In the spring of 2014 I had the chance to meet Mr. Alex Filipski, from Philipsky Tour in Moldova, whom I will make an international star by writing this article. “Having the chance” to meet someone is very important, otherwise it is not that appropriate to share your opinions on a character unless you’re a literary critic or journalist. I must say that, at first, I did not get a very clear idea of Mr. Filipski during those couple of days. He did boast about owning the largest and most important tourism booking engine in the Republic of Moldova, the truth which I will let you verify.
Unfortunately, though, I did add mr. Filipski in my Facebook list at that time and started receiveing his feed updates and links to his blog. But who is really in the field of tourism this Mr. Filipski, from Chisinau, Republic of Moldova? Well, let us resume it in a few lines:
1. He is a person sustaining that there should be no difference between tour operator agencies and detail selling agencies. In this blog entry, mr. Filispki considers that all the tour operators in Moldova are state controlled (from the shadow) and he also proves that he does not even have the basic knowledge of the way travel markets work! A quotation is very significant in this case”(…) Adica cum dle? Ce trebuie sa facă o agentie de turism? Sa cumpere de la Tur-Operator? Iar acesta ce face Vinde cu acelasi preț si la Agentia de Turism si la Turist!!! Oare nu exista un scop ascuns aici de a lasa doar cativa Tur-Operatori pe Piața din Republica Moldova și de ai Inbogați făra a le permite celorlalti sa se dezvolte?”. In English, that would be resumed in the way that tour operators sell both to the end-clients as well as the detail selling agencies at the same rate! How does mr. Filipski negociate his rates with his suppliers, for God’s sake? Did he ever hear about the fact that in every civilized country a tour organizer has to prove the financial strength and show enough insurance, more than just reputation, in order to guarantee that in the worst case scenario, the tourist can receive assistance or get at least some of his money back?
I am not very sure why this frustration about the tour operators shown by Mr. Filipski, but one clue may be found in the fact that on the website of Philipsky Tour, the agency he is the CEO of and founder, one cannot find any of the following information: type of the agency, tourism licence, tourism insurance policy, quality certificates, IATA affiliation (Yes or No), any other affiliations to recognized national or international organizations. Would you work with such a provider?
2. Mr. Filipski clearly wants to get a public position. Thus, most of his public appearances which he shares over his blog or Facebook account contain direct attacks aimed at the policy of the National Tourist Agency of the Republic of Moldova. Nothing inappropriate till here. Mr. Filipski has all the right to use the freedom of speech he is entitled to. Unfortunately, mr. Filipski writes and behaves like a bully and totally unlike a real tourism professional. His way of writing (spelling mistakes included – many of them!), but mostly the way he addresses people who dare not to comply to his ideas or that are already occupying public positions. Rumors say that he has already directly “promised” mr. Nicolae Platon, who is leading the National Tourist Agency of the Republic of Moldova, that he will get him replaced from the position. From a straightforward and simple analysis of the behavior of Mr. Filipski one can easily see that he wants to get that job!
3. Mr. Filipski uses attacks on Mr. Platon and the tourism policy of the Republic of Moldova to get free advertising. Not being an “oligarch”, thus not having enough financial power to finance a proper advertising campaign in his country, mr. Filipski gets free air time and printing space from any television station or journalist hungry for a bit of scandal. He boasts about being the champion of incoming tourism in Moldova, but he’s never had any presence at any major international fair with any original product of Philipsky Tour. I am invited as a hosted buyer at most of these fairs and I’ve never seen him there.
Mr. Filipski is advertising Moldova in Moldova and he does not have any expertise in incoming tourism! There are up to 10 agencies in Moldova you can actually trust for your programs there. Philipsky tour is not there. Mr. Filipski does not understand what is the current niche of tourists for the Republic of Moldova. It’s that simple.
4. Mr. Filipski does not understand that the state can no longer control the offers of the operators on the local market. Unfortunately for him, he does not understand that if his agency does not have access to the niche of customers affording regular rates for quality 4 or 5 stars holidays hotels in Turkey, Greece, Egipt, etc., that is not necessarily a bad thing. He stupidly tries to promote low cost offers by attacking the same National Tourism Agency and stating that it is its fault for the fact that large tour operators, both Russian or international, choose to promote, with their own money, the same destinations every year. If you know Romanian, have a laugh reading the article. The link is here.
Just to make you understand, Mr. Filipski. The market works like this: Tez Tour, Thomas Cook, Mouzenidis – just to name some large ones, just like Paralela 45, Christian Tour, Fibula, Kusadasi – some of the Romanian ones, they book and guarantee rooms for destinations which provide quality and good rates. They have to sell these rooms and they do it on markets which are similar to each other. As most of the citizens of Republic of Moldova are bilingual in Russian or of Russian origin, where would you like the Russian targeted operators to sell their products? To Israel? The national tourism agency has nothing to do with the offer of outgoing tourism on a market! Anywhere in the world!
You are very much free to open new destinations and invest in them yourself, like you are trying to do with the Romanian market. Ask an advertising agency to draw you a media plan and get some money out of your pocket and develop it. This is what the tour operators in Romania and everywhere else in the world have been doing. A 40 EUR/ month mobile application cannot be called an investment.
And, because you need to be shown also an example of good practices in low cost holidays – those you promote so much-, take a look and learn from Europa Travel. They know what they sell and they do it with pride!
5. Mr. Filispki is doing his job as he knows it.
Please, dear colleagues, make a clear distinction between the actions and the way mr. Filispky does business in tourism in Moldova, and the professional agencies in Moldova. I have had the honor to work and meet a lot of travel professionals in Republic of Moldova. There are great opportunities there, especially for cultural tourism and discovery travel, and mostly for custom tours.
Moldova is not a destination for mass tourism and should never become one. It would spoil its raw beauty.Take your quality tourists to Moldova, those which rank higher in your portfolios! Those who are willing to pay high rates at good hotels, but who want to get the attention and hospitality of true tour operator professionals. In case you may need help in finding the best agencies in Moldova, I will gladly give you a hand, but I am pretty sure you’ll meet them yourself at the best international exhibitions.
In the end of this post, I must say that I am neither a fan of Mr. Nicolae Platon, nor an adversary. I am merely a travel and communication professional who cannot stand a bully like Mr. Alex Filipski, from Philipsky Tour, as he goes over all the limits of basic education and attacks everyone who does not agree with his opinion. He is just frustrated that there is competition on the market! This is market economy!
I had to write this article, as Mr. Alexandru Filipski deleted my comments on his “ice bucket challenge” to Mr. Nicolae Platon, in which he was forgetting, once again, the basic rules of addressing a person who occupiers a public position, is older than him, and, truly, more experienced in the field of tourism than Mr. Filipski will be for a long time from now.