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Will the Kamchatka tourist brand become global?
Andrey Golobokov Candidate of Political Science, Associate Professor of the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, Kam. V. Bering
At the same time, recognition and popularity on the external market is an important factor that can "stir up" the economic situation in the Far East and attract foreign capital. In the long term, this factor could well be tourism, and the brand volcanoes of Kamchatka - a truly unique region of Russia. For example, you can take the American Alaska, a vast sparsely populated state remote from civilization, which the US could not only develop economically, but also make it a recognized tourist center of America.
Foreigners in Kamchatka today are primarily citizens of the APR countries: Japanese, Americans, Chinese, as well as residents of Germany, France and other European countries. Over the past few years, the number of these tourists in the province is inexorably declining. And in absolute figures of annual visits, the Kamchatka Krai is inferior to such directions as Egypt, Turkey or Thailand in a few dozen or even hundreds of times.
It can be assumed that the outflow of foreign tourists is partly due to the crisis moments in the world economy. However, any resident of Russia knows that Kamchatka is an expensive region. High prices for services and flights are one of the main problems that pushes an average tourist from visiting the region.
If the issue of the ticket price can still be solved, for example, by creating an alternative low-budget airline (the low-flyer Dobrolet is a striking example), then with the increase in the flow of foreigners into the region, another question will inevitably arise: where and how to accommodate the tourists who are accustomed to comfort? The lack of a normal infrastructure for accommodation, recreation and travel of tourists is a real disaster for Kamchatka.
For example, during the summer season, up to 10 passenger ships from the APR countries enter Avacha Bay. However, the absence of a passenger terminal, the appropriate berth and port facilities, coupled with high port charges, mean that large cruise ships arriving in Kamchatka are forced to stand in the roadstead. Those who are fortunate enough to get to the city by boat, the regional capital offers practically nothing, therefore such tourism is focused primarily on nature. And getting there is difficult and very expensive.
So what is needed in order to raise Kamchatka tourism to the state level and make it truly international?
First of all, it is necessary to increase the overall attractiveness of the region for tourists and form a competitive tourist product. Complexity in this case represents both a large number of disparate companies, and the presence of intermediaries in the provision of various services. A big role here can be played by foreign business.
However, one should not expect that with the advent of investments tourism in the Kamchatka region will instantly soar to the international level. In many tourist countries — Italy, Spain, France, etc. — this area of activity began to develop more than a hundred years ago, while Kamchatka, a military outpost in northeastern Russia, was open to the outside world for just over 20 years. This region is young for foreign business and it is not surprising that now the average tourist from abroad knows more about Bhutan, Mongolia or Alaska than about the Russian Kamchatka. For example, the annual Kamchatka dog sledding race “Beringia” is very popular in the region, but almost nobody knows about it abroad. At the same time, the similar races in Alaska “Iditarod Dog Sledge Race” are known to the whole world.
In this regard, it is important to pay attention to the training of specialists for working with different peoples and cultures. The Japanese perceive the Far Eastern region as home, are precise in contracts and stipulate all the subtleties of travel in the treaty. Europeans have security on the first place, they do not trust the Russian service very much, but they are very eager to go to Kamchatka. The Chinese, previously interested only in the supply of fish products from Kamchatka, recently also began to be interested in it as an object for tourism. Today, the demand of tourism industry enterprises in Kamchatka is used by middle-level specialists, i.e. employees are able to sell and offer tourist packages. It is important not only to sell the product, but also to take into account the national characteristics and needs of the tourist who will get good impressions of the trip and tell about it to friends.
So, the basic conditions for increasing the international attractiveness of Kamchatka are clear - this is improving tourism infrastructure, focusing on ecotourism, reducing prices for air travel and services. There is one more condition that I would not like to miss. This is the concept of travel culture. Want to travel, discover new territories and spend money on it should, first of all, the person himself - be it Russian or a foreigner. And if visiting tourists of Kamchatka Territory becomes truly massive, the tourist brand of Kamchatka has every chance of becoming global.
Link to the source: http://russiancouncil.ru/blogs/dvfu/?id_4=1228