RACC and VAO Intourist Joined by Journalists for Discover Adventurous Russia Evening

CEO of RACC Andrei Shuranov giving a speech about Russia travel

At the end of February, Russian American Consulting Corporation teamed up with VAO Intourist at Discover Adventurous Russia Evening in Washington, D.C. Journalists and members of the media from outlets like National Geographic, Fox 5 News, the Washington Post, and AARP, along with representatives from both travel agencies gathered to discuss and celebrate Russia.

The event was hosted by the Russian Cultural Centre, a gorgeous and elegant building only steps away from DuPont Circle. The centre, which supplies language classes and puts up different shows, aims to spread knowledge about Russian culture in America. By organizing Discover Adventurous Russia Evening, RACC and VAO Intourist hoped to do the same.

The night was highlighted by presentations from CEO of RACC Andrei Shuranov and Regional Director of Intourist Kira Nekrasova. Shuranov’s speech focused on Russia’s affordable prices and perks that the city of Moscow offers. He talked about the over 10 years of experience RACC has in the tourism industry.

Shuranov said he is always trying to encourage people to travel to the country. “It’s time to help Russia,” he said. “I want to convey the message that Russia is a safe place to go and explore. You can go on adventures there and find out about new cultures.”

Nekrasova’s PowerPoint presentation included photos of and information about the Trans Siberian Express, river cruises, customized tours and business traveler services, city tours, and other excursions that VAO Intourist provides. Nina Zharova, VAO Intourist Regional Commercial Director for Europe and North America, said that her company is the only tourism agency that can offer tours on the railroad. She compared it to a cruise, since the trip is 15 days long and passengers are able to stop at and see the sights of the diverse towns along the way. A Q&A session followed, where journalists were encouraged to pose questions and find out even more about travelling to Russia.

The two companies gave an all-expenses-paid trip to Moscow to travel journalist Richard Solash, who coincidentally pulled his own business card out of the fishbowl when drawing the winner. Everyone in attendance dined on delicious Russian cuisine such as pierogies, salads, and salmon eggs while a pianist played Russian classical music by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Andrei Shuranov, Kira Nekrasova, and Nina Zharova with winner Richard Solash

Discover Adventurous Russia Evening was a successful event that was the pinnacle of months of hard work and planning from all those involved. By the end of it, people were excited about Russian travel and ready to go explore. Guests enjoyed appetizing fare, listened to beautiful music, and were informed about the activities, history, and culture adventurous Russia is famous for.

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Winner of Discover Adventurous Russia, Nikolai Massenkoff, Tells His Trip Tales

Nikolai Massenkoff had never experienced a Russian winter. Despite the country’s often brutal temperatures and snowy landscape, he was determined to become familiar with what it is most famous for. A history buff, he was interested in seeing why Napoleon and the fascist Nazi army couldn’t win their battles in Russia during the winter. Thanks to VAO Intourist and Russian American Consulting Corporation, he got the chance to visit the nation after winning an all-expenses-paid trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Nikolai is a singer and has performed at the Russian Folk Festival, Stanford, Carnegie Hall, and in Las Vegas. He even represented Russia in Korea during the Olympic Games. He competed in the Tchaikovsky contest as a vocalist and laureate, and in 2007 was laureate of the first world festival of Russian folk songs. On January 15th, he travelled to Russia with his son Maxim, who is also involved in music and plays the double bass.

For Nikolai, the trip was a meaningful connection to his past. He was born in China and raised at Saint John Shanghai House for orphans. His parents ran from the Russian Revolution in 1917 and he was adopted by the gentry. When he was 12, he moved to San Francisco and has resided there ever since, where it doesn’t snow. Fortunately, it snowed a lot in Russia this winter.

When the elder Massenkoff and his son arrived, they stayed at the Hotel Kosmos in Moscow. He said he was extremely impressed with how modern the room was – there was even a phone installed in the bathroom. Even though it was freezing outside, the room was warm and cozy. The view from the 25th floor was “spectacular,” he said.

A car and a tour guide were provided for Nikolai and his son in Moscow. Nikolai said the tour guide was “incredibly knowledgeable” about the history, art, and culture in the capital of Russia. From Moscow, the two visitors hopped on Sapsan, a high-speed rail that took them to St. Petersburg, another one of Russia’s most popular cities.

