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Our Founder's Story: From Siberia to New York City


Vyacheslav photo


Vyacheslav Shirokov, CEO

I grew up in a remote town of the Russian Far East (Siberia in western geography). My parents owned a small hotel in a middle of nowhere - there was nothing else 500 km either way. So everyone who wanted to travel around the world had to stop at my parents hotel for the night.

I was the only person in the town who spoke some English, so I met each traveler, helped them to check in, to make arrangements for next day and I translated while they enjoyed a home dinner at my parents house. I met many wonderful people from US, Canada, Australia and UK and this is when my career in travel really started.

Many years later when I finished masters at New York University I decided to dedicate myself to helping Americans to explore Russia. Surprisingly, no one really tried to do it before, at least not in any meaningful way. Most of travelers went on their own or with those bus companies that have been around for 100 years and that did things the way they did them 50 years ago.

We pioneered many things in that conservative industry. We created a marketplace for suppliers. We convinced hotels to give good rates to individual clients. We came up with idea of small group tours and we completely abandoned buses. And, we took care of client’s visas. After five years or so we were the best company in the world for traveling to Russia.

Ironically, we used to think that our success resulted from our knowledge of destination. Eventually we realized that it was our vision of what a great tour was. Today, we organize tours to entire Europe and Russia and we uphold our vision of a perfect tour. And I would like to thank you our valued customer for the opportunity to organize your journey of a lifetime!


Vyacheslav Shirokov


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