The idea of the need to protect the environment and forests for a long time did not find supporters among financial market players, since any actions aimed at protecting nature were considered an obstacle to economic growth and development. Along with a growing understanding of the benefits that ecosystem services provide to people, there is a growing awareness of the consequences of neglecting the benefits of nature. The synergy between environmental protection and economic development is becoming more visible. Ecotourism is becoming a tool linking together economic development and biodiversity conservation in forest ecosystems.
For ecotourism to be a successful tool for sustainable conservation of terrestrial ecosystems, it needs to have positive social and environmental impacts, contribute to national economic growth and be linked to sources that provide sustainable finance. In particular, the growing impact investment market represents an important source of funding for the creation and development of locally managed ecotourism businesses that make a significant contribution to nature conservation. Intermediaries such as Impact Rating Organizations can play a significant role in building relationships between capital providers and small businesses at the local level. In addition, awareness of the importance of private investment in conservation-related businesses can contribute to the sustainability of ecotourism and hence the conservation of nature.
Local and international initiatives around the world are promoting innovative sustainable development solutions that combine the needs of people with the needs of nature. Sustainable management of natural resources is at the center of the discussion, with a particular emphasis on the management of biodiversity and intact forest ecosystems. Their conservation is often viewed as a factor slowing economic growth, while the benefits of preserved ecosystems only appear in the long term.
Recent research shows that the benefits of pristine ecosystems are much greater than the perceived business damage that sustainable natural resource management practices can bring. As the understanding of the benefits of “intact” ecosystems grows, it is necessary to look for ways to incorporate sustainable resource management practices into the development strategies of companies and governments. Ideas and approaches are diverse and often encompass institutional financial mechanisms that compensate for activities with negative environmental impacts and provide funding for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services accounting in industries where activities are closely linked to natural resource use.
Provision of the population with means of subsistence and the state of reserves of natural resources are inextricably linked. Human life, in one way or another, depends on natural resources, and their preservation has a beneficial effect on improving the living conditions of the local population. Over the past decades, many concepts have emerged aimed at combining environmental and economic activities of business. Currently, the topic of nature protection in general and natural resources in particular is gaining popularity, turning into the "mainstream".
In the wake of these trends, the concept of ecotourism is gaining popularity. With declining international public funding, private philanthropy and investment are playing an increasingly important role in securing economic benefits from ecotourism projects.
Ecotourism as defined by WWF:
"Ecotourism is tourism that involves travel to places of relatively unspoiled nature in order to get an idea of the natural, cultural and ethnographic features of a given area, which does not violate the integrity of ecosystems and creates such economic conditions, in which the protection of nature and natural resources becomes beneficial for the local population. "
Ecological tourism is a relatively new phenomenon in the world tourist activity. The beginning of the formation of the concept of ecotourism should be considered the 80s, when research on this topic appeared in print, connected with the works of West German and Swiss scientists. The main reason for turning to ecological tourism is rooted in an insufficiently developed system of regulation of relations in the "tourism - ecology" system.
Currently, there are several international classifications of ecological tourism, but in Russia, in order for a project to be classified as ecotourism, it must meet five basic requirements:
It is difficult to surprise a Russian tourist, because many residents of the country managed to visit different resorts of the vast state. Therefore, sea adventures and recreation at ski resorts have long ceased to make the hearts of some of our fellow citizens beat faster. This kind of rest is being replaced by rural tourism - a unique way of rest, which includes unity with nature, exciting travel and an extraordinary approach to each tourist. This know-how requires a significant investment, but is a very profitable business area. And while people still feel the excitement and desire to spend their vacations in the countryside, this chance should not be missed and earn a lot of money from a startup. This article presents a business plan for rural tourism with all the features of the industry and a step-by-step implementation of the project.
Recently, the prospects for rural tourism are growing. Today this niche occupies up to 20% of the travel market in the world. However, the situation with agritourism in Russia looks somewhat different. Its share in the tourism sector barely reaches 1%. Although the potential base for market growth and the vast territory of the Russian Federation, which can serve as a support for rural business, make possible the active development of ecotourism in our state.