In St. Petersburg, a very cheerful young woman speaking perfect English greeted the two Massenkoffs and took them on an invigorating tour of the city. They explored the Hermitage, which was almost empty since there weren’t many tourists in the city. The two got their own private tour and were even allowed to take pictures of the artwork. They ventured around Peterhof, the King’s palace, and stayed at the Hotel Dostoevsky. The hotel, which is in the center of St. Petersburg, was steps away from a convenient 24/7 grocery store.

Nikolai and Maxim took the time to visit St. Isaac’s Cathedral, where they lit candles and prayed. Since Nikolai was raised in a church in Shanghai, he told the church workers his story. The two music enthusiasts also saw a classical music concert while in St. Petersburg.

They travelled again to Moscow after their stint in St. Petersburg. Maxim visited Novodivichy Cemetery, where the great Russian composer Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was buried.
After Maxim headed back early to his job at the Federal Reserve Board in D.C., Nikolai gave three concerts to Russians. All three were attended by 300-400 people in establishments dedicated to the arts. He even received a recognition award for his work.

Overall, Nikolai said he had a wonderful time and that he was very impressed with VAO Intourist’s “extraordinary service.” It was a significant trip that was important to both him and his son. He was happy to visit Russia in the winter and have the opportunity to learn about the country’s rich history and culture.


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Enjoy the Winter Season

The winter season is in full effect. Many parts of America are now experiencing devastatingly cold temperatures and record snowfall on the ground. For those looking to actually enjoy the winter season, an escape to Russia would be ideal.
Russian American Consulting Corporation is providing comprehensive travel packages to Russia and the Former Soviet Union Republics that will satisfy your urge to explore and won’t break the bank. Russia is known for its adventurous activities by thrill-seekers worldwide. You can ski, snowboard, sled ride, hike up a volcano or mountain, ice fish, and go extreme game hunting via helicopter, SUV, or horseback, or speedboat.
Imagine: It’s the dead of winter in New York. While your friends are making their dreary commutes into work on delayed subway trains and icy bridges, you’re skiing down a mountain at 20 mph and sipping hot chocolate in your cabin afterwards. In the evening, while everyone lies in bed, you’re exploring the exciting nightlife in Moscow. You’re drinking the world’s finest vodka, watching some of the finest ballet you’ll ever see, and frequenting the best nightclubs in Europe. When you wake up, you will go shopping in the luxury districts and sample the local cuisine, pelmenis (Russian dumplings) and herring.
People don’t think it’s possible to visit Russia without spending a lot of money, but that’s just a myth. Flights can be booked for $600 round trip and hotels in Moscow are as low as $70 per night when booked by RACC. The combination of affordability and adventure is why people around the continent are noticing Russia as an exhilarating vacation spot.
If you want to start planning your trip to adventurous Russia today, feel free to visit us online at http://www.russianconsulting.com. There, you will find more details about how our exclusive deals and accommodations.
Our company is holding its fourth and final travel event in Washington, D.C. next month, and you won’t want to miss out. Members of the media are invited to our Discover Adventurous Russia Evening at the Russian Cultural Centre (1825 Phelps Place NW) on February 22 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Guests at the event will learn even more about the electrifying attractions and activities Russia has to offer. Delectable Russian cuisine, entertainment, an open bar, and presentations from CEO of RACC Mr. Andrei Shuranov and VAO Intourist Regional Commercial Director for Europe and North America Mrs. Nina Zharova will be featured. For reservations, please email via3pr at is@via3pr.com or call 212.802.1446.

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Getting Ready for the Travel Season

This is certainly one cold winter, with many more days of shivers to come. Yet, RACC http://www.russianconsulting.com/ is already looking forward to the spring, and beginning preparations for the upcoming travel season to Russia.

Our first step is to begin conducting negotiations for rates and accommodations with hotels. Formerly, travel to Moscow could only be accomplished by staying in a Five Star hotel. For so many people it was simply not a reality, especially during the economic downturn. This posed a great limitation for tourists, on the travel industry, and the grand initiative of the promotion of travel between the United States and Russia. Now, RACC is making arrangements with Three Star and Four Star Hotels, with rates for as low as $70/night.

We also thought, “Why stop there?” Russia is such a mesmerizing land that every one should experience at least once in their lifetime. So, to make the trip even more affordable, RACC is further signing contracts with various airlines which would enable visitors to Russia for a round trip flight for only $600.

Beyond hotels and airlines, the preparations for the upcoming tourist season extend to numerous ventures. RACC will be participating in the annual NY Travel Show with a joint stand with VAO Intouris thttp://www.intourist.com/main.aspx?currency=USD. All those attending will get a chance to hear traditional Russian cultural songs and dances. And yes, you’ll even see the intricate costumes of Old Russia.

