Interview: Sharjah

OTDYKH Leisure team continues to work with partners and clients during the coronavirus crisis. We are undertaking a series of short interviews with international tourism boards on their experience, forecasts, recent updates and tips during forced isolation.

As part of our interview series, Mr. Sergey Kanaev, Head of Sales and Marketing of Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority in Russia, shared his experiences with our team.

Question 1. How are you feeling today? In what format do you and your colleagues continue to work?

Of course, all communication with colleagues is online. We are discussing the situation and looking for opportunities to promote our destination — Sharjah. We want to be ready to present our destination with a new perspective and show new opportunities for tourists in Sharjah by the end of the crisis...

ANTOR was very active during this period, we have a lot of ideas, we are working together on common issues and participating in joint projects. This inspires optimism and gives a positive charge.

Question 2. It’s important now not to cut off communication with partners and clients. Could you share your experience with you Russian and international colleagues, how do you continue promoting your destination in a situation where borders are closed?

The representative office of Sharjah in Moscow works with partners not only in Russia, but also in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and many other countries. The situation is different everywhere, in every country and even among individual partners. Most of the partners have switched to an online format, there are some who have reduced their workflow to a minimum, others on the contrary strive to maintain their presence on the market, interact with agents, prepare online events for them. We try to keep our finger on the pulse and work in unison with our partners.

Question 3. Forecasts are now made very carefully, but still... According to your assessment at this time, when do you expect tourist flow recovery, including from Russia?

I personally feel, there has been a shift in the situation. Objectively, look, many countries are announcing plans of getting out of the crisis. Barriers between countries are being removed, carefully, but regular flights are starting, and this applies to the UAE as well. Recently, Russian transport Minister Dietrich said in an optimistic scenario that he hopes that international flights from Russia will begin before the end of this summer. The end of summer and beginning of autumn appear in many forecasts, including the Emirates. I have no choice but to support this view.

Question 4. One last question. Let’s imagine we are on the verge of ending the pandemic. Where would you personally go immediately after all borders open and transport logistics are restored?

That’s the most difficult question... Because now I want to go to a lot of countries and visit both my favourite and new places! Of course, the prime list will include Croatia, where we have been vacationing for the last 20 years, then Hungary — I want to treat my joints in hot springs after months of sitting at home... and then on the list — all over the world with all stops!...