They say if you want to see what the Alps looked like before the invasion of tourists, head to Altayskiy Kray. Perhaps today you will not find a person who would not hear about the special vibes of these places, sometimes associated with mystical stories, shamans and magical healings. This is a region where tourism is one of the most promising and actively developing sectors of the economy. Extreme sports are combined here with a quiet family vacation, mountains with picturesque plains, the present lives alongside the past.

Hiking and horseback riding routes, rafting along mountain rivers, memorial sites of famous actors and writers, mineral springs and curative mud combined with pristine wilderness, mountain climbing, first people campsites, ski tourism delight even the most well-travelled tourists who come here from all over Russia.

From 8th to 14th of June, 2019 the rector of the Antalya Academy of Tourism, Mr Zafer Bikkenoglu, visited this amazing pleasant land as a part of delegations of fellow countrymen from Turkey, Ukraine and Japan.

A study visit as part of the celebration of Russia Day-2019 was organized by the Altayskiy kray regional authority with the aim of introducing the potential of the Altayskiy kray, as well as propagation and promoting the natural and historical heritage and organizing further cooperation within the departmental target program “Support and development of relations with fellow countrymen abroad”. Prominent representatives of public associations and businesses of the Russian foreign diaspora were invited to participate in the events.

On 9th of June, the opening of the festival “Great Altay. Russia – 2019” took place as one of the most ambitious tourism projects that are being implemented under the auspices of the International Coordinating Council “Our Common Home – Altay”. This council includes the regions of Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia. More than 700 athletes from Russia, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Armenia for six days challenged the right to be called the best in 17 kinds of contests, including fishing sport, mountaineering, cycling and caravanning, orienteering, skyrunning, rock climbing, rafting, arm wrestling.

This is the fourth international cultural and sports festival: the first was held in Mongolia, the second festival was hosted by China, Kazakhstan was the location of the third one. Mr. Zafer Bikkenoglu noted the scale of the festival, as well as its support, including grant support, by executive authorities.

On 10th of June, Rector of the Academy of Tourism in Antalya, as an expert, took part in the youth management forum “ALD. Altay – land of development”, a key event in the visit program, held in modern tourist and entertainment complex “Siberian İnn”. The forum was opened by the Governor of Altayskiy kray Viktor Tomenko and the authorised representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Siberian Federal District Sergey Menyaylo. State Duma deputy, legendary hockey player Vyacheslav Fetisov came to congratulate young managers.

800 participants aged 18 to 35 years from 74 regions of Russia and 13 foreign countries, honored guests, eminent experts, mentors and volunteers – in total more than 1,500 people attended lectures, gave tips and assessments, shared their experiences at workshops, round tables and trainings, made new friends and business partners, received grants.

The rector of the Antalya Academy of Tourism, Zafer Bikkenoglu, shared his experience in the effective development of the tourism business during the master class “In the tourist flow”. Turkey has long become a tourist mecca, so the Rector of the Academy had a lot to tell his younger colleages who have yet to bring tourism in their native Altayskiy kray to the world level. The participants in the master class, young and ambitious people, new in this area – listened with great interest and attention, asked a lot of questions.

In conclusion of this productive meeting, the Rector of the Academy noted that the guys live in a unique place, having huge tourism potential, on a par with Turkey. He also wished them to protect their native land and develop it.


In an interview with ‘Katun-24’channel, Mr. Zafer Bikkenoglu expressed hope for cooperation and strengthening ties between the Academy of Tourism in Antalya and Turkey as a whole and the Altayskiy kray.

On 10th , 11th  and 12th of June, the organizers of the visit prepared a trip to the modern resort sub-cluster ‘Belokurikha-2’ and the magnificent resort complex ‘Belokurikha Resort’, as well as memorable climb on the cable-way to Mount Tserkovka, and a fascinating visit to the Fisherman’s Village.

Participation of Mr. Zafer Bikkenoglu in the All-Russian Festival of Traditional Culture “Day of Russia on Turquoise Katun”, which was included in the National Calendar of Events – a federal project on the best tourist events of the country, was an important point of the visit.

“Day of Russia on the Turquoise Katun” began on 11th of June with the settlement in a log cabins of a tourist complex, located in a picturesque place on the banks of the extraordinary beautiful Aya Lake, where numerous delegations of fellow countrymen from different countries had the opportunity to meet, communicate, share ideas and experiences, and, of course, enjoy the beauty of Altay nature, Lake Aya, the magnificent and strong Katun River.

On 12th of June, the ‘Turquoise Katun’ tourist complex hosted a round table discussion entitled “Media actions to harmonize interethnic relations in Russia” and other events within the framework of the festival.

On the same evening guests witnessed grand fireworks in honor of the Russia Day on the central square of  Barnaul, the capital of the Altayskiy kray.

Several significant meetings took place on the penultimate day of the visit. On 13th of June, Mr. Zafer Bikkenoglu visited the RSBPEİ Altay Academy of Hospitality, which hosted a round table, where he made a presentation of the Tourism Academy in Antalya and showed a video film about the Academy. Representatives of the Altay State University, Altay State Institute of Culture and other educational institutions were the participants of the event.

The management of the Altay Academy of Hospitality, as well as the head of the Altayskiy kray Department for the Development of Tourism and Resort Activities, Evgeny Deshevykh, expressed interest in cooperating with the Academy of Tourism and made a number of proposals for joint projects that are currently under discussion.

On 13th of June, at the site of the Altayskiy Kray Russian-German House, Mr. Zafer Bikkenoglu, as chairman of the Board of the International Association of Investors of Russia, met with the business community of Altayskiy Kray, which was represented by businessmen developing export-oriented enterprises and industries of the region interested in expanding foreign economic relations.

Entrepreneurs received information on the specifics of working in the Turkish market, established new business contacts, discussed opportunities and proposals for the sale of food, health and engineering products. Business representatives expressed gratitude to Mr. Zafer Bikkenoglu for acting as an intermediary in organizing export transactions for the supply of Altay products to the Turkish market.

At the end of the meeting, entrepreneurs presented the guests with everything that the Altayskiy kray is famous for and that is produced only there: souvenirs, the famous Altay honey, medicated herbal tea, balms and much, much more. Mr. Zafer Bikkenoglu thanked for the unique gifts and expressed hope for a meeting with businessmen already on Turkish soil.

Leaving the hospitable Altayskiy kray, the Rector of the Academy of Tourism in Antalya expressed his admiration for the Altayskiy kray authorities for the excellent organization of fellow countrymen study visit, warm hospitality, attention and cordiality, significant funds spent for this vital event to happen. Mr. Zafer Bikkenoglu invited the organizers to pay a return visit to Turkey and the Antalya Academy of Tourism.

He also noted that, having traveled along the Altayskiy kray for almost 1000 km in a comfortable minibus provided by the organizers, he was able to meet and forever fall in love with the nature and atmosphere of this land and understand that people living here truly love their homeland and care about it. Mr. Zafer Bikkenoglu wished success and prosperity to the kray and to everyone who works for its benefit.