Prior to the NY Travel Show, RACC will be conducting its last Discover Adventurous Russia event in Washington, D.C at the Russian Cultural Center. As always, the night will feature entertainment, exquisite Russian cuisine, and an informative presentation about adventure travel in Russia such as extreme hunting, fishing in Kamchatka, and a trip to Baikal. Those who love an active vacation will always find plenty of activities that they can participate in.

In addition, as part of RACC”s periodic sponsorship of bringing famous and influential Russian figures to the United States, we are making arrangements for the renown actor Efim Shifrin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-91QvA_dSrw and a national tour of the theater performance of Bulgaov’s classical novel Master and Margatita.

This upcoming travel season will be filled with numerous activities and a plethora of excitement and entertainment. Stay tuned for our updates…

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Glancing Back at 2010

This has been a rather exciting year in the history of Russian American Consulting Corp. Our client base has expanded by almost twice as much as the year prior. People were mainly visiting Moscow, St. Petersburg, and the Golden Ring cities. A significant percentage of our clients also went to experience the Tran Siberian Express and River Cruises adventures. We sold close to 10,000 visas this year, and despite the faltering economy our company did not experience any layoffs.
RACC held three significant Discover Adventurous Russia events with VAO Intourist and the support of the Russian Ministry of Tourism. One took place in New York in February, and two events were held in San Francisco and Los Angeles in October. These were a big hit and the media professionals which they targeted showed an immense interest in visiting Russia. The success of these events resulted in RACC planning numerous Russia familiarization trips for journalists and reporters in the springtime.
RACC also assisted in the organization of a similar event for the Consulate General of Kazakhstan, Discover Kazakhstan Night. The evening attracted media and business professionals that were anxious to learn more about this enchanting country. Many of RACC’s clients go to Kazakhstan, so this was a wonderful opportunity for us. However, our clients are not only visitors of Russia and Kazakhstan. This year other notable destinations included Belorussia, Ukraine, UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Caribbean Islands and, Mexico.
Our main goal of organizing these events was to increase awareness of travel to Russia and promote tourism to a land which has so much to offer any traveler that steps foot on her rich soil. This mission is definitely aided by press coverage of the upcoming 2014 Olympics and 2018 World Cup that will be held in Russia. This is a great pleasure for us, as people are becoming warmed up to the idea of visiting Russia.
This year, RACC also had the opportunity to expand our horizons by sponsoring famous Russian actors and entertainers to come to United States. In particular, Genadiy Hazanov, a stand-up comic, filled our hearts with cheer when we sponsored his tour. He sold out every seat in the house on his tour in New York, New Jersey, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Canada.
As we look forward into next year, we hope to develop in this area and that we will have more opportunities to aid Russian actors and entertainers. We anticipate that next year will be even more action-filled and will have plenty in store for both RACC and its clients alike. So keep reading. Further updates are on their way…

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Discovering Kazakhstan in America

Speakers Nurlan Zhanybek and Serik Kylmurzayev together described all the wonders Kazakhstan has to offer.

From Left to Right: Maria Pasenchuk, Nurlan Zhanybek, Andrei Shuranov, and Terence Baker

Just one short week following two fantastic events in California, RACC presented a night to remember with Discover Kazakhstan in the prestigious Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Somewhat modeling after the reasons behind creating Discover Adventurous Russia Nights, Discover Kazakhstan was put on in order to speak to American media about the wonderful, yet under appreciated opportunities traveling to Kazakhstan offers.

The evening welcomed well over 100 guests into the beautiful Louis XVI Suite where they were greeted by the sounds of award winning international performers, Tilep; a quartet of Kobyz (a traditional bow instrument) and a delicious variety of h’ourderves and drinks. The combination created a mellow, yet inviting atmosphere that none of the guests seemed to want to end.

After finally gathering everyone there into the main room, the presentations of the night were able to begin. First to speak was Irina Shmeleva, President of via3pr, who moderated the evening’s discussion. Speaking briefly immediately after, was the Consul General of Kazakhstan, Raushan Yesbulatova who thanked and greeted all guests. Following Yesbulatova was the Head of the Tourism and Sports Departments of Astana, Nurlan Zhanybek who delivered a thorough speech full of information regarding extreme and ecological tourism in Kazakhstan.

“In recent years, Kazakhstan has made significant progress in promoting its image as an attractive, tourism-friendly and dynamic Eurasian destination. The country has enormous potential for cultural, natural-based and business tourism due to its geographic location, its amazing history and great ability to host high level international events.”

