“My hope is, that here we can have hundreds of guests daily, without subjecting them to the slightest risk of infection”- interview with Count Tibor Kálnoky and István Szabó, from the Kálnoky Castle

“My hope is, that here we can have hundreds of guests daily, without subjecting them to the slightest risk of infection”- interview with Count Tibor Kálnoky and István Szabó, from the Kálnoky Castle

As the next stop of the Visit Covasna Safe Place campaign, we visited the castles from Covasna County. About the Kálnoky Castle we talked with Count Tibor Kálnoky and István Szabó, the project manager of the Kálnoky Foundation.

Could you speak, shortly, about the Kálnoky Castle and the Museum of Transylvanian Life functioning here? 
István Szabó: The castle was built in the 17th century and in 2017 was reopened for visiting as a museum. The museum’s particularity is that, it allows the visitors to get to know the lifestyle of the Transylvanian nobility, not only by looking at objects placed behind a glass wall, but by really showing them how the people lived, how the rooms were organized and my colleagues will tell, not only the story of the furniture but also the way the people lived day by day. We are preparing the museum to receive in complete safety the guests, even in the new given situation and to have, in the vast courtyard, families with children, elders and younger people spending their free time in the most pleasant and safe way possible.

How difficult it was, to adapt to the situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak? What have you done in this period?
István Szabó: We already established the visiting procedure: there will be maximum five visitors in the museum at once, there will be continuous disinfecting, wearing inside the mask will be compulsory, everything according to the written rules. The visitors will have the opportunity to use the audio guide for visiting, which will be disinfected after every use, and they will also have the chance to sit in the courtyard in a safe distance from the other visitors. In the given situation, we advise everybody to come and spend some time in the yard to see how the nobility lived 200 years ago, and in the safety of the place to charge themselves with D vitamin and energy, after more than two months of isolation. In my opinion, everybody who works in this field, tourism or the hospitability industry, had to face the ups and downs. Now, looking back, as a positive thing I can say that, together with the colleagues, that worked, we managed to put together a program exclusively made for the visitors from our country, which otherwise, maybe we wouldn’t have had the time to do. We hope that in some way the things will fall back into balance, but we know, of course, that we are seeing the future with a realistic optimist view.

 Count Tibor Kálnoky: We expected to have 80 to 90 percent visitors from abroad, which in the given situation doesn’t seem achievable this year. We managed to enrich the place, by creating Stone Pub, which will be a new center for receiving guests at Micloșoara and the museum. The outcome is so pleasant that we hope that it will prove attractive also for the local visitors. The given situation, in a way, forced us to rethink everything and to open ourselves to the local market, as well, in order not to rely on the English and foreign visitors entirely. I really hope that if until now the foreign visitors had the chance to enjoy the place in large numbers, now the local tourists and visitors will also have this opportunity.    

Could you tell us about Stone Pub?
Count Tibor Kálnoky: What is unique here, is the way we deal with the local culture, here everything is real and authentic, this is our strong point. To this we can add the right services and products, all at high standards. The present situation isn’t advantageous for mass tourism, so I hope and believe that this will prove good for us, because we have many guesthouses, where even if we will have many visitors, we can accommodate them in different secluded locations. Here in Stone Pub, we have, for example, five terraces, where we can keep the two-meter distance between the persons, also inside, we have several tables distanced according to the imposed rules. The courtyard of the museum is also vast, so it is my hope,that here we can have hundreds of guests, without subjecting them to the slightest risk of infection.  

Could you also tell us about the guesthouses?
István Szabó: Like the castle, the guesthouses are also ready, for when the time is right to be reopened and to function according to the written rules.

How do you see the future?
István Szabó: We live in a period when many things will change, more than we are used to, so if we have to talk about tourism and touristic services, these will change for at least half a year, a year or even a bit more. So, first we have to talk about a tourism that is based on experiences, we have to talk about the safety of our guests, about activities, local authentic values, we have to add the local tradition to the tourism, that is why we are not preparing events for the masses, we are focusing more on activities that are person based.

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