Elena Timurovna, would you rate the current development of the tourism sector in Kazakhstan? What key events over the past 5 years, in your opinion, have had the greatest impact on the development of the industry.
Tourism, as an industry, in Kazakhstan is just learning to walk (and if we compare it with the global state of affairs, then we are still somewhere in infancy). Among the events that have influenced the field of outbound tourism (and, due to my specialization, I will talk about it) in the last 5 years, I would attribute:
- Bankruptcy of a number of large tour operators (Gulnar Tour, Travelsystem, Natalie Tour);
- Large tour operators from the Russian Federation and Turkey (Pegas Turistik, Anextour, Pac Group) entered the market;
- Coronavirus pandemic and border closures, both international and between regions.
What do you think, under the influence of what trends is the development of the tourism sector in the world today? What trends will have the greatest impact on the development of the tourism sector in Kazakhstan in the next 10-15 years?
Of course, the main vector of tourism development will be associated with technology. And we must accept this fact and use it to our advantage, or we will have to be content with little. If we talk about specific trends, then, in my opinion, the following should be noted:
Maximum automation of sales of package tours in standard directions (Turkey, Egypt, Thailand). That is, a tourist independently selects a tour on the website of an agency / operator or other service, pays for it online and receives documents by mail / messenger.
In contrast to the first trend, in my opinion, travel consultants will become relevant not as sellers of tours, but as owners of valuable information about countries, places of accommodation, attractions and routes and, most importantly, who are able to work with this information in accordance with requests and the needs of the tourist.
And also the growth of variability in the "assembly" of travel and tours. Now we are limited by legislation and imperfect technologies, so we often have to book many services by email and do calculations manually. I think that in the near future it will be possible to collect non-standard tours online quickly and comfortably.
Elena Timurovna, in your opinion, which technologies will have a greater impact on the development of the industry in the near future?
I'm not sure if this can be called a technology, but still a significant mechanism that is currently hindering the development of those trends that I have already mentioned is the complexity of installation and the high cost of Internet acquiring. And when this service becomes cheaper and easier to install and use, sales automation will increase significantly.
In tourism, there is such a thing as dynamic packaging: this is a process when the system collects a tour from absolutely any regular flight and any place of accommodation. Now this technology is very poorly implemented due to the fact that its full-fledged work requires huge capacities and many integrations with systems for which we are not yet ready. But over time, I am sure, it can be fully implemented and will greatly simplify the life of both agents and tourists, giving the very variability that I mentioned.
The third, which is more likely related to my personal dream, is to simplify the procedure for finding tours as much as possible. For example, the creation of voice control and the ability to filter the results in detail (again with the help of voice), since now my colleagues and I, working with the search for tours and accommodation facilities, spend a lot of time on mechanical actions.
And how do you see the tourism industry in Kazakhstan in 10-15 years?
Everything will very much depend on two main factors: changes in legislation and the epidemiological situation. In case of a favorable situation, the trends and technologies that I spoke about have every chance of development, and this is more than realistic. But this will be possible only if we do not have the serious constraints that we have now.
In your opinion, the absence of which specialists is the most restrictive for the development of your company and the industry in general? what is the reason for the absence of these specialists?
In fact, the tourism industry, and indeed the business in general, lacks, first of all, interested and involved specialists. At the same time, their specialization and position does not play any role at all: with the proper degree of interest and internal motivation, you can master any nuances and related areas as they develop. And if I lack some knowledge, then I myself become the specialist who can satisfy this need. Well, I teach other people as much as possible
If you look into the future, what new professions may appear in the tourism sector in the next 10-15 years, and which ones will lose their relevance or transform? What employee competencies will be most in demand?
I think that in the travel agency business (and I still prefer to talk about what I know), there will be two main areas: technical specialists for support of search and booking systems and specialists for working with clients.
If we return to the issue of trends, the former will ensure the high-quality operation of automatic search and booking systems for tours, and the latter will do deep work with the needs of customers, the choice of specific places and the formation of purely individual offers.
Hence, the competencies will be appropriate: somewhere understanding of technical processes and administration skills, and somewhere working with psychology and knowledge of the specifics of directions and locations.