[:en]The article about the business of Viktoria & Viktor Permyakovs was published in Ria Ukraine magazine, August 19, 2018.
Tour-U is a Travel Company based on family values.
Written by Marta Luka
Photo by Viktor Moskalyuk
Clothes by Shop Imperial, Impero Uomo
Translated from Ukrainian by Olga Pashchenko
Two young and smart people made a happy family and a successful company which has been striving and developing fast. Someone can say they just got lucky. Even a sign to that is their names – Viktor & Viktoria – it couldn’t happen differently. But only them are the ones who know what is the source of this. Foundation for everything is love that overcame long distances and brought them together. Also, perseverance, which gives new goals all the time and makes to achieve. Constant hard work, as a constant internal development. “But the most important thing. Everything that we do, we do together,” they say. This family was able to create a company with a potential to become one of the main travel brands in Ukraine. It is not one of the thousands of firms that send you to have a vacation to Turkey, Egypt, Europe or Asia. They will convince you that there are lots of places in Ukraine to look at, and more than that to fall in love with.
Every family and business are a unique story. Tell us how did your one start?
Viktor. – Originally, we are not from Lviv. That`s true. This fact is thrown at us as a disadvantage by our competitors, but we are convinced that it is a big advantage. We were born in different corners of Ukraine. Viktor was born in Volyn`, Viktoria in Donetsk, but a destiny brought us together in Lviv. This city is a living history, which is very close to our souls as we are historians. We always had been dreaming about science and researches. Viktoria completed her Ph.D., but the economic situation in the country was not encouraging for scientific work. When we just created a family, we understood that we need to put our research plans away and think how to organize a profitable business if we want to have a normal good life. We didn’t have a seed capital, but we had a plan, dream, and knowledge of history. In the beginning, we didn’t create something new, but simply showed the city of Lviv to friends, and friends of friends. The city we live in and love very much. During our first year in business, we read probably all the books written about Lviv. Eventually, we realized we should be different somehow from the rest of city guides, to be authentic, but unique at the same time telling our stories. When the tour requests exceeded our ability to do everything only by our efforts, we organized the company.
Now you are considered one of the best specialists of the internal tourism in Ukraine. Is it true?
Viktoria. – The vibes and spirit of medieval Lviv make us good specialists. Our main idea is to help people to see the city without some boring regularities and having any weather, rain or sunshine, sneaking through the old hidden streets on the way to dreams coming through. We are very romantic, we believe in miracles, looking for something genuine, authentic and true. The tour company Tour-U is more than just trips. This company is created by experts in domestic tourism by historians and guides who are in love with every corner of Ukraine.
All our tours are the signature and author tours. We offer our guests – Come to visit! Taste it! See it! Feel it! All travel programs we make are the mix of history, architecture, gastronomy, traditions, legends, and humor. Themes of the excursions unite ethnography, retellings, folklore, traditional singing, clothes, cuisine. We also bring new tendencies to school tourism. Creating tours for the teens we put attention to all important details to the educational and entertainment programs during trips. They can have a good time and discover history of Ukraine. We create some options for school trips such as theatrical performances, mazes, and quests.
When after the tour I can see thankful eyes and listen to gratitude, it encourages me to continue to learn the history and discover more and more pages of the great history of our nation’s glorious past and continue working on the little-known historical facts. Ukraine is an extremely rich country with many centuries of history behind. We can learn it through the history of villages, towns, cities through the biographies of figures who were born there. Famous and glorious Ukrainians, stories of successful Ukrainians of modern time. The history through travel can be felt like pulse, like rhythm, as the meaning of life.
Have you ever had a desire to quit and just immigrate?
Viktor. – Of course, we had. Like everybody had.. (he is laughing). Not everything is going to work well from the first try. There were times when we could be in despair and in hesitations if we were going in the right direction. But we always have our BUT. Everything is difficult at times, BUT we are together. We do everything together. When one falls in spirit, the partner supports. And we have a faith that we can work and earn in our own country.
Generally, we believe that tourism potentially can become the driving force that will be the basis of economic growth in Ukraine. There are a lot of contiguous work fields around tourism. Which can cause the development of new work places and would give new perspectives.
The problem is the society generates a thought about some fast start-ups, an immediate growth of a business, development of a business idea, unreal economical jumps, three-year plans. And we are adherents of the assertion that everything can be achieved with a hard-daily work. We are conservatives in this opinion.
Could we tell that Tour-U has its own style? What are you authentic in?
Viktoria. – I think we can. Probably, because we have a family business, the family values are in the core of every trip. They are family oriented. They are all organized in a way that all family members would feel comfortable – from the youngest to the oldest one. We honor and appreciate every customer, we value that they trust their time to us. That`s why their vacation is really a good vacation. We adjust our pace to the pace of our guests and never hurry them up. There is always time to see something new, walk around, enjoy the beautiful views. It is very pleasant that lots of friends return to us with their friends, year after year. That’s the reason we don’t call such people just tourists or clients. They are our friends and partners. We think, all who came to visit new places in Ukraine with us, they became part of our tourist family automatically. And we are glad many of them feel the same.
Besides, we really try to create original tours. We are always in search for the new ideas. Recently, the most popular tours are food/restaurants tours, wine tasting tours, quests and city tours with theater elements.
We communicate with customers before we offer a journey. It is important for us to understand their vacation expectations. After all, everyone has his/her own vision of how it should be. Active, extreme, passive, or full of excursions… and every time we find exactly what they like.
How often do you travel with your family?
Viktor. – Quite often. Our children travel since they are 4 months. Starting from 6 months age we already take them to the group trips. Our little daughter Eugenia traveled around Ukraine 20,000 km during her first year. Now when she is almost 5 years old, her knowledge of geography is much better than any graduate of junior school knowledge. After all, she was everywhere and saw most cities of Ukraine by herself. She knows in what city what river flows and can tell you lots of legends. Our younger son Andriy also does not lag behind. Although he visited only Volhynia and Transcarpathia.
We always have been asked what age is good for children to travel. Our answer is any age. It is a question to parents if they are ready to travel with their children. The trips till the age of 3 are more useful trips for moms as they need to get away from everyday life. Starting from 3 years old a child already becomes interested in himself/herself, begins to develop. We are convinced that travels develop child like nothing else. The sooner you start traveling with kids, the stronger your family will be and your children will be more organized.
What are your plans and prospects?
We are not looking for any panacea. Our company aims to continue finding good emotional feedback in the hearts of customers and to put all the efforts in creating a unique experience for our guests. We study their needs, consider wishes, and appreciate their values.
We have many goals. To expand our presence in the market, to create innovative platforms for the company development, to form a corporate culture, to engage and inspire partners, and to continue to discover Ukraine first of all for ourselves.[:]