The first “Follow Up Siberia!” tour organized by Nornickel took place on May 25-28, 2018, in the Siberian cities of Norilsk and Dudinka. It was a success in terms of fulfilling the aim of the project which is based on cross-cultural communication and exchange. Thus, it is no surprise that the international team of the “Follow Up Siberia!” first tour was multicultural (from left to right):
· Milos Petrovic (Serbia), social media influencer who shares his tips about traveling to specific destinations at the Putuj.rs blog;
· Mahmoud Mostafa Maher (Egypt), sports journalist, correspondent at the Goal football news website and writer at Alarabiya TV news channel who is very active on social media, especially on Facebook, running the AlYoumShot page with more than 300K followers;
· Raymond Walsh (Canada), travel blogger, photographer, and writer at Man On The Lam;
· Anne Lukkarila and Toni Marjanen (Finland), independent entrepreneurs, and bloggers at FinnsAway;
· Vikram Kamboj (India), sports and travel journalist, co-owner and creator of The Sports Mirror, and social media strategist;
· George Khalaf (Lebanon), an audiovisual media producer, creator, and a host of the Kazdoura weekly street food review show.
The tour consisted of an extensive cultural program.
Foreign guests took a city tour and an excursion at the Norilsk regional museum where they got to know the culture and history of the Taymyr indigenous population, as well as the prehistoric and contemporary fauna of the region.
Team members visited the opening ceremony of the Arctic Curling Cup 2018 in Dudinka at the Taymyr ice arena and were introduced to the audience by the host. This ceremony was definitely a highlight of the first day and it gave the tone to the main event by the magnificent performance of the Moscow & District Pipe Band.
Among other conspicuous events was a visit to the Nornickel’s open pit earlier this day. It looked like a bigger version of the Colosseum. The wind was strong, but the view was magnificent, and everyone captured this final scene of an epic battle between man and nature.
Then the participants entered a raw-hide tent (chum) to know more about history, culture, and traditions of the Taymyr natives as told by themselves, and taste their cuisine: reindeer meat, smoked fish, and herbal tea. The food topic was also covered at the traditional Siberian cuisine workshop later.
The last full day of the first tour started with an excursion to a copper plant. Despite the heat and fumes in the air, everyone was enjoying it thanks to the protective clothing. The photos taken there were truly an eye candy: smelted copper looked like a coat of the Firebird from Russian fairy tales.
Then the team went to the Taymyr regional museum where ancient Siberian mammoth and rhinoceros at first stole the show until the guide took the guests to the next halls.
After witnessing the colorful Arctic Curling Cup 2018 closing ceremony, our brave travelers participated in the Journalists & Bloggers’ Curling Tournament and won the second and third places.
The day ended with a gala dinner at a restaurant in Dudinka. The team member George Khalaf from Lebanon told the audience that it was rather cold in Taymyr for him because it was not the type of climate that he got used to in his native country (by the way, it was from 0 to +2 °C in Norilsk and Dudinka). Nevertheless, he didn’t feel it as much due to the hospitality of local people and necessary amenities in their place, which allowed him to experience Siberia as it is with an appropriate level of comfort.
Contrary to the popular stereotype, no bears were met during the trip. Instead, the team got acquainted with many open, friendly and smiley people who have built vibrant multicolored houses reminding of the Emerald City. Such communication underlined the fact that we are all the same despite our cultural, linguistic and worldview differences. It was truly the major highlight of the first “Follow Up Siberia!” tour.
The second tour of the "Follow Up Siberia!" international cross-cultural project took place in Krasnoyarsk on August 24-28, 2018.
The team was formed of the participants who won the “Part of Siberia in My area” online contest finding some similarities between the place where they currently are and Siberia. In total, more than 500 people from all around the world took part in the second tour contest. Young people from bloggers to journalists and athletes took the most active part.
The winners were:
• Bruno Bezerra, Instagram Blogger from Brazil
• Federico Graziati, Digital Marketing Manager from Italy
• Elena Matić, Brand Ambassador from Greece
• Jessica Lockhart, Journalist from Canada
• Joshua Lynott, Athlete from Panama
• Mridula Dwivedi, Travel Blogger from India
• Nicholas Morley, Videographer from Australia
• Pascal Bögli, Photographer from Switzerland
• Charles Pauly and Lauren Cliff, Travelers from UK
In Krasnoyarsk, the project participants got to know the traditional, modern and friendly sides of Siberia. They took part in the Letniy Gornoluzhnik annual summer mountain puddle rider in the Bobrovy Log Funpark, visited the Stolby nature reserve and even climbed one of the pillars. The team met many outstanding Krasnoyarsk citizens who shared their stories such as Alexander Tretyakov, Olympic skeleton champion and Ambassador of the Winter Universiade 2019; Denis Yushin, founder of the Yushin Brothers barbershop and the famous Russian 91-year-old travel blogger Lena Yerkhova.
