Posted: 13.01.2022 10:10:00

Past and future of industrial tourism

Industrial tourism is gaining popularity all over the world. Belarus does not stand aside: the enterprises of the Ministry of Industry offer such services. Our compatriots and foreigners come to factories to learn more about the history of enterprises, get acquainted with production technologies and try themselves in the role of machine builders. The Ministry of Industry spoke about the state of industrial tourism, work in the pandemic and the prospects of the industry.

“In industrial tourism, of course, BELAZ is in the lead, it was a trailblazer. This flagship of the industry manufactures products similar to which you will not see in many other countries,” said the Press Secretary of the Ministry of Industry Oleg Slepchenko. “In addition, Minsk Tractor Works and Gomselmash are actively developing this area. As for other enterprises, for example Minsk Automobile Plant, Mogilevliftmash, AMKODOR, Horizont, BELGEE, Minsk Motor Plant, they also do not abandon the idea of industrial tourism. There are programmes, projects that will come to life in the coming years.”
According to him, it is not difficult to come to an agreement with travel agencies to include visits to enterprises in the programmes of foreign guests stay in Belarus, in weekend tours or in vacation trips for school children. The main difficulty is in ensuring safety: it is necessary to develop such routes that would not intersect with production lines. 
Industrial tourism is not only income generation, but also the promotion of enterprises, brands, products. Career guidance is also important. “Now it is important to show that the current enterprises are modern robotic production with decent working conditions,” emphasized the representative of the Ministry of Industry. “It is necessary to tell about the bonuses that such work promises, to show the workshops in which people work, to give an opportunity to communicate with them. This is very useful for the management of factories in terms of who they will receive tomorrow as workers and where they will look for them. In my opinion, there is no better way to interest a potential employee.”
Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and border closures, there was a sharp drop in industrial tourism, but now the figures are gradually returning to the pre-COVID values. “If we talk, for example, about BELAZ, in January 2020 the number of tourists was 2,250, in June 2021 — 1,752,” noted Oleg Slepchenko.
As for the further development of industrial tourism in Belarus, he noted, that “This area in one way or another requires investments, and today, when there is the coronavirus pandemic and certain political and economic pressure on the country, there are definitely more important areas that require an infusion of funds. That is why those enterprises, where industrial tourism was absent in principle, will most likely fail to develop it quickly, but there are projects and work is underway on them,” stated the specialist.
In December, the winners of the 19th Republican Tourism Competition Discover Belarus 2021 were awarded. In the nomination Industrial Tourism Object of the Year, the Minsk Tractor Work became a winner, the special prize For an Individual Approach and Assistance in the Development of Industrial Tourism was awarded to the Belarusian Automobile Plant.

Belarusian Automobile Plant

BELAZ was the first in the Belarusian mechanical engineering to open its doors to tourists. On July 15th, 2015, the enterprise began to implement the industrial tourism project BELAZ — the Brand of Belarus. It quickly gained momentum and became in demand. During this time, the plant was visited by about 150 thousand people. These are citizens of more than 25 countries: Russia, Denmark, Jordan, Austria, China, Lebanon, Germany, Ukraine, Norway, USA, France, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Moldova, Italy, Kazakhstan, Spain, Cuba, UAE and others. In 2020, the company was visited by 6.7 thousand tourists. From January to September 2021, their number has already reached 9 thousand. Today, about three dozen travel agencies necessarily include a visit to BELAZ in programmes for foreign guests and weekend tours, and organise educational trips for school children.

 “Every year the number of people who want to get into the world of huge machines and see the assembly of these giants is increasing. The places of permanent registration of our dump trucks — quarries — are a closed territory. It is not surprising that the guests of the enterprise are especially delighted by visiting an exhibition of samples of manufactured equipment from babies to giants. To take advantage of a unique offer and to see this miracle equipment only when you visit the Belarusian Automobile Plant,” stressed the representatives of the plant. 
The tour around the plant includes a visit to the BELAZ Museum of Labour Glory, where you can get acquainted with the history of the plant, which dates back to 1948. Tourists can also look into the world of production, see how career giants are created with a height of a three-story building, drive in the cab of a dump truck with a carrying capacity of 130 tonnes. In addition, visitors are invited to take an initial training course on driving on a dynamic simulator and try themselves as a real test driver. The simulator fully reproduces the real road conditions of the quarry in 7D mode, you can change the weather conditions. If the driver hits a virtual bump, he will definitely feel how the shock absorbers of the virtual dump truck have worked.

Minsk Tractor Works

Minsk Tractor Works began to develop industrial tourism in 2017. For almost five years, the plant was visited by more than 16.5 thousand people from 68 countries and more than 130 settlements of Belarus. The leaders in terms of the number of tourists are Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Germany and Lithuania. 

At the enterprise, visitors are invited to learn the history of the plant, which dates back to 1946, to get acquainted with the production of a tractor from machining parts to its final assembly on the main conveyor. After a tour of the workshops, you can inspect the finished equipment at the exhibition and sit in the tractor cab.
In addition, guests can participate in the creation of the legendary Belarusian tractor themselves. Under the guidance of experienced craftsmen, you can install the steering wheel and perform other technological operations, and finally receive a certificate confirming participation in the assembly of a specific model (more than 420 tourists have already received this). The uniform in which tourists work is specially developed.
During a tour of the plant, you can ride the most powerful serial tractor BELARUS 3522.

Based on materials of
Photos by BELTA