Since 1992, the American Home in Vladimir, operated by Serendipity-Russia, has been working to help meet the needs of the Vladimir community. Based on his observations as an American working in Vladimir and as a tour leader, Dr. Ron Pope, founder and president of Serendipity-Russia, realized that outside assistance with tourism development could be of considerable benefit to both the city and the surrounding communities.
Dr. Pope's offer to try to bring some American tourism specialists to Vladimir met with wide support there. In 2004 he was able to put together a team consisting of Dr. Bruce Wicks, a professor of tourism at the University of Illinois; Karen Hasara, a former Illinois State Legislator and former mayor of the state capital, Springfield where she had direct involvement in tourism issues; and Katrina Lakshtanova, a Masters candidate in tourism management at the U of I — and a former resident of Moscow.
That summer, thanks to a $5,000 "seed money" grant from Sister Cities International, the group traveled to Vladimir. See the first year report.
Dr. Wicks has provided his consulting expertise; in addition to drawing on her experience as a former government official, Mrs. Hasara has continued to arrange for funding for the project and has taken responsibility for leading trips to Russia each fall; Mrs. Lakshtanova has taken responsibility for website design and development. The staff at the American Home, led by Dr. Alexei Altonen, Director of Special Projects, has provided invaluable support — and more. Dr. Pope has been responsible for overall coordination and has directly assisted with the individual projects.
First year report: Vladimir Tourism Development Plan (English) pdf 61KB
Second year report: Tourism Development for Vladimir and Surrounding Communities (2005; English) pdf 101Kb
Special report: Direct Marketing of Crafts and Souvenirs to Vladimir Visitors (English) pdf 243KB