With statements such as these, Zhanybek’s colorful and enlightening presentation proved to be more than persuasive, as the media’s feedback seemed to show the beginnings of creating immense awareness of, as well as desire to travel to Kazakhstan.

To conclude the presentations was the Chief Operational Officer of the Organizing Committee of the 7th Asian Winter Games, 2011, Serik Kylmurzayev. He briefly spoke on the upcoming games, which will be held in Astana-Almaty, Kazakhstan this year for the first time ever, and ended by sharing a beautifully made short film to visually summarize the future event.

The three speakers were immediately followed by a brief Q&A session and a random drawing for a free trip to Kazakhstan, facilitated by RACC. Completely not expecting to win, travel editor of AAA New York’s Car & Travel Magazine Terence Baker was the recipient of this unique prize. With an enormous love for traveling, Baker was needless to say, elated by his luck and could not wait to make the trip.

Once all speakers and representatives had left the podium, the media jumped at the opportunity to speak to them individually, while also indulging in more food and drinks. Guests stayed late chatting, networking and snapping plenty of photos in front of the 7th Asian Winter Games display prior to leaving with their gift bags filled with future Asian Winter Game memorabilia.

With an incredible turnout, Discover Kazakhstan proved to peak a great amount of interest, as it intended and set out to do. As Kazakhstan’s tourism continues to develop more and more, events such as these (which increase the awareness of opportunities that otherwise go unknown), are such a vital puzzle piece in enhancing travel to the marvelous country. RACC strives to consistently be that undoubtedly necessary puzzle piece that Kazakhstan needs in America.

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West Coast Media Outreach

From left to right: Kira Nekrasova, Andrei Shuranov, Deborah Shadovitz and Maria Pasenchuck

Finishing with a bang, RACC and VAO Intoruist concluded their second and final California Discover Adventurous Russia Nights, last Thursday, October 28 on Los Angeles. Continuing the success of Tuesday’s San Francisco event, the night couldn’t have gone any better.

Both evenings shared a very similar itinerary, and therefore it is not too ironic that they both created a similar upbeat and engaging vibe. Guests were extremely interested and appreciative of RACC and VAO Intourist’s intentions with the event, as it was the first attempt any of them had seen of Russia trying to communicate with American media.

The venue for LA’s event was the gorgeous Romanov Restaurant, fully decorated with gorgeous chandeliers and filled with the calming sounds of live classical piano music. Guests seemed to adapt quickly as they enjoyed the delicious Russian cuisine and drinks that the restaurant prepared.

With even more guests in attendance in LA than SF, the quantity of curiosity among them grew significantly, resulting in a very informative and thorough Q&A session. The speakers Andrei Shuranov, Kira Nekrasova, and Maria Pasenchuck and moderator Irina Shmeleva, President of via3pr, without hesitation did their very best to share every bit of information they could, to their listeners.

Once again, as happened in San Francisco’s Discover Russia evening, the clip which was shown from a recently documented trip to Russia deeply intrigued everyone in attendance. Just like San Francisco, guests inquired about where they could find the rest of this wonderful film, and were pleased to learn they would be provided it within the gift bags received at the end of the night.

Although the winner of Thursday’s event, Deborah Shadovitz, did not end up singing and dancing like Tuesday’s winner, Nikolay Massenkoff did, she didn’t hold back on cheering for joy. Shadovitz is an avid backpacking traveler whose parents originally come from Lithuania, which is right next to Russia. Now Shadovitz’s lifelong dream of traveling to there can come true.

Although the LA event was notably more formal than SF’s was, the mood was still high and no one left feeling unfulfilled. And, if that weren’t a success in itself, the e-mail responses received following the events would make it one.

“Thank you so much for the great party Tuesday night in San Francisco. It’s exciting to see all these adventure opportunities in your country, which I will surely be writing about in my newspaper column. I also loved the music and the borscht and other Russian foods and drink that you took the time to share with us.” —Ginny Prior, Bay Area Travel Writers

A guest and Bay Area Travel Writer, Ginny Prior

“Russia sounds like an amazing place to visit. We would love to cover Russia in an upcoming issue of Campus Circle.”
—Jessica Koslow, Campus Circle

“Thank you so much for including me in the Adventurous
Russia Night at Romanov. It was wonderful meeting you
and your colleagues. I was so excited about all that the speakers said and the film, that I barely could sleep that night!” — Libby Platus, Freelance writer

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