Project Idea

Transformation of travel-agency beginner into serious market player specialized in Chernobyl tourism 

What is already done:

  • Expert estimation has been ordered to verify the perspectives of website promotion at the market (5 000 UAH.) A positive estimation has been received confirming the growth in a year
  • The most important domains have been purchased (2 units) and some additional ones (15 units) in order not to let the competitors enter the market with the same favourable terms (59 500 UAH.)
  • Verification has been performed as well as two trademarks have been filed for registration to exclude unfair competition or use of similar domains by other companies (14 500UAH.)
  • Website design, functionality and optimization have been developed for further promotion (64 000 UAH.)
  • Seo-Studio.ua company was hired (which is in top-3 Ukrainian experienced companies  specialized in websites promotion in Europe ($ 550 for the first month, 900 $ per month for further promotion)
  • SEO texts and professional translation of every page into English have been ordered (9 600 UAH)

Total sum of basic expenditures made up 163 900 UAH, the whole sum – self-investment

At the moment, the website is being actively promoted, the texts prepared, the agreements signed and the certificates developed

Market analysis

According to official data, nearly 5500 tourists visited Chernobyl zone in 2008 while in the period from 2014-2016 – the number of tourists was increasing twice annually and reached 50 thousand. 75 000 tourists were expected in 2019, though the screened serial made its influence

Within eight months of 2019 – 74 671 people visited Chernobyl zone. Almost 80 % of the tourists come from abroad – that is 59 698, the rest 14 973 - Ukrainians. The majority of foreigners are British - 10 381, next come Polish - 6 544, Germans - 5 399, Americans -4 143 and Czechs - 2 829. In October, the number exceeded 105 000, and by the end of the year the total number of tourists was 120 000

In July, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi signed the Order about “creation” of green channel for tourists and, thus, removal of any prerequisites for corruption

According to data obtained from the Cabinet of Ministers, last year over 4 557 000 used the services of tour operators and travel agencies while in 2017 the number was 2 806 000 tourists. In 2014-2015 – 26 mln foreigners visited Ukraine, in 2017 – the number was 27 mln

Thus, the market has the following estimation:

In Chornobyl 2009 2014 2019
Arrivals, thous. people 8 35 120
Sale volume, thous. $ 340 1 430 4 850
Foreigners, thous. people 5 23 80
Sale volume, thous. $ 314 1 376 4 720

Nearly 4 companies are engaged in similar business:

  • https://www.chernobyl-tour.com/
  • https://www.chernobylzone.com.ua/
  • https://www.chernobylwel.com/
  • https://chernobyl-exclusive-tours.com/

Similar services are proposed by almost every touristic company though. A small research has been conducted to study in detail the work of 4 companies in this sphere

Express-analysis shows that 2 websites differ from others – these are https://www.chernobyl-tour.com/ and https://www.chernobylwel.com/

Despite good indexes, their SEO has several downsides. Some promotion work would help them to get the leading position in this niche

According to calculations, in 2019 “Chernobyl-tour” company earned nearly $ 1 078 000 (tax free) and nearly $ 884 000 (in case of full taxation). This tour-operator has 27% of the market share

Detailed calculations as well as the presentation are available in business plan

Competition advantages

The main advantage is the availability of 2 domains (Chernobyl-visit і Chernobyl-exclusion-zone), which provide 1/3 of the commercial market. They are already accepted for the Trade mark registration, thus, will be completely protected. According to official data of Google AdWords – both of purchased domains are in top 3 of the most frequent advertising requests of the last year. Once there is a key request in domain – it makes it easier and cheaper to bring the website to the top position

According to Google Trends, the service which shows the rating not only among advertising requests but all the search requests in general, - all top-5 domains of 2019 concerning Chernobyl theme have been compared. The result showed that both purchased domains were in the top of the curve while in 2018 they were on the same level with the Chernobyl tour request

Geographically, both domains are totally dominating in the USA and Europe. Even the fact of Chernobyl tour request being number 25 as well as the availability of the website and trade mark has not provided higher search frequency. Moreover, the request is done mainly by citizens of Britain and the USA – 2 countries leading in number of tourists to Chernobyl zone.  At the same time, Chernobyl tour is searched by Ukrainians, sometimes also by Germans and Polish, - though they bring less profit since the tours are twice less expensive for Ukrainians

