Rostourism changed subordination: what does this mean for the industry and tourists

Rostourism changed subordination: what does this mean for the industry and tourists

In early summer, Rosturizm changed its subordination: in recent years, the tourism agency was managed by the Ministry of Economic Development, now it will go under direct subordination to the government. We will tell you what consequences this will entail.

The difficult fate of the tourism industry

In early June, the President signed a decree on the transfer of the Federal Agency for Tourism into direct subordination to the government - "in order to improve public administration, increase development efficiency and optimize the structure." This decree gives Rosturizm new powers: now it will influence profile laws and general policy in the field of tourism, in any case, the decree gives it such a right. In addition to Rostourism, Rospotrebnadzor, FAS, Rosobrnadzor, Rosreestr, Rosrezerv, Rostekhnadzor, FMBA and agencies for youth and nationalities are directly subordinate to the government. These are mainly strong independent departments - for example, Rospotrebnadzor actually led and monopolized the fight against coronavirus in Russia.

A few days before the decree, Interfax sources reported about this plan, linking this decision with the transfer of the department under the wing of the curator of tourism in Russia to the new Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko. The appointment of Chernyshenko for the industry is more of a reason for hope: the new curator is known for successfully campaigning for the Sochi Olympics and preparing the Olympics itself. He has entrepreneurial and media experience, foreign education and, importantly, a strong lobbying resource: Chernyshenko is a close friend of Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. The same sources argued that the decision to transfer the industry under his control was part of a nationwide plan to rescue the economy. Under Chernyshenko's leadership, the agency will be responsible for rebuilding the sector after the pandemic.

Prior to that, Rostourism was not independent and was part of the structure of the Ministry of Economic Development - though not for long. In September 2018, the agency was transferred to the Ministry of Economic Development from the Ministry of Culture, also with hope for future improvements. Even earlier, until 2012, the Tourism Agency was part of the Ministry of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy, which was disbanded in 2012.

However, the industry was objectively unlucky from the very moment of the collapse of the USSR - since then, the department responsible for it has turned into Roskomturizm, then it was a part of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, then a part of the Committee of the Russian Federation for Youth physical education and tourism. It is not surprising that back in 2014, the deputy head of Rostourism openly complained to the media about the lack of opportunities for real influence.

How the Minek and the Ministry of Culture failed

Some experts believe that the changes are for the better: these include the former deputy head of Rostourism, now the head of the St. Petersburg tourism committee Sergei Korneev, vice-president of the Russian Union of Tourism Industry Yuri Barzykin agrees with him - according to his opinion, the transfer of Rostourism to the government means "a reduction in the number of approvals and an increase in the efficiency of decision-making." The decision was approved by the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR): according to the executive director of the association, Maya Lomidze, the industry considers the decision "important" and "right."

On the other hand, the sources of the Profi. ravel in the field of tourism are not sure about the timeliness of such a decision: now the industry is going through a difficult period due to the pandemic, and the agency finally managed to work together with the Ministry of Economic Development. Thanks to this, the industry was able to achieve both coronavirus subsidies for tour operators and scandalous vouchers instead of payments to tourists for disrupted trips, the source said: "If this link is broken, the balanced work may be disrupted." It all depends on the personnel who will come to the place of the key employees of Rostourism who have recently resigned (for example, all the deputy head of the agency, Zarina Doguzova). Another problem is that the department has been given six months for transformations, which, according to the same experts, the travel industry simply does not have after the pandemic.

In any case, experts do not assess the period of Rostourism's subordination to the Ministry of Economic Development highly. Barzykin, for example, believes that the ministry is mired in bureaucracy: it was only two years later, during the coronavirus pandemic, to start seriously dealing with the bills needed by the industry (he thinks, for example, the bill on the certification of guides and guides, we are planning a separate material about this). ... But the previous period, when Rostourism was part of the Ministry of Culture, is not considered successful. At the time of the transfer of the department, media sources did not rule out that Rostourism would be completely abolished.

Everything happened after the Accounts Chamber voiced its claims to the Ministry of Culture: during the audit, it turned out that budget funding was not included in the agency's reporting, and the regions violated obligations for the construction of tourist facilities due to the weak control of Rostourism. The budget reporting of Rostourism for 2017 was recognized as unreliable, and there were no successes in 2012-2016: “Out of 135 planned projects for the creation (reconstruction) of tourist infrastructure facilities in all verified clusters, 70 (51.9%) were implemented, 2 of them - with violation of terms. Out of 25 projects, 5 (20%) each violate the implementation deadlines established by investment agreements. For 40 objects of tourist infrastructure with a planned investment of 9.3 billion rubles. investment agreements were not concluded due to the lack of investors. " In parallel, due to the devaluation of the ruble in 2014, tour operators experienced serious problems: a significant part of them went bankrupt.

The Ministry of Economic Development, which was in charge of the tourism industry in September 2018, was supposed to put everything in order. The ministry planned to approve a new strategy for the development of the industry in the second half of 2019: one of the main goals was to double the share of income from foreign tourists in Russian GDP. There is still no data on this indicator in 2019, when the Minek was responsible for tourism for the whole year. To understand how successful Mineck's experience was, you can use the indicator of the number of foreign tourists' trips to Russia. According to Rosstat, from 2014 to 2019 it practically did not change: 25.4 million in 2014, 26.9 million in 2015, ranging from 24.4 to 24.6 million in 2016-2019.

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