OTDYKH Leisure team launches new interview series with heads of international tourism boards on their experience, forecasts, recent updates and tips during forced isolation.
AVIAREPS is the global leader in destination marketing. In Russia, it represents several National Tourist Offices including Bahrain, Brussels, Hong Kong, Qatar, Taiwan and Flanders. As part of our interview series, Ms. Marina Kuzina, Tourism and Marketing Manager (Aviareps), the representative of Bahrain Tourism office in Russia, unveiled how AVIAREPS is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to support their clients and partners.
How are you feeling today? In what format do you and your colleagues continue to work?
AVIAREPS is one of the market leaders. In Russia, we represent several National Tourist Offices: Bahrain, Brussels, Hong Kong, Qatar, Taiwan, Flanders. Everyone has different ways to work during this time. For example, there is a fascinating project from the office of Flanders: Stay at Home Museum is an online tour to museums, which can be found on https://www.facebook.com/VisitFlandersRu. We also make many online projects for those offices who want to remind about themselves to their Russian partners. It is different projects from simple online webinars up to one amazing large-scale project that we are planning right now - online workshop with exhibition stands, presentations, and appointment system. Our colleagues have already done a similar project in Europe for European tourist offices. They met virtually with tour operators from China. We are going to have such a project in Russia soon.
Some of our partners took a temporary break in their worldwide promotion to have a chance to review and improve offers for tourists. For example, in Bahrain, the National Tourism Office, hotels, and host companies are now holding meetings and conferences to offer the Russian and European tourists a better product as soon as flights between Russia and Bahrain reopen.
It’s especially important now not to cut off communication with partners and clients. Could you share your experience with your Russian and international colleagues, how do you continue promoting your destination in a situation where borders are closed?
All work went online. To be honest, we miss face-to-face meetings and hope to resume them soon in the usual formats of seminars and one-on-one meetings, but now, most of our work is in front of the computer screen. Now, social networking, online seminars, and online workshops are the most common formats for tourist offices we are working with. We also continue to inform our partners about the current situation in countries. For example, online tours to Flemish museums and virtual tours to Bahrain made by the tourism office: http://culture.gov.bh/en/eservices/virtual_tours/ Museums of Qatar also have some offers for their guests, even if it’s for virtual guests for now. For instance, Mathaf - the Arab Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Islamic Art, the National Museum of Qatar have placed virtual tours in the Google Arts & Culture apps, and you can download it to your smartphone.
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?
Like all my colleagues, I only can tell you my opinion. I cannot give any official comments, because this uncertainty remains in many countries, so it is unwise to make any assumptions. My colleagues and I hope that the countries we work with will open shortly after the opening of traditional tourism destinations. And our partners - tour operators are preparing for the winter season in Bahrain, Brussels, Hong Kong, Qatar, Taiwan, and Flanders. They are updating hotel prices and tour offers on their websites.