#Voices of Travel: We support all our partners worldwide, states Marina from Russia

In this ongoing series, we explore how humans of travel are mitigating the ongoing COVID19 outbreak. Today Marina Legkaya, Amparus Tour- Russia shares her story.

I’m Marina Legkaia from St. Petersburg, Russia and I represent “Amparus Tour” company, an incoming tour operator that organises tours for foreign guests throughout Russia.

The first time I heard of COVID-19 was in January if I am not mistaken. My friend was in China at that time and he informed me about all the incidents that were happening there. My reaction was a kind of “media is what makes the virus dangerous”. However, as I work with Asian markets, when the virus started spreading in other Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, my partners informed me about cancelations of a couple of groups because of the virus and at that time I felt the influence.

The Russian borders had started shutting down from the 18th of March and now they are totally closed for incoming travellers.

Our latest group departed from Russia on the 21st of March. It was a group from Malaysia of 16 people that arrived on the 14th of March to Moscow and literally followed behind the quarantine. Their itinerary was Moscow – Murmansk – St. Petersburg. On the 16th of March, following the government instructions, all the museums were shut down in Murmansk. Later that day Malaysia closed its borders. The next day, while hunting the Aurora Borealis, Russia closed the borders. The Peterhof Grand Palace, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg were left unvisited by our guests. Nevertheless, they were happy staying here and living literally a historical moment. After this group departed I felt a kind of emptiness, as the 2020 season was expected to be a booming one. All the groups have cancelled till May, now the rest of the year groups are also cancelling.

After the border closed for about 10 days, we couldn’t accept the situation. We couldn’t understand what to do now. However, my General Manager of the company – Angela Mironova – told something like: “Well, 10 days are quite enough to stop for a while and accept it, now it is high time to move forward”. And we started moving. Every day we have morning Skype sessions which we use for considering our goals for now and they are obvious, it is self-development. This is something we usually don’t have time for during our daily routine and high peak season. We are learning, searching, surfing. We are working on some new projects which we want to push forward in the shortest possible period of time. And, surely, we are communicating with our partners from all over the world to make them feel our warmth and support that everyone really needs now. We use this pause to be better, to be stronger.

We wish all our colleagues to find strength and wisdom to get through this difficult time. As the old saying goes, ​”God helps those who help themselves”.