The way participants’ perception of Siberia changed was reflected in real time via their posts on social media.
The third tour of the “Follow Up Siberia!” international cross-cultural program launched by Nornickel (the General Partner of the 2019 Winter Universiade) has ended in Chita. The main goal of the program is to promote global awareness of Siberia and the Universiade.
The third tour team consisted of 9 people from 7 countries:
Amanda Antunes Prefiro Viajar from Brazil;
Anica Kolic Putovanja s Anicom / This morning I woke up in from Croatia;
Nala Rinaldo Nala Rinaldo Photography from Indonesia;
Analucía Rodríguez Viajar para Vivir from Peru;
Amy & Nathan Two Drifters - Couples Travel & Lifestyle from USA;
Mike Hinshaw Mike Hinshaw (Nomadic Texan) from USA;
Na Noob NaNoob Napian Official from Thailand;
Nisha & Vasu Le Monde - A Poetic Travail from India.
They discovered different aspects of Siberia in real time on October 6-8, 2018: its traditional, modern and friendly sides, and shared their perception on social media.
On day one the guests took a sightseeing tour across Chita and visited the Regional Drama Theater to see the Golden Mask theatre festival.
The next day, team members participated in an archery workshop which was led by renowned professional athletes who graduated from the local archery school. Foreign guests witnessed the traditional Buryat archery and tried to hit the target themselves.
Then the team went to Aginsky Datsan – one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Russia – to meet lamas who told about the history of the monastery.
The highlight of the second day was a meeting with citizens of Chita – active and interesting people: traveler, language school founder, head of the robotics studio, and President of the Transbaikalia Thai Boxing Federation who told about his charity program and work with troubled children.
The third day started with jeep riding and a barbecue in the wild after which the team visited a Buryat cuisine workshop.
The team enjoyed their time in Siberia and did not want to leave this friendly region.
The fourth tour of the «Follow Up Siberia» took 4 days from 14th till 17th of December 2019. More than 900 people from all around the world had joined the contest to have an opportunity to see the landscapes of Siberia. All the participants had been posting in their social accounts the sights of their native cities, resembling or eliciting associations with Siberia. The authors of the most interesting pictures won the tour.
There were 7 bloggers from 6 countries:
- blogger and photographer Frank Coronado (Mexico);
- student Stefanos Addimando (Greece)
- photographer Stefano Ferro (Australia);
- Instagram-blogger and traveler Gemma Baker (England);
- photographer Jörg Nicht (Germany);
- journalist Natalie Deduk and photographer Robson Cadore (Brazil).
During the tour, travel bloggers saw the sights of Belokurikha and Chemal. Stunning views of Siberian wilderness, acquaintance with the ancient profession of a blacksmith, a Russian bath, national music and cuisine - all this left a lasting impression on the participants. They were eager to share their impressions in their social accounts, telling the world about the hospitality and traditions of the inhabitants of the Siberian region.
On the first day of the tour, the travelers visited a real smithery. The only Russian woman-blacksmith, Anna Biletskaya showed them how objects of art have been made from intractable metal. Tour participants weighted up in their own hands the blacksmith main tool – hammer.
On the second day, bloggers trekked up the frozen Katun River. They visited the main “places of power” of Altai, such as Patmos Island and the Blue Lakes. In the “Fairy tale Forest” area the travelers got acquainted with the culture of the region and local residents showed them how to play on the national musical instruments.
On the 16th of December, the travelers shared in their social accounts all the inimitable takeaways from the trip on snowmobiles and horse-drawn sleighs, Russian banya and bathing in the snow. The bloggers coped to tell an amazing story about the Siberian traditions through their own eyes because they themselves got a flood of positive emotions from adventures in Siberia that they would remember and tell the world about.
On their last day, international participants went downhill skiing and snowboarding in the Belokurikha resort, as well as explored the neighborhood on snowmobiles. They also met many local residents to get a comprehensive understanding of the region. The participants’ emotions and perception of Siberia were shared in live videos and photos in the official accounts of the project in social media, as well as and on the tour members’ accounts. As a result, the tour team members became real ambassadors of Siberia.
The main goal of the project - to show the world Siberian hospitality, traditions and stunning views of landscapes - has been achieved. On the 17th of December, full of impressions, with lots and lots of photos and videos, participants of the fourth tour of the “Follow Up Siberia” program came back to their home countries, where they would continue to share in social media their impressions on the journey. Just as important the fact that all the participants noted that the program had made a radical change of their perceptions of Siberia - a place worth visiting, with a lot of activities, incredible nature and views, where smiling, amiable, hospitable people live.
Quotes of participants:
- “Trekking the Siberian steppe can take you to magnificent suspension bridges over ice-cold rivers, if not fully frozen. It's a never-ending surprise, at every corner” photographer Stefano Ferro (Australia).