The most promising regions for the development of agritourism on Russian territory are the Altai, Kamchatka and Khabarovsk Territories, as well as the Republic of Karelia and Kabardino-Balkaria. However, the potential is not limited to them.
Despite the country's abundant natural resources, Russians rarely visit national parks due to poorly developed ecotourism infrastructure and lack of funding.
The total annual income from agritourism in Russia is $ 12,000,000, which is a thousand times less than the income from ecotourism in America.
Nowadays, there is a tendency in the development of rural tourism not only at the entrepreneurial, but also at the federal level. After all, the world community considers the Russian Federation as one of the promising states for the development of agritourism in connection with the rich nature and large natural resources in this territory.
The following advantages of rural tourism development can be noted:
To implement all the above-described prospects, it is necessary to involve qualified specialists in this industry in the work process, develop a non-standard and demanded list of services provided for tourists. In addition, a flexible pricing policy is needed to attract visitors from different walks of life.
First of all, the implementation of a business plan requires the official registration of a startup. Therefore, the entrepreneur faces the question: is it really necessary to choose the organizational and legal form of activity?
You can do without registration of an individual entrepreneur only in the following cases:
The aggressive environment of megalopolises is extremely tiring for a person, so many townspeople seek to acquire summer cottages and rural estates, where they go to rest at every opportunity. For those who, for various reasons, cannot afford the purchase and maintenance of a country house, agritourism can be an excellent way out - a relatively new direction, which implies living in rural areas away from big cities, with the opportunity to take part in various cultural and leisure activities.
Considering rural tourism as a business, it should be noted that it is equally of interest to both vacationers and farmers who have at their disposal a sufficient amount of resources to comfortably accommodate several guests. Moreover, tourists perceive the processes familiar to local residents as exotic, and therefore willingly take part in field work, take care of animals, rent boats for fishing and pick mushrooms, thereby bringing the owner of the village hotel a good additional income.
The main feature of rural tourism is the living conditions: guests are accommodated in old log houses or in antique-style estates located in areas with untouched nature, away from industrial enterprises and multi-storey concrete buildings. With the exception of complexes with a complete historical reconstruction, such village hotels provide visitors with amenities at the level of resort apartments: the rooms have bathrooms, air conditioners, televisions and refrigerators, and in the dining room guests are provided with three meals a day.
The main meaning of this type of recreation is to separate the inhabitants of megalopolises from the usual hustle and bustle and immerse themselves in a leisurely and measured rural life. In addition, the tours are also of an educational nature: many townspeople have never seen an authentic folk costume, did not sit with a fishing rod at dawn and did not milk a cow.
In Russia, rural tourism attracts mainly women, whose share in the target audience reaches 70%. Living in the village can be interesting for other residents of megalopolises - married couples with children and young people who prefer a healthy lifestyle and ecological cleanness of the environment.
Another fairly broad category of tourists is foreign citizens who want to get acquainted with cultural traditions and folklore. For such guests, the natural environment, national flavor and authenticity of rural life are sometimes more important than the presence of a TV in the room. Considering that foreigners choose places for recreation mainly via the Internet, it is necessary to develop their own multilingual website with colorful photographs, descriptions of services and a price list, as well as regularly place ads on foreign travel forums and social networks.
Collective field trips are also common in the corporate environment: managers of various companies buy similar tours for their employees in order to conduct events aimed at strengthening team spirit and working out ways of interaction between employees. Such clients usually rent a hotel for a period of several hours to two or three days and pay much more for it than ordinary private visitors.
Finally, the concept of rural tourism development implies close interaction with tour operators: companies interested in cooperation on favorable terms will not only post information about home hotel services on their website and in promotional materials, but will also help in developing high-quality tourist product, organize a transfer and entertainment program.
Types of rural tourism
Once, a friend of mine just a couple of times in Cyprus turned on the mobile Internet to get directions, and in the end paid 37,000 rubles for the connection. Is it possible, when leaving the country, to stay in touch and at the same time not be left without money? I'm talking about the pitfalls of roaming. The main thing: whichever type of communication you choose, turn off the data roaming option before traveling - this means that while you are abroad