Experts of the tourism industry of the Irkutsk region, and of Russia as a whole, believe that Baikal (exactly as a tourist attraction) could bring a larger contribution to the region's economy, given that the lake, as businessmen say, is a USP - a unique trade offer, what no longer anywhere in the world. And in order to "sell" it to travelers more profitably, while not increasing the anthropogenic load on nature, you need to look for new meanings and approaches to travel in the Baikal region.
Angarchanin Alexander Deev, many residents of the Irkutsk region know as a volunteer of the "Detachment 15.08" - a volunteer movement that spontaneously emerged in August 2015, when the forest around Lake Baikal was on fire. Then professional firefighters would not have been able to save the Siberian taiga without the help of caring residents. Now Alexander is also associated with the forest, but already with the "peaceful" one that brings berries, mushrooms, nuts. He is the chairman of the board of the federal association "Wild plants", which brings together entrepreneurs and organizations that use the gifts of nature.
As Alexander says, the representatives of the association had an idea: why not arrange tours for travelers related to the collection of wild plants? Guests could not only enjoy the views of Lake Baikal, but also directly touch its gifts - collect a basket of butter or a basket of lingonberries.
“Such tours may be of interest to Europeans, they are very fond of products made from wild berries, mushrooms, nuts. Decent consignments of blanks, jams, pickles are sent from Russia to Europe. And residents of some regions of our country would gladly respond to such a proposal. Many of our compatriots, especially those living in large cities, see berries only on supermarket shelves - frozen or in "format" jams, they would also be interested in enjoying fresh blueberries, for example. Irkutsk Oblast is the most forested region in Russia, and such a niche of ecotourism would be in great demand here. By the way, tours for lingonberries or cranberries (and they, as you know, are harvested in the fall) could also extend the tourist season in the Baikal region by at least a month, "says Alexander.
He calls such trips a Siberian safari that will not harm nature. According to Deev, the region has such a great potential in the field of wild plants that even if hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen or Englishmen collect a liter of berries, we will not become poorer: we will remain on our own, and there will be enough to export. Angarchanin says that the association is waiting for businessmen who could pick up this idea.
Experts believe that tourism as a separate industry is slowly becoming obsolete. This is a global trend. Travel for many has already gone beyond the classic vacation, when you want to relax for two weeks on the beach. Modern tourists, especially those who are ready to leave a decent amount on the trip, want to achieve several goals - to relax, learn something, and maybe even work in parallel.
Roman Ishchenko, Chairman of the Irkutsk regional branch of the Delovaya Rossiya public organization, says that there is another interesting idea - to create a center for “digital nomads” on Lake Baikal, that is, for freelancers who are not tied to an office and can work remotely from anywhere in the world. Basically, these are, of course, IT workers.
“We discussed this idea with specialists from the Ministry of Digital Development of the Russian Federation in Moscow, and they said:“ Guys, this is a unique idea, no one has ever proposed it, but you can get federal support for it ” ... Such a center is located at the intersection of business and educational tourism. To attract the world's freelancers to us, we need to create an environment for them - both infrastructural and meaningful. It's good if they can, while working here, attend master classes, trainings, conferences, ”explains Roman Ischenko.
Tourism is currently a very promising and profitable industry. A lot of money is spinning in this area of activity. The whole problem is that after the collapse of the Soviet Union,
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