"As about the future I see it completely positive from the point of tourism, but this year it will still be a difficult period" - interview with Gregor Roy Chowdhury-Mikes and Albert Zoltán from Zabola Estate
As the next stop of our Visit Covasna Safe Place interview series, we visited the Zabola Estate, where we asked Gregor Roy Chowdhury-Mikes and Albert Zoltán about the current situation and the future.
Could you speak briefly about Zabola Estate?
Gregor Roy Chowdhury-Mikes: We have been operating the guesthouses since 2006, the first building was renovated in 2006, the so-called Machine House, and later - as the building stands in a forty-hectare park, we slowly went around refurbishing other buildings and are still working continuously to this day. The new castle was finished two years ago. We have now a 24-room capacity. We have a large event hall, various venues in the park where all kinds of events take place, an a’la carte restaurant, an equestrian yard, so the whole estate is quite diverse and we try to use the opportunities that the place offers.
This year has started very well in terms of tourists but since March you haven`t been able to welcome guests at the castle, how did this affect the business?
Gregor Roy Chowdhury-Mikes: In principle, it would have been a full year at full capacity, with lot of events. We have also planned to launch a festival this year, the Zabola Spring Time. We were looking for ten thousand guests for the three days. We had to call off the event with all the other weddings and teambuildings. So, we had to close completely like everyone else in this country, which is a problem, of course, because we have more than 50 employees. This is a difficult topic, but we hope that with relaxing measures rooms will gradually fill up. I am sure that domestic tourism will grow, and it seems that people in every country will focus on internal tourism. Here we are in an enclosed space, with greater distances between buildings, this is not a huge hotel with hundreds of rooms, but a quasi-safe zone. So that's what we build on.
What have you been doing in the last period?
Gregor Roy Chowdhury-Mikes: We tried to do maintenance that we couldn’t do so far, but we couldn’t really find workers. We practically kept the park tidy, which is a big task. We renovated an extra guest room and even built in other locations, we cleaned up a large part of the park, several hectares, in a form that we can open these extra hectares to visitors.
Are you preparing anything special?
Albert Zoltán: We also worked to boost our traffic, expecting that foreign travel will slow down a bit, many people are afraid to leave the country, at the same time it is also difficult to leave the country. We came up with a package with two other partners in which we offer our guests comprehensive holiday services. So far, their average stay has been two-three days. This package practically it is not meant to prolong their stay here, but to provide for guests a one-week program by spending two-two days at the three locations, of course, with full services and with really pleasant and relaxing programs for both couples and families
To improve the communication with our public we also completely refurbished our webpage with information about history, services and blog section: www.zabola.com.
What do you think about the future?
Gregor Roy Chowdhury-Mikes:As about the future I see it completely positive from the point of tourism. However this year it will still be a difficult period and we don’t know what the second wave, everyone is talking about, will bring. Until Easter next year, it is really hard to foresee any figure. After that I’m sure things will come back to normal. How will we be able to do bigger events this year? I can’t imagine now that we could organize an outdoor event with more than a thousand people in June. July, but smaller events will be surely possible.