bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 26.09.2018 | Name days: Kurts, Knuts, Gundars
LatviaLatvia

Novatours: free cheese is only in the mousetrap

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«There are tour operators that offer very cheap travel packages significantly below their actual cost. It is clear that such a business strategy is not sustainable. People have to keep in mind their trips might never happen. We try to educate our clients and explain that free cheese is only in the mousetrap – tickets do not come free and no one pays EUR 1 for hotel rooms,» – said Novatours manager Leonid Mocenov in his interview to BNN.

What are some of the most notable recent events in your sector?

While in the past developments in tourism industry were influenced heavily by the economic situation, now changes are related to political processes in Europe and elsewhere – events in Russia, refugee flow and the threat of global terror. Political events definitely influence Latvia’s tourism industry as well. Latvian and foreign tourists are now more careful in their choice of places to visit. There is a tendency in Europe – demand for specific destinations is changing. This affects offers and prices around the world. Political processes have also affected Novatours – after the terror act in Tunisia, we stopped offering trips to that country.

Can you say economic conditions are improving and there is a lot of potential for economic growth in the market?

Novatours celebrates its 15th jubilee this year. Ever since 2012, Latvia’s tourism industry has been experiencing growth. However, in comparison with the growth before the crisis, the current market growth is slower and more adequate. It is a positive tendency. We also see that every year more and more people plan their trips in advance. This means they also plan their expenses. We launched early sales of rips approximately half a year prior to the beginning of the season. Every year more and more people use the opportunity to buy offers with a discount of up to 50%. We started sales of winter season trips in May. As a result, nearly all flights are full right until the end of the year. The tendency that shows clients are more and more willing to plan ahead means travellers are certain about their future.

How would you describe the government’s economy policy aimed at improving the economic situation in the country?

If we look at the tourism industry as a whole, it is currently stable. We do not expect further growth of the market and economic growth. We don’t expect any new players to enter the market as well. In terms of our government’s efforts to support our industry, I would say it would be worth sorting out legislation – introduce stricter regulations to protect travellers.

How is the industry affected by Latvia’s policy? What changes to legislation would you like to see? What helps? What makes things more complicated?

Latvia’s tourism industry is not all that well controlled – responsibility for the safety and comfort of travellers lies with each tour operator. What we seen now is a situation when tourism operators that offer very cheap trips, far below their actual costs. It is clear that this business model is not sustainable. People who use such services should keep in mind that their trips might never happen. We try to educate our clients, explain that free cheese is found only in mousetraps. If there are any free seats left in flights, there could be some last-minute offers. But if some travel agency offers a trip for a little over EUR 100, it is unlikely such a trip will even take place in the first place. In order to protect travellers from any negative experiences and avoid discriminating the entire industry, it would be best to adopt rules for licensing tour operators. I believe such rules would serve as guarantees. Otherwise no one will be safe and travellers will have no hope of returning the money they pay for flights and other services. There were once rules that prevented tour operator board members with negative experience from founding new tourism companies. Those rules protected people once, but they are no longer in force. We have talked to Economy Ministry, Latvia’s Tourism Agency and ALTA about this. However, we have yet to find an appropriate solution to this problem. Tourism regulations in Lithuania and Estonia, on the other hand, are organized far better.

How would you describe the industry’s position in the Baltics? What about competition with Estonia and Lithuania?

Tourism industry in Latvia is similar to that in Estonia. Both countries have their own national airlines – we have airBaltic and Estonia has Estonian Air. Our market segmentation is similar as well. The situation in Lithuania is different, because Air Lithuanica went bankrupt this year. With that, there is very little actual competition in Lithuania at the moment. At the same time, new players would be more interested in Latvia, which can be explained with the country’s geographical location – in the middle of the two other Baltic States.

What can you can your ‘trump card’? What is your ‘Achilles’ heel’?

Latvia’s tourism industry is made stronger with it national airline, developed international airport and a wide range of destinations. Our weak spot is the aforementioned lack of regulation of the country’s tourism industry.

Can you say there is a lack of skilled workers in Latvia?

I can say that Novatours has no problems with attracting new employees. This is mostly thanks to our reputation, because we are the leading tour operator in Baltic States and a stable player in the tourism industry with 15 years of experience. Employees know that.

What do you predict for the next five years? Will the situation in the industry improve, worsen or remain the same?

The tourism industry has reached a peak in terms of demand. We expect a similar amount of work in the near future. Changes are expected in the market’s segmentation. We also expect some change in the flow of sales. Considering current trends, it is clear that the number internet orders will increase. Because of this we have begun investing in development of a new service – we have created a hotel booking system titled ‘Travel on Spot’. It allows customers to choose and book rooms in hotels around the world. Travel agencies that currently sell the majority of our travel offers will remain just as strong a sales corridor in the future. It is also worth mentioning that there has been an increase in the interest of foreigners for travel opportunities to Latvia. With that, we now consider developing a new business direction – host tourism.

Ref: 102.109.109.3839


Leave a reply

Latvian government to expand Money Laundering Prevention Service’s capacity

On Tuesday, 25 September, Latvian government reached an agreement on the need to reorganize the supervision Cabinet of Ministers has over Money Laundering Prevention Service. At the same time, members of the government also agreed to expand the service’s capacity, Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola told journalists.

New natural gas tariffs approved in Latvia; those who use more gas will pay less

The Public Utilities Commission has approved AS Gaso’s submitted natural gas transmission system’s tariff project, which provides for the introduction of a fixed fee for connection to permitted load regardless of the consumed gas volume.