Both requests Chernobyl visit and Chernobyl exclusion zone are filed and already accepted for trade mark registration. Providing quick registration, it will protect business from unfair competition in half a year already

How our work with clients differ from that of our competitors:

  • Airplane tickets sale and hotel booking through own website. High frequency of airplane tickets requests to Chernobyl. It is important to provide the customer with all the services on one Internet resource
  • Attracting clients through YouTube channel (this business has already proved the fact that the tourists love video material related to this topic). Take, for instance, Chernobyl serial which gained huge popularity or the film Chernobyl Diaries which despite negative feedback earned 38 mln while the amount spent to make the film was 1 mln. All these facts prove the demand of the theme, thus, it is needed to use them especially on the start-up stage of the project when the website positions and influence is not that huge
  • High level of client oriented service. It is not typical of tour operators to hand in any certificate with a special logo about visiting this zone. Majority of them give dosimeters for rent and do not provide proper nutrition for tourists
  • As for future plans – it would be a reasonable idea to create a small fast food restaurant with the idea of Gamma-burger тand Gamma-French fries sale (with a green thematic food colour for buns and potatoes) on the territory of zone or outside. This would increase the popularity of the project

Business-model

Customers

  • Foreigners
  • Ukrainian tourists 

Value offer

There is variety of tours, they differ in number of days and groups which influences on the price. Thus, for example, the price for Ukrainian tourists and foreigners differs greatly. One day tour for Ukrainian costs 49$ whereas for the foreigner the price will be 99$. The price might also be 59$ and 149$ accordingly if the tour was booked three days before the tour start or earlier. As far as some time is required to go through checks and verifications at the state bodies, the prices are flexible but also have 50%+ of profitability in each case

Sale channels

  • Google search
  • Google advertisements
  • YouTube-channel
  • Facebook and Instagram

Relations with clients

e-mailing and meeting at the company’s premises

Income sources

  • Tours
  • Airplane tickets sale
  • Hotels booking 

Key resources

Own website and website of partners mentioned further

Types of activities

  • Airplanes tickets sale through own website
  • Hotel booking through own website
  • Attracting clients and organizing tours to Chernobyl zone
  • Media – active use of YouTube-channel 

Main partners

  • State company "Centre of Organizational Technical and Informational Management of Exclusion Zone" – tours organizer
  • https://www.aviasales.ua/ - partner in airplane tickets sale
  • https://hotels24.ua/ - partner in hotel booking
  • Companies which provide services as for buses rent (there is a number of those, no sense to mention all of them)
  • https://www.tripadvisor.ru/ - important element of project promotion
  • Taxi companies 

Cost structure

  • Tours organization
  • Lease of premises, furniture and equipment purchasing
  • Amortization
  • Advertising 

Figures

Amount of investments 54 000 $

Min investment 54 000 $

Income for the year 25 500 $

Payback 1 year

Investment return period

10-12 months

Team

  • Author of the business – I have been managing Internet projects during my entire career, performing their successful promotion in other companies twice increasing profitability and having reduced expenditures.  Now I have created my own business and here I have a huge competition advantage in experience and domains.  Unless the clients are attracted via Internet there would be no one to provide your services to – no matter how knowledgeable concerning Chernobyl tours you are.  I have graduated SEO school and have been successfully promoting websites for several years – thus I have a clear vision of what should or shouldn’t be done. I have an experience of managing projects with 19 employees in my subordination. Current business is not exactly the tourism: first of all – it is an ability to gain leading positions in Google of different European countries
  • Contractor in promotion - SEO-Studio. Company is in the TOP-5 having an experience in moving the websites to the TOP Google of European countries
  • A guide – conducts tours to Chernobyl zone. Own group of guides has been created based on the experience of the mentioned employee
  • Designer (web-, certificates, posts, etc)
  • Programmer (website, seo-improvements) 

Offer to investor

Ready to offer up to 40% of the company depending on amount of investment