23 Mar ExploRussia is back from ITB 2013 in Berlin
ExploRussia’s first ITB.
ITB 2013 in Berlin was the world’s biggest travel show, it held in the beginning of March. This year it was a chance for us to become not only participants, but exhibitors of ITB. We were the part of the stand of a media agency called Wild & Partner. For 3 days this booth became a place of networking, getting to know people from different businesses, who are ready to share, cooperate and support.
This exhibition is huge. Please remember that we are coming from Russia, where everything is huge and it is a big deal to surprise us with the scale of something. Well, ITB could. The venue has 23 halls, each hall has 3 floors, and all of them are devoted to tourism which makes it practically a small city of tourism industry. Stands of destinations, tour-operators, hotels, media, thousands of people, hundreds of companies. That is why our main priority was FOCUS.
Thanks God, we made our home work and made appointments with companies beforehand, so the main task was to get to the right place at right time, because first we could have meeting at our booth in 5th hall, and next meeting at 21st hall /Run, Forest, run!/
“Adventure and sustainable tourism” turned out to be our favorite hall – so many fascinating projects are out there. People are ready to cooperate and seize the opportunity. Well, we’ll know for sure when we are done with follow-ups after ITB, but the impression is great.
When the business is new first time you re-think over and over again, what your true uniqueness is, why you do business, why people should choose your company? Participating in the events helps a lot, because you see what others do, analyze it and once again realize your company’s identity.
To make once again the “identity exercise” we made a small research of Russian companies who came as exhibitors to ITB. And this research made us both sad and happy. Sad because many Russian companies we saw stick to the very traditional and conventional way of travelling, which to our opinion cannot tell about the countries’ reality. And well we were happy because this observation makes us practically the only one innovative Russian tour-operator who also is concerned about sustainability in its operations on all levels.
During ITB we took part in Travel Massive event, this event gathers representatives of innovative projects of travel industry, bloggers and journalists. It was crowded and noisy :)! It turned out we were the only representatives from Russia there. So this is a sign to realize that we are something different from what market proposes and tells about great opportunities which are out there!
Image of Russia. Fighting stereotypes.
Of course when we talked to people in Berlin it was not strictly business related questions, but we talked a lot about Russia in general. What people know about Russia, what they think of the country. The most stereotypic opinion turned from “there are bears walking in the street” to “police is everywhere and Putin is everything”. Sometimes I think better people would think about bears in the streets then of politics. So we tried our best telling people how new generation lives in Russia, what our views and opinions are. So great they are not about Putin! All these talks made a great influence on what activities we provide.
The top most popular question to us, once people got to know, that we Russians, was “hey, what’s wrong with the visa thing?!?”. This kind of questions been asked mainly from Europeans and people from US, actually because of a simple thing – they do not need visa to get to most of the countries. That’s why visa in general is already a great issue for them. So again and again we explained, that one just have to be careful, when making all the paperwork and have some time ahead to plan the trip. And, yes, we pray every day that visas will be canceled for all travelers to enter all countries.
What else we have learnt about Russia, that it is persuaded by Europeans like a very exotic destination. I mean that one when taking a decision for an exotic holiday would consider countries of Asia, Latin America and Russia in one row.
Now we are making many follow-ups after ITB, taking all small pieces of meetings, negotiations, talks and learning into a big picture. And we are making our best to turn it into business. Though it is snowing today outside, but we know that the summer is close and many foreigners will come to Explore Russia. So we are getting ready! Here you may see our tours to Russia, which are available for booking. Also remember, that we make tailor made tours. We are ready to launch soon our new service Russia Planner, which will help to plan your trip to Russia properly once you want to travel independently. Please, feel free to contact us for any reason (we hope, the reason will be your visit to Russia!).
Off topic. Good deeds.
On our way to Berlin we became volunteers and brought dogs from Russia to their new homes in Berlin. These dogs are from shelters and overcame heard times. We are so glad, that now they have new home and owners and most importantly, that they became part of families! Here we are with Druzhok and Michael.
Not many people know, but in Russia there is no way to recycle batteries. The whole theme of recycling and sustainable behavior is very immature in Russia. So we decided to recycle at least our batteries and brought them to Berlin. Saving the planet with small steps! Learn more about our Step Towards Responsibility.