Comfortable, interesting and profitable

Comfortable, interesting and profitable

In the Irkutsk region, as in Russia as a whole, the tourist season 2016 is coming to an end. Preliminary results, problems and prospects for the development of the tourism industry in the region - in an interview with the executive director of the association "Baikal Visa", a member of the public organization "Club" Gubernia "Tatiana Tenenbaum.

- Tatyana Olegovna, "Baikal Visa" is perhaps the largest tour operator operating in the Baikal region. For many years, quite serious flows of tourists have been passing through your organization. In your opinion, the current season is going better than the previous ones, or, perhaps, there is a decline in tourist flow to our Baikal?

Not without problems

- Many are skeptical about the development of tourism on Lake Baikal, saying that such a number of tourists, including Chinese, poses a threat to the environment.

- As for the ecology - of course, everything should be a reasonable approach. And oddly enough, the development of tourism, if properly organized, will lead to an improvement in the environmental situation. Take Olkhon Island, for example. According to members of the Gubernia Club public organization, the island should have strictly regulated visits and movement by cars so that the sandy soil and slowly growing grasses are not exterminated. The island needs to be cleaned up in order to develop ecological tourism there. To do this, it is necessary to develop visiting regulations, create infrastructure: parking lots, houses, excursion routes.

- Representatives of the regional tourist market are concerned that travelers' money does not remain on the territory, there are much more tourists, and budget revenues are not increasing at all at such a rate ...

- Indeed, the issue of illegal work of Chinese citizens in the field of tourism in our region is already quite acute. On the same Olkhon Island there are private illegal hotels belonging, figuratively speaking, to Vasya the Chinese, Pete the Chinese, Kolya the Chinese, which feed visitors from the Middle Kingdom to cafes owned by their compatriots. Plus huge number of illegal guides. All the money goes in cash, which means that the Chinese side closes the cash flows on itself, preventing the local travel market from developing, and, accordingly, the budgets of different levels receive less taxes. And this is a very big problem, primarily due to imperfect legislation. The industry needs normal regulation, control over the work of guides and those who provide excursions, since it is not clear what they say there, how they conduct excursions. There must be certification, there must be hefty fines, and the supervisory authorities must control the situation.

- What other problems is the tourism industry facing in the Irkutsk region now?

- There are many problems, but the main one is that in our region the industry has not been seriously involved in for many years. In the Irkutsk region, there has been a concept for the development of tourism since 2002, but its effect ended in 2010. Since then, not a single document has been developed that would define the strategy for the development of tourism in the region! But tourism is not just about putting up signs. The industry, like heavy mechanical engineering, requires a serious attitude, serious investments, serious infrastructure facilities, serious display facilities. Separately, I would like to say about the staff. Now the tourist business is experiencing a catastrophic shortage of qualified specialists. We need professional guides, administrators, maids, waiters. The deficit is caused, among other things, by the fact that almost all the tourist flow comes at the same time. At the same time, if we develop the industry, make the flow year-round - through various events, then the employment of the population in the hotel business will be 50,000 people all year round. At the same time, I note that in the tourism sector, the majority of workers are young people aged 18-24 years (60%). Realization of the tourist and recreational potential of the region will provide jobs and career opportunities for thousands of young people. This will preserve the human resource of the region, leave active people in the region, and attract the local population to work.

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