The wine road leads to Sevastopol
Until recently, Sevastopol (also spelled: Sebastopol) was perceived as a landmark attracting the tourist interest for just a few hours during a sightseeing tour of the city, Panorama and Diorama, Earl’s Landing (a “Grafskaya Pristan” pier), embankment, Aquarium, and the Submarine Museum in Balaklava ... And, as they say, you can mark the main attraction sites as “visited”. Vice-Governor of Sevastopol Maria Litovko tells EcoTourism Expert about the changing city and the development of its tourism infrastructure.
- At the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, an agreement was signed on the implementation of a project to create a large tourism and recreational cluster in Sevastopol; the agreement comprises a number of components aimed at the comprehensive improvement of the area, the construction of hotels and apart-hotels. How ambitious are the plans of Sevastopol in the field of tourism?
The tourism sector of Sevastopol is in the process of large-scale transformation. We record nearly a 13 percent increase in the number of tourists per year. Last year, the number of visitors approached 650,000. The annual increase in the tourist flow to our region should be synchronized with the creation of new tourism facilities that would meet the highest standards. The tourism and recreational cluster in the North Side of Sevastopol you mentioned above is just one of such landmark projects that will turn Sevastopol into a full-fledged year-round resort city with ample opportunities for recreation, sports, disease prevention and treatment, and at the same time, make the city convenient and comfortable for its residents.
New modern hotels will be built, as well as comfortable beaches, parks, squares, and playgrounds available to all residents and visitors. Under this project alone, an area of 10 hectares will be improved and landscaped, extra-budgetary investments of about 15 bn roubles will be attracted, up to 1.5 thousand jobs will be created, and up to 50 thousand tourists per season will be accommodated. The future of the town of Balaklava is also very promising as the famous bay will be landscaped, a yacht marina will appear, as well as modern piers for ships, accommodation facilities, promenades, and recreational areas.
In 2022, Sevastopol received significant funds for the development of the tourism industry. Work is underway to promote active, cultural, historical, enogastronomic and other types of tourism.
- How is the gastronomic tourism developing and what can visitors taste in Sevastopol besides the famous “fried red mullet”?
Today, Sevastopol offers several gastronomic tours, including the visits to restaurants, cooking studios, oyster farms, vineyards, wine tasting events, and also a wide choice of local delicacies, including fresh Black Sea fish and seafood.
The “Sevastopol Terroir” project is under implementation - now in its fifth year - with 33 wineries taking part in it. Besides, the “Sevastopol Wine Road” tourist route has been launched to promote the local enogastronomic tradition, the tours to vineyards and wine cellars are held, as well as master classes in winemaking and wine tasting events. Now, the wine route to all points of the project is about 80 kilometres, including the famous “Perovsky Estate” that has almost two hundred years of experience in winemaking. The Sevastopol’s wine trail really encircles the outskirts of the city.
- What activities can be offered by the city to adventure travellers, and are there opportunities in Sevastopol for the development of ecological tourism?
Today, this is one of the most promising areas we are going to pay special attention to.
In 2017, we launched the “Great Sevastopol Trail” tourist route consisting of eight walking areas located one after another. It passes through all natural zones of the mountainous forest area near Sevastopol, including through the protected natural areas, and is designed for tourists of different ages having various physical fitness. The length of the main route is about 120 km, and taking into account the radial trails it is 250 km. Last year, over 260,000 people visited the Great Sevastopol Trail.
The travellers can enjoy a 21-km bicycle route available on the Great Sevastopol Trail; and a complex of via ferrata routes allows travellers to comfortably and safely travel in mountain areas. From July 2022, the visitors can also use an over 20 km jeep-motor route.
All routes are equipped with navigation and information signs and diagrams, and emergency contacts are indicated. The project has a website and a mobile application that works offline.
I should mention that there is still a lot of work to be done to create convenient and comfortable places for rest and recreation on the route. By 2024, it is planned to make 25 such spots.
In addition, according to the results of the competition held by the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, Sevastopol was granted a subsidy for the creation of modular non-capital accommodation facilities. These small, but cozy and well-equipped houses can be made at the seaside and in the forest, giving an opportunity to tourists to enjoy the beauties of nature. I am sure that many ecotourism enthusiasts will appreciate this project.
- During school holidays, places where the families can have a pleasant rest are of special importance. In addition to well-known attraction sites, what places can you recommend the parents to go with their children?
First of all, the “Fedyukhin Heights”, the park of the living history of Sevastopol and the Crimea - from the ancient times to the present day. It was opened in 2020 in one of the most amazing and picturesque places near Sevastopol and very organically combined the recreational, cultural and educational areas.
I also strongly advise the visitors to use the “My Sevastopol” Internet platform specially launched for tourists. It allows everyone to choose an interesting and convenient route, find attractions and events of interest, and use a free audio guide. Those who have already come to have rest in our city can also get all the necessary information at one of the tourist information points in Sevastopol, their number is constantly increasing throughout the city.
Photos courtesy of the Tourism Department of Sevastopol