OCMA: majority of Latvian immigrants live in Britain, Ireland and Germany

The Office for Citizenship and Migration Affairs has calculated the exact number of Latvian citizens living abroad. The majority of Latvians reside in Britain, followed by Ireland, Germany , and USA, according to the data compiled in July 2018.

Sweden's head of government Löfven loses no-confidence vote

The head of Swedish government, Stefan Löfven has not received the support of parliamentary majority despite his left-wing block narrowly winning the parliamentary election earlier in the month.

CC: number of business merges on a rise in Latvia

In the first eight months of 2018, Competition Council made twelve decisions regarding business merges, which is 50% more than the number of similar decisions made in the same period of last year. Consolidation of market participants takes place the most often in retail trade of household goods, BNN was informed by the council.

EU supervisor to investigate Estonian and Danish banking authorities on Danske Bank

The banking supervisory authority of the European Union has been asked to investigate the work of Denmark and Estonia’s national banking watchdogs over possible shortcomings in failing to prevent money laundering through the Estonia branch of Danske Bank.

airBaltic receives its 12th Airbus A220-300 aircraft

Latvian airBaltic airline has received its twelfth Airbus A220-300 aircraft with registration number YL-CSN. The airline plans to have a total of fourteen Airbus A220-300 aircraft by the end of 2018.

In pictures: Pope Francis arrives in Tallinn

The head of the Roman Catholic church has been welcomed in Tallinn as he begins the last leg of the papal visit to the Baltic states devoted to their centenary.

Meteorologists say first autumn storm in Latvia to take place this week

On Tuesday, 25 September, atmospheric pressure in Latvia will increase and clouds will tend to reduce in the afternoon, as reported by Latvia’s Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Germany's largest bank required to improve fight against money laundering

The financial watchdog of Germany has called on Deutsche Bank to improve its measures against legalisation of dirty money.

Nearly 20,000 Latvians were living in Ireland in spring 2016

19,933 Latvian citizens were living in Ireland in spring 2016, according to census data from Ireland’s Central Statistical Bureau on the number of foreigners living in the country.

Russian protest leader Navalny detained right after previous detention

Alexei Navalny, a supporter of current protests in Russia against pension reform, has been released from administrative arrest, but arrested again on the same day to be kept in administrative arrest for another 20 days on charges of holding an illegal protest.

CPB: Russian special services remain highly interested about Latvia

Russian special services remain highly interested about Latvia’s internal politics. This includes 13th Saeima elections and their possible results. However, there is currently no information to suggest the election process could be influenced from the outside, admits Constitution Protection Bureau.

PHOTO: Pope Francis visits Riga Cathedral and meets seniors at St Jacob’s Cathedral

Pope Francis visited both Riga Castle and Riga Cathedral, where a service was held under his supervision. There he met with different Latvian officials. After that, the pope met with senior citizens at St Jacob’s cathedral.

Pope Francis arrives in Latvia for an official visit

Pope Francis arrived in Latvia on Monday, 24 September. He was greeted at the airport by President Raimonds Vējonis, Archbishop Zbigņevs Stankevičs and other public figures.

Week in Lithuania. President proposes amendments to restrict bailiffs' remuneration

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė is putting forward amendments aimed at restricting bailiffs' financial remuneration to up to 15 per cent of the amount recovered.

BNN summary of the week: pre-election heat, rule of law in Latvia, Baltics prepare for Pope’s visit

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Elections; Change; Stagnation; Fight; Visit; Investigation.

Court reschedules viewing of criminal case due to Non-citizens Congress leader’s poor health

Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court announced today that the viewing of the criminal case in which leader of Non-citizens Congress Aleksandrs Gapoņenko is accused of inciting national hate will be postponed to a later date.

Producer prices in industry up 1.0% in Latvia in August

Compared to July, level of producer prices in the Latvian industry rose by 1.0 % in August 2018. Level of prices of products sold on the domestic market grew by 1.9 %, but of exported products – went up by 0.1 %.

Bishop: priest suspected of sexual abuse to be operated on in hospital

Pāvels Zeiļa, who is a priest of Rezekne Aglona diocese and the suspect in the criminal case regarding sexual violence and human trafficking, will undergo a complicated surgery on Friday, 21 September, as reported by Bishop Jānis Bulis.

Study: residents withdraw money from ATMs less often but in larger amounts

Every now and then discussions about dropping cash money altogether become active in society, AS PrivatBank representatives say.

HND Grupa design company, involved in Zolitude tragery, declared insolvent

Building engineer Ivars Sergets company HND Grupa, which was involved in the case revolving around the Maxima supermarket that collapsed in Zolitude, killing 54, not five years ago, has been declared insolvent, as reported by Latvijas Avīze.

Deputy Chief of State Fire and Rescue Service suspected of misappropriation

Latvia’s Interior Affairs Ministry’s Internal Security Bureau has detained deputy chief of State Fire and Rescue Service Ints Sēlis and one other official – a senior inspector, as reported by Panorāma programme of LTV.

Washington sanctions China for buying Russian military equipment

U.S. government has introduces sanctions against the Chinese army over a purchase of fighter jets and missile systems from Russia, despite a U.S. sanctions law targeting Moscow for attempts to sway in the 2016 U.S. election.

Autumn expected to begin soon in Latvia

Friday, 21 September, is expected to be warm in Latvia. Sun and considerable amount of clouds are expected, but not precipitation. Wind will draw in from the south, reaching a speed of 15-17 m/sec in western and central regions, as reported by Latvia’s Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.