Ecotourism is not a fire, a tent and a guitar ": will Tatarstan create its own Yellowstone?

Ecotourism is not a fire, a tent and a guitar

An ecotourist travels more often, stays longer, spends more and is more likely to return. Such observations were shared by the participants of the tourism forum "Landmarks of the Future", which started yesterday in Kazan. Why travelers no longer want to sit in comfortable hotels and whether Tatarstan is interested in the development of ecotourism, the correspondent of "BUSINESS Online" found out.

ECOTOURISM AS A TOPIC OF THE YEAR

A two-day tourism forum "Landmarks of the Future" (organized by the State Tourism Committee of the Republic of Tatarstan), which brought together industry experts from 46 regions of Russia, as well as from abroad, began its work in Kazan yesterday. It is held every two years. In 2017, in the capital of Tatarstan, they discussed tourist territories, tourism in the countryside and human capital management, in which territorial identity and digital technologies came to the fore.

The moderator of the forum, the director of development of the health center in Latvia, Alexander Eliseev, immediately suggested that now everyone will start measuring hectares. In terms of hectares of specially protected natural areas (PAs), Russia, of course, has no competitors - 1.7 million square meters. km (for comparison: in the USA - 1.2 million, in Australia - 0.9 million, in Kenya - 0.1 million), but we have not learned how to extract income from these unique places. The numbers are amazing: in the US, PAs earn $ 14.2 billion from visitors, in Australia - $ 3.5 billion, in Kenya - $ 0.4 billion, in Russia - only $ 0.01 billion! Meanwhile, the international experience of ecotourism looks inspiring. For example, the average income from the cost of entrance tickets to Yellowstone Park (USA) is $ 50 million, only one lion annually brings the Kenya National Park $ 27 thousand.

The audience was shown a video about the growth of ecotourism in Russia, but still it occupies only 2% of the state tourism market. In the ranking of countries for traveling in the wild, the Russian Federation is in 14th place, and the top five are Finland, Sweden, Brazil, Canada and the United States. Deputy General Director of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (at the beginning of the summer it became known that the ASI working group would be engaged in the development of ecotourism) Olga Zakharova noted that ecotourism is a new window of opportunity. “It is a tool for enhancing social stability and economic growth in the region,” she said. - About 56 million people live around specially protected areas - this is 40 percent of the country's population. We need to think about how we can develop these places. " ASI Deputy Director General named the factors of sustainable development of ecotourism: semantic content, creating conditions for business, attracting tourists, building infrastructure, involving local residents and developing areas adjacent to protected areas.

travels longer, spends more

Zakharova said that a thematic federal program is needed, but at the same time each region must develop its own measures to support ecotourism business. In 2019, ASI is engaged in 9 pilot projects - national parks "Khibiny" (Murmansk region), "Tunkinsky" (Buryatia), "Zyuratkul" (Chelyabinsk region), "Ugra" (Kaluga region), "Russian North" (Vologda region) , "Pleshcheyevo Lake" (Yaroslavl region), "Pribaikalsky" (Irkutsk region), "Bashkiria" (Bashkortostan) and "Taganai" (Chelyabinsk region).

Funding is attached to pilot status. As reported on the ASI website, in 2019 the first projects will receive a total of more than 100 million rubles, for example, Ugra - 31 million, Pleshcheyevo Lake - almost 6 million. 9.3 million rubles will be allocated to Buryatia for the creation of ecological paths in the Tunkinsky National Park. 4.5 million rubles each will be distributed between the national parks "Pribaikalsky" and "Russian North". In total, 550 million rubles have been allocated for the development of ecotourism infrastructure until 2024. Financing is allocated by the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia within the framework of the federal project "Conservation of biological diversity and development of ecological tourism" of the national project "Ecology". The planned increase in the length of hiking trails by 2021 is more than 200 kilometers.

As the chairman of the State Committee for Tourism of the Republic of Tatarstan Sergey Ivanov told reporters, Tatarstan also wants to become a pilot territory and will submit an application in 2020. There are more than 180 PAs of federal and regional levels in the republic, including such giants as the Volga-Kama nature reserve and the Nizhnyaya Kama national park. The latter, by the way, participated in the competition of projects for 2019, but lost to stronger competitors. Ivanov calls ecotourism a new vector of the republic's development. “A person who travels to get acquainted with some ecological objects spends more and spends more time too,” he stated. “The main tourist flows so far in Tatarstan do not come to natural objects, but we have such, and our task is to increase the share of ecotourism.”

"PEOPLE DO NOT WANT TO SIT IN A COMFORTABLE HOTEL ANYMORE"

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