And now it is extremely important to consolidate this success and to attract tourists during the cold season, providing them with "hot" opportunities for rich and unforgettable vacations.
This year Crimea is definitely trendy. It actively welcomed even those guests who previously preferred to spend their vacations exclusively abroad. So, according to the opinion poll of the Ministry of Resorts and Tourism of the Republic of Crimea, 96% of tourists who reposed on the peninsula this year expressed a desire to come to us again. 50% of them − next year.
"In general, this year there is a very high demand for vacations and recreation in the autumn and perspectively − in the winter. And now the "season of health" begins, the most favorable time when it is possible to undergo medicinal and health improvement procedures. A number of health resorts have developed programs of rehabilitation after the recovery from coronavirus infection and programs for the prevention of diseases of the respiratory system in principle," said the Head of the Ministry of Resorts Vadim Volchenko.
The launch of the second stage of the cashback program is also intended to stimulate the demand in the so-called low season: 85 Crimean accommodation facilities are involved in it, including 14 health resorts. According to the updated rules, trips from 2 nights are valid for refunding, the minimum cost of 25 thousand rubles as at the first stage of the campaign, has been abolished. The refund amount is 20% (but not more than 20 thousand ruble). Moreover, the number of refunds on one bank card within the program is not limited, and the tour packages and hotel offers paid for before December 5, will be valid until January 10, 2021.
What is the essence of the velvet season phenomenon in Crimea and what are the prospects for the future, Travel Portal asked the leading experts of the tourism industry.
The main attraction of Crimea in autumn and winter
So, according to the honorary president of the Russian Union of Travel Industry Sergei Shpilko, the season turned out to be successful − even taking into account the difficult epidemiological situation. Both deferred demand and closed borders played the role.
"But I would not depreciate the role of the health resorts, hotels and tourist industry themselves. Fulfilling the requirements of Rospotrebnadzor (Russian Consumer Protection Authority), the hospitality industry stood up to protect the customers. And even taking into account the second wave of sales of Crimea in recent months, the results are much better than last year, especially in November. In this regard, I really like the expression "season of health". The marketing strategy should focus on explaining the low season benefits − both weather and price − of health improvement. Moreover, climate warming contributes greatly to this," Sergei Shpilko is convinced.
Natalia Osipova, executive director of the Alliance of Travel Agencies, insists on the main attraction of the autumn and winter in Crimea − health improvement. At the same time, she enthusiastically notes other advantages of the peninsula − its incredible beauty and content rich excursions.
"More and more people understand that the climate in Crimea is unique. There is no other climate like this. For people with lung, heart problems and allergies Crimea is is like no other place. In addition, it is interesting for the excursion programs. It is very beautiful. When I was in Crimea, I always thought: "What is this − a picture painted by an artist, or is it really such nature?" Therefore, in my opinion, people will definitely come here − both for health procedures in health centers and on New Year's holidays. But it is imperative to strengthen control over the fulfillment of the requirements of Rospotrebnadzor (Russian Consumer Protection Authority) during the pandemic," emphasizes Natalia Osipova.
Which places are trendy for the New Year holidays
In turn, Andrei Pylov, director of the Tour Ethno tour operator company, confirms that booking a New Year's holidays in Crimea is gradually gaining momentum. At the same time, a good occupancy rate of accommodation facilities is being recorded.
"Despite the difficult situation with the coronavirus, the South Coast health resorts are filled up considerably. Even better than in previous years. Reservations for the New Year are underway though the dynamics is slow, but usually sales boost up by mid-November. We expect demand for winter holidays, but again, everything will depend on the situation with the virus. In general, the conditions for Crimea are favorable − from the point of view of the lack of alternatives and the desire of people to have holidays in spite of everything," says Andrey Pylov.
According to the Russian Tvil.ru vacation booking service, eight Crimean places were included in the top ten most demanded in September-October: Yalta, Alushta, Sevastopol, Theodosia, Eupatoria, Sudak, Alupka and Simferopol, where tourists used to stay in the velvet season from 1.5 to 7.4 nights and to spend on accommodation from 1,900 to 3,100 thousand rubles per day. All of these places, including also Kerch and Bakhchisaray, entered the TOP-10 for recreation in November-December.
"The most popular places for the 2020-2021 New Year holidays are Yalta and Sevastopol. In Yalta, on average, they book a vacation for 8 nights and plan to spend 2,679 rubles ($ 36) per day on accommodation. In Sevastopol − 4 nights and 2,480 rubles ($ 33) per day. In general, Russians plan to spend from 4,880 to 13,792 rubles ($ 65-184) per family for the New Year holidays in Crimea," the press service of Tvil.ru reported.
New travel culture
At the same time, at the peak of popularity among Crimean guests are eco-cottages (glampings), villas and guest houses somewhere in the forest, in a beautiful unusual area, where you can not only have a great time, but also take great photos. This trend was pointed out by the vice-president of the National Union of the Hospitality Industry Alexei Volkov.
"If we take guest houses, villas somewhere in the forest, in the wild, for example, eco-cottages in the Novy Svet − there are no vacant places at all for the weekend. Even in November. People don't care what the weather is, what the sea is, the main thing is to come, dress nicely, take pictures and become a part of the Instagram community. A new culture of travel around Crimea is emerging: to new locations, new accommodation facilities. Take the well-known White Rock, for example. Today the attention is actively drawn to it due to the festivals of balloons, horse rides. And now this is a completely different White Rock, which is on everyone's lips. People want to go there, people want to arrange photo sessions there. Therefore, we need to pack these locations into a tourist product, couple them with accommodation facilities and then we will have tourists 365 days a year," Alexey Volkov is sure.
As you can see, Crimea enjoys well-deserved popularity in any season, because it is always ready to offer its guests a lot of opportunities for recreation, health improvement and positive emotions. Winter holidays are just around the corner, which means that many tourists will go to the peninsula for the most real New Year's fairy tale. And they will surely make cherished desires, looking at the boundless picturesque vistas…