- “The Blue Lakes at Katun River are breathtaking! The water is so clear it creates incredible reflections of the landscape surrounding it. The Katun River is the biggest in the Altai Mountains and was so frozen that we were able to walk over it to explore the lakes! It was a real winter wonderland. Did you ever imagine such pristine scenery existed in Siberia? It feels completely unspoiled and with so few tourists in winter, you feel like you have the whole place to explore yourself.” Instagram-blogger and traveler Gemma Baker (England)
5th round (visit to the Universiade)
THE FINAL TOUR OF THE INTERNATIONAL CROSS-CULTURAL DIGITAL PROJECT FOLLOW UP SIBERIA TOOK PLACE IN KRASNOYASK DURING THE WINTER UNIVERSIADE
The participants of the final tour of the international cross-cultural digital project Follow Up Siberia spent 5 days (1-5 of March) in Krasnoyarsk during the Winter Universiade 2019. Nine bloggers from different countries became winners through selection of the participants of the previous four tours to Siberia, which were held in 2018.
The participants of the Winners Tour were:
Miloš Petrovic, Serbia (1 round),
Raymond Walsh, Canada (1 round),
Vasu Devan, India (3rd round),
Nala Rinaldo, Indonesia (3 round),
Nanoob Napian, Thailand (3 round),
Stefanos Addimando, Greece (4 round),
Stefano Ferro, Australia (4 round),
Jörg Nicht, Germany (4 round).
On their first day the winners of the project visited the most known sights of Krasnoyarsk – the sightseeing platform near the Chapel of Paraskeva Pyatnica and Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Generating Station, which are depicted on the 10 rubles bank note. The bloggers made a lot of selfies “for luck” and went for a tour to the Universiade Park. There they met the Minister of Sport of Russian Federation Pavel Kolobkov and discussed with him the Follow Up Siberia project.
The second day was the most eventful day of the tour, because the bloggers visited the Stolby Nature Reserve and cheered up the athletes of the Universiade from different countries during the amazing and impactful Opening Ceremony! The pictures of beauties of the Reserve the participants of the Winners Tour posted in social accounts, making their followers admire the unusual for them Siberian views, landscapes and rocks. But the key event of the day was for sure the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Universiade! The live streams of bloggers gathered hundreds of people from all over the world. The audience from different countries watched with joy and enthusiasm the most bright and interesting performances of the Ceremony, got acquainted with traditions of Russian North, the history of explorations of Siberia, listened to the welcoming speech of the President Vladimir Putin.
During the last days the winners of the project cheered up the athletes at the Giant Slalom Competitions at the “Bobroviy Log” Funpark (one of the main sports facilities of the Games, which was organized by its owner – the Nornickel company) and appreciate the beauties of Siberian nature during the tour on snowmobiles to Krasnoyarsk Reservoir.
The locals and guests of the Universiade had the opportunity to interact with the team of bloggers at the Nornickel pavilion in the Universiade Park. Every day the bloggers gave master-classes at the Nornickel pavilion. Stefanos Addimando told the audience how to upgrade an Instagram blog, Vasu Devan told about voluntourism movement. The most rememberable presentation was the one of the three photographers - Stefano Ferro, Jörg Nicht and Nala Rinaldo, who revealed key secrets to creation of creative pictures.
The mutual opinion of the team was expressed by Steffanos Addimando: “What I liked the most is the energy of the city. It feels that Krasnoyarsk is living for the Universiade, and the festive mood that is everywhere has influenced us too. And, of course, we were impressed by the Opening Ceremony of the Games. I’ve never seen nothing of the kind”.
The Follow Up Siberia program was initiated in April 2018 by the Nornickel company, the general partner of the Winter Universiade 2019. The aim of the project is to promote Siberia and the Universiade on a worldwide basis. The Follow Up Siberia program is arranged to support the main idea of the Games, which is dedicated to friendship and cooperation between young people from different countries and to open Siberia to the world - modern, sportive and hospitable.
The Follow Up Siberia project is based on the “Part of Siberia in My City” online contest. Any inhabitant of the planet could try to find common features between his city (country) and Siberia and post a photo or video on this topic on the Internet with the hashtag #followupsiberia.
The authors of the best pictures visited Norilsk, Dudinka, Krasnoyarsk, Chita and Belokurikha - the famous resort of Altai. The best of them came to Krasnoyarsk during the Universiade.
The interactive map of “Parts of Siberia” from all around the world everybody can see on the official site of the project www.followupsiberia.com, while the journeys of foreign guests in Siberia are posted in social media accounts of the project.
Since the launch of the project the residents of 53 countries have joined the program. 31 photographers and travel-bloggers from 19 countries visited Siberia during 5 tours. Their total audience consists of 3.5 million people.
The Follow Up Siberia project has already become the prize winner of the Eventiada IPRA Golden World Awards 2018, the largest communications award in Eastern Europe, in the Best Digital and SMM Project category.