Today, the president of the World Federation of Travel Journalists and Writers (FIJET) Tijani Haddad presented the Mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin with the prestigious international award in the field of tourism "Golden Apple" and thanked him for the work that had made the city a pearl of the global tourism. The award ceremony was held at the Family Center "Kazan".
FIJET President Tijani Haddad noted that his last year's visit to Tatarstan, when he had managed to see many sights of the Republic, produced an indelible impression on him. "We were surprised by the richness of the Republic’s cultural heritage, the peaceful coexistence of representatives of different religions and nationalities, the good nature and hospitality of Kazan citizens, " said the president of FIJET. "And, of course, by the nature, which is important for attracting tourists. In addition, I attach great importance to the work of the dynamic and professional team that does everything to make the city a center of tourist attraction."
Tijani Haddad said that the Federation was established 62 years ago by journalists from three countries: France, Belgium and Italy. Now this is one of the largest organizations that unites travel writers and journalists from around the world. "One of our goals is the promotion of international tourism, tourism which respects local culture, local people, contributes to the preservation of cultural and historical heritage," emphasized FIJET president. He noted that now tourism faces many challenges: environmental problems, cultural degradation, but one of the main issues is terrorism. "It is necessary to cope with all these challenges," said Tidjani Haddad. "We are aimed at helping young journalists with carrying the value and importance of tourism to their countries."
"By presenting Kazan with this award, we want to say thank you for the advancement of tourism not only in the Republic, but throughout the country and all over the world. Thank you for the fact that Kazan has become a leading touristic center. Thank you for promoting the tolerance principles and creating the harmonious coexistence of ethnic groups and nationalities," said FIJET president. Tijani Haddad thanked the Mayor of Kazan for the work that had made the city a pearl of world tourism.
The oldest FIJET member Vladimir Novikov said that the next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the moment when representatives of our country began to participate in the work of this international organization. V.Novikov noted that in 1983 the "Golden Apple" was awarded to Suzdal. Then, in 2015, it was given to Moscow. Thus, Kazan is the third city of our country which became a laureate of the prestigious international award.
V.Novikov also noted that last year Moscow held the FIJET congress, after which a tour to Tatarstan was organized, when a large group of journalists visited the Republic. After that, FIJET-Russia suggested to consider presenting Kazan with the award of the international federation at the Board of Director.
Last year, in December, in Tunisia, the members of the association board of directors unanimously voted for giving Golden Apple to Kazan.
In his turn, the Mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin thanked the international federation for presenting the capital of Tatarstan with this prestigious prize, all over the world called the touristic "Oscar". "This award belongs to all the citizens, sincerely loving Kazan and working every day to make it even more beautiful and comfortable," said the Mayor.
He told that over the past 10 years the touristic flow to the capital of Tatarstan has grown more than 4 times thanks to the big part played by journalists who see Kazan as a symbol of tolerant, peaceful and harmonious existence of different religions and cultures. "As the great Russian traveler Nikolai Przhevalsky said, travel would lose half of its charm if it was not possible to tell about it," said Ilsur Meshin.
He also noted that Kazan loves guests and world-class events. Metshin reminded that in 2013 the capital of Tatarstan hosted the World Summer Universiade, which was considered the best in the history of the World Students Games by the organizers and participants. In 2014, Kazan was the first Russian city to become the capital of the Turkic world. In 2015, it held the World Aquatics Championship. Now Kazan is preparing for the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and the WorldSkills Competition in 2019.
"I am sure that we live at the time when it is impossible to succeed being in isolation. Only by being open to others, by sharing best practices and organizing global events, we are able to develop and be competitive and attractive for both residents and visitors of the city," said the Mayor in conclusion.
Answering journalists' questions, the Mayor noted that Kazan traveled a long way to such kind a reward as the "Golden Apple". "In 2005, we invited the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and for me it was a surprise when they said that the future of Kazan is to be an educational and tourist center of Russia, " said I. Metshin. "Then it was hard for us to think that we could be among the top three Russian cities leading in the sphere of inbound tourism, following Moscow and St. Petersburg. The goals and objectives that we had set 10 years ago were estimated by the most prestigious international award in the field of tourism. What is more pleasant is that during the existence of FIJET only three Russian cities received this touristic "Oscar". Therefore, the Golden Apple is a reward that assesses our work, led by the first President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev and the President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov," said I.Metshin. "This is a reward for the citizens whose hospitality is marked by our guests."
FIJET member Vladimir Novikov called the award well-deserved. "Kazan attracts tourists because there is a mix of history, culture and modernity. Not many cities can boast of such combination that allows you to enrich yourself culturally and learn something new," said he.
At the end of the ceremony, FIJET President Tijani Haddad handed a memorable souvenir for the active promotion of the cultural and historical heritage to the Deputy Mayor of Kazan Evgenia Lodvigova and a memorable souvenir for the active promotion of the Kazan brand to Daria Sannikova, director of the Committee for Tourism Development of Kazan.
This solemn event in the capital of Tatarstan was visited by the FIJET delegation. It included writers and journalists from Belgium, Serbia, France, Croatia, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Russia.
The Golden Apple Award was established by the World Federation of Travel Journalists and Writers (FIJET) in 1970 and is given annually to a country, city, organization, place of interest or person for outstanding contribution to the promotion and development of tourism. Now the international federation of FIJET unites 800 people from 30 countries.