Tourism in the era of a pandemic: Baikal as a point of attraction for domestic travel

Tourism in the era of a pandemic: Baikal as a point of attraction for domestic travel

The tourism sector has become one of the most affected by the coronavirus. Due to the closure of borders and restrictive measures, the flow of tourists to the Irkutsk region has significantly decreased. Accordingly, revenues to the regional budget also fell. The pandemic also made adjustments to international cooperation, made us look at the development of domestic tourism from a different angle. Now the regions are attracting travelers with new tourist destinations, developing new tourist products for residents and guests of the country. But for a complete recovery of the industry from the crisis, it is necessary to solve a number of problems, in particular in the Baikal territory, and integrate into the national project "Tourism and Hospitality Industry", which is being developed in the country on behalf of the President of the Russian Federation. The document is planned to be approved in the spring - by the summer tourist season of 2021. The goals and objectives of the profile project, new directions and tools for the development of domestic tourism became the main topics of the II International Tourism Forum "Time to Relax on Baikal!", Organized by the Tourism Agency of the Irkutsk Region and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Eastern Siberia. Read more about this in the material IA IrkutskMedia.

As the President of the Union of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Eastern Siberia Alexei Sobol noted, I International Tourism Forum "Time to relax on Lake Baikal!" took place in 2019 as part of the Baikal Tour exhibition. The idea of ​​the forum was appreciated, it got accustomed and received a lot of positive feedback. And most importantly, it became clear that this event is necessary not only for the exchange of experience, but also for the development of specific strategic decisions for the development of tourism on Lake Baikal.

This year the main topic of the event was the national project "Tourism and Hospitality Industry". Leading experts and speakers from Russia and foreign countries spoke to the participants of the online event.

"This year has become a test for all of us. Especially for some sectors of the economy, in particular for tourism. At the same time, despite the many negative consequences of the coronavirus, there is a plus in the situation. they started talking about domestic tourism as an industry that needs not only to be supported, but to be developed strategically. This area is connecting, affecting more than 50 related sectors of the economy, which provides employment and raises the quality of life of people and territories ", - said Alexey Sobol.

According to the President of the CCI of the Armed Forces, the protection of Lake Baikal has been and remains an unshakable priority. But at the same time, this priority should not become an obstacle to the economic development of the Baikal region.

"Without the provision of convenient logistics, infrastructure, modernization of the waste management system and the solution of many other problems, it is not yet possible to talk about a high-quality and attractive Baikal tourism product. That is why experts and speakers were invited to the forum. I am convinced that together we will be able to come to a balance of interests of business, government and environmental agencies in the development of tourism. I am sure that the work of the forum, especially on the eve of the Year of Baikal in the Irkutsk region, will be a step towards solving many problems aimed at creating in the Russian Federation of a civilized tourist market ", - stressed the President of the Union of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Eastern Siberia Alexei Sobol.

Welcoming the participants of the forum, the Governor of the Irkutsk Region Igor Kobzev drew attention to the fact that it is very important that representatives of the tourism business and public organizations are actively involved in the preparation of a list of events for inclusion in the national project and the formation of a qualitatively different environment tourism.

"Baikal is an amazing place, the pearl of Siberia. Every year thousands of tourists from all over the world come to the lake. It is no coincidence that 2021 will be the year of Baikal in the Irkutsk region. And we are ready to consider and support all initiatives," he said head of the region.

Baikal as a common heritage of two regions

Today Baikal is perceived as a single territory of the Irkutsk region and Buryatia, and one of the most promising areas for the development of domestic inbound tourism in the Russian Federation. The lake attracts with the synthesis of culture, original traditions of indigenous peoples, delicious gastronomy, nature reserves, unique flora and fauna, natural and recreational resources, which are practically unparalleled in the world.

"Of course, this is a territory for the development of all types of tourism - from health tourism to cultural, educational, environmental and business. And we hope that although the pandemic has limited our opportunities, but still the business will gradually recover. At this, Baikal, along with the volcanoes and geysers of Kamchatka, nature reserves, islands and other points of attraction, is definitely included in the list of the most desirable places to visit on the tourist map of Russia. Not only for residents of the country, but also for guests from abroad, "said Elena Lysenkova, head of the department of state tourism projects and tourism safety of the Federal Agency for Tourism.

2020 has become a historic year for Russian tourism. The forced lockdown limited the operation of a large number of enterprises, putting many at risk of shutting down operations. At the same time, interest in domestic tourism has grown significantly. For the first time, federal and regional authorities have developed support measures for the tourism industry. In particular, the "Tourist cashback" program was launched, new charter flights appeared. Also, the geography of trips around the country was expanded by railway routes, road trips. All this made it possible to make the Irkutsk region, Buryatia and Baikal's proposals more accessible to citizens. At the same time, the support concerned not only the availability of tourist products, but also the stimulation of investments. For the first time in the Russian Federation, a competition for grant support for entrepreneurial initiatives in the field of tourism and an ecotourism competition were held. This also allowed many to look differently at the tourism products offered by the subjects of the federation, in particular the Baikal territory.

"The National Tourism Project is designed to make travel around the country for residents and guests of the country accessible, safe and comfortable. The national project is based on the creation of international tourist destinations in the Russian Federation, through the development of territories with the greatest tourist potential, taking into account the demand for types of tourism and the creation of unique offers, the culture of regular travel around the country. The future national project has three main tracks. They include the improvement of infrastructure, integrated design of territories, the construction of new facilities, renovation of the hotel fund, the formation of accessible tourist routes and the creation of all prerequisites for this digitalization of the industry, as well as improvement of marketing and legal framework ", - said the representative of Rostourism.

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