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Course to the East
How to discover the tourist potential of the East of Russia
For several years, statistics show steady growth in both domestic and inbound tourism in eastern Russia. There is every reason to believe that this is only the beginning. In order to preserve and, most importantly, accelerate the growth rate of the development of the tourism industry, it is proposed to create new points of attraction for tourists, relying on the exclusive advantages of each region. Let us analyze what has already been done and what tasks remain to be solved in order to fully disclose the tourist potential of the east of Russia - a unique region occupying more than a third of the territory of Russia.
Undoubtedly, the Far East and the Baikal region are a special territory. It is not only unique natural landscapes, picturesque reserves, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, historical and ethnographic sights, exotic cuisine and national distinctive traditions. 12 regions of the east of Russia - this is the place of crossing important routes: land, sea, cultural. Here, new horizons are opened for the creation of unique tourist products that represent our country in the international arena.
In the territory of the east of Russia, 12 regions are located, most of which have access to the sea - it is almost everywhere. Various types of tourism - from the ecological and sports to the extreme and eventful - have all the chances for successful development. After all, there are 32 reserves, 16 federal reserves, 10 national parks, five UNESCO World Heritage sites, a myriad of natural and ethnic monuments.
Favorable geographical position - direct proximity to densely populated and developed Asian countries (China, Japan, Korea) - creates logical expectations for the high potential of inbound tourism. When it comes to increasing the tourist flow, first of all you need to analyze the transport accessibility of the territories.
Regular air communication with foreign countries is connected only by a part of the airports of the east of Russia. From Vladivostok International Airport regular flights to China, Korea, Japan and Thailand are carried out. From Khabarovsk airport "New" planes fly to China, Korea and Japan. You can also fly to China and Korea from Yakutsk, to China and Thailand - from Irkutsk, to China, Mongolia and Thailand - from Chita. Air communication has been established between Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Japan and Ulan-Ude and China.
The land checkpoints operate in the Amur Region, the EAO, the Khabarovsk Territory and the Primorsky Territory (the border with the PRC), in the Trans-Baikal Territory (border with Mongolia, China), in the Republic of Buryatia (border with Mongolia). Two regular ferry lines operate: Korsakov (Sakhalin Region) - Wakkanai (Japan); Vladivostok - Donghae (Korea) - Sakaiminato (Japan). The practice of calling cruise ships with foreign citizens is carried out in the Chukotka Autonomous District, in the Kamchatka Territory, in Primorsky Krai.
It is important to note that airplanes from Moscow fly regularly to all key airports in the regions of the Far East and the Baikal region. But within the region, air traffic is not so good - not all directions are covered.
Railway passenger transport operates in the Transsib and BAM zones. On the territory of the Republic of Buryatia, the Irkutsk region, the Trans-Baikal Territory and the Republic of Yakutia lies the East Siberian Railway. The road network is developed mainly in the south of the Far East and in the Baikal region. At the same time, only two regions are completely inaccessible to motorists in the Far East - the Chukotka Autonomous District and the Kamchatka Territory.
Unfortunately, at the moment the tour of the east of Russia is not developed enough. One of the main problems is the lack of, and sometimes even a complete lack of, infrastructure facilities. Most enthusiasts of the industry create tourist products based on the natural potential of the territories. The share of tourism in the gross regional product of the regions is only 1-2%. The industry is represented mainly by small business organizations.
The offer on the market still does not meet the requirements of modern consumers of travel services. There is a shortage of classified accommodation facilities, while foreign guests are counting on conditions comparable to the conditions in the analogue countries. There is not enough money to form a complete tour package, which would include food, communication, household, excursion and transportation services. And tourists are ready to buy a complex product.
It should be noted that today a stable trend has been formed: the state and business have focused their attention on the development of the tourism sector of the east of Russia. Special economic zones are being created, areas of advanced development are being formed and other sites designed to promote economic growth. Residents of the Kamchatka Territory (Kamchatka Territory) and Torn Mountain Air (the Sakhalin Region) have already registered residents who are implementing investment projects for the construction of tourist infrastructure: hotels, a water park, a ski resort, an aerodrome for light aviation, etc. At the expense of federal and regional funds have modernized the quay for cruise ships (port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky), it is planned to build infrastructure for providing thermal waters (the Paratunka zone, the Kamchatka region).
Private investors are still timid, but still deploy large-scale construction. For example, the entertainment resort "Primorye" is perhaps the only project in Russia, in which large foreign companies - the leaders of the entertainment industry - are investing. Small business is also increasing its activity: it opens hotels and hostels.
Another measure that contributes to the development of tourism in the east of Russia is the simplification of visa entry. Thus, the law "On the Free Port of Vladivostok", providing for a simplified visa entry to the territory of the south of Primorsky Krai (Vladivostok Airport, seaport, land checkpoints on the border with China), entered into force 1 August 2017. To issue a visa for up to eight days, now it's enough four days before the visit to apply online, on a special website.
According to experts, the east of Russia is an extremely promising region. The first steps towards the development of tourism in this area have already been made. But the most important victories are ahead. The tourism industry of the Far East and the Baikal region can become a driver for the development of small and medium-sized businesses, a challenge for a qualitative leap in the development of the social sphere, the urban environment, one of the components of successful improvement of the quality of life of the local population.