-hearted and emotional, those from France are very much like the first. Germans are reserved but usually well-educated and nice to talk to. Those from Switzerland and Austria are like Germans, but more open-minded. Americans are emotional and loud. Englishmen are somewhat cold but intelligent. People from oriental countries do not talk much, they seem to be always in good mood and never complain. Russians are difficult:) But tit is challenging and rewarding to work with them.
Everything I say is a personal opinion only!


  1. Great post, Olga! I liked your description of people from different countries... and yes, Russians are often harder to deal with ;) Good luck to you with your business! Maybe some day I get to see Altai and Novosibirsk, too!

  2. Olga, you are really welcome! Altai is wonderful, you'll love it.