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"Big investors should come to tourism"

Director General of the Corporation for Development of the Kamchatka Territory Nikolai Pegin - about tourism as a catalyst for the socio-economic development of the region

The Russian Academy of National Economy (RASHiGS) recently completed a training program "Managerial Excellence. Development of regional teams. " Participated in it and the representatives of Kamchatka. The result of the team's work was a comprehensive tourism development project in the region. About it EastRussia talks with Nikolai Pegin, general director of the joint-stock company "Development Corporation of the Kamchatka Krai".

"Big investors should come to tourism"
- Nikolai Anatolevich, who entered the team representing the Kamchatka Territory on the project RANHiGS?
- The emphasis was made on the structures responsible for the investment climate in the region. Our delegation included, in particular, the deputy chairman of the regional government, who oversees the investment policy, the head of the investment attraction agency, the regional ministers of economy and housing and communal services, the deputy construction minister, the head of the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky urban district, and I am the head of the Regional Development Corporation. The team, thus, represented the main management institutions, designed to create a favorable environment for business and attract investment.

The project of the Russian Academy of Science is not so much study as a systematic way to improve managerial skills. The participants of the project were required to determine the investment direction for the region that could solve not only the vector issues of the development of one industry but also provide a multiplier effect, that is, through the integrated development of the region, lead to an increase in the gross domestic product, increase the welfare of residents, and give impetus to the development of new industries. The result of the training course was the presentation of the project prepared by the regional management team.

- The Kamchatka Krai team paid attention to tourism. Why? And what is the novelty of the approach, because the need for tourism development in Kamchatka has been much spoken about before?
- Perhaps, the main thing in our "control work" is a look at the tourism industry not only as a business of the companies involved in it, and not as a sector of responsibility of only the regional Agency for Tourism Development. We presented this industry in a complex way, as a main line, combining the efforts of many structures and people: the regional government, business, federal agencies, residents of the region. The development of tourism, in our deep conviction, is not a private, "point" task, but a project that in the future has the potential of the locomotive of the economy of the Kamchatka Territory.

- Why should tourism become such a mainstream direction? And, for example, not the fishing or mining industry?
- Today, tens of billions of rubles are being invested in the fishing industry of the region, mining of minerals in the territory of the region. The state creates conditions for the development of these industries. Invest in them are large companies that make a profit. The listed industries exploit non-renewable resources, and therefore the range of development of production and seafood, especially mineral resources, hydrocarbons has a temporary, spatial and raw materials framework, and they are associated with certain costs - environmental, social and others.

Tourism in Kamchatka is still a lot of small business. Although tourism, under certain conditions, is capable of giving a multiplicative impetus to the development of the region for a long-term perspective. But in order to attract serious Russian and foreign investors into this industry, a large-scale regional action program is required.

Today much is being done in the province for the development of tourism. Especially positive changes occur in its infrastructure. The new sea terminal has started its work, hotels are being built with investors' money, the regional government invests in the development of the road transport network. But with all the positive shifts we have to admit that the current volumes of investment in tourism are not large. If more than 5 billion rubles have been invested in the fishing industry of Kamchatka for the last 18 years, then in tourism and related industries it is 2,5-3 billion. The target regional program, consolidating the efforts of all interested parties, is able to change the situation, to bring the next 4 - 5 years the volume of investments to 10 - 12 billion rubles and increase the tourist flow to half a million people a year. And by 2030 we expect to receive more than 1,7 million tourists annually.

But for this, I repeat, in the same bundle, according to a single program, the regional government, business structures, and federal authorities should work.

It is customary to say that in order to attract tourists, we need infrastructure - transport, stations and airports, hotels, restaurants, entertainment, etc. But just creating an infrastructure is not enough. It requires attracting a large business, ready to invest in its further development. Accordingly, the question arises as to the conditions under which it is profitable for such investors to work. These aspects should be considered in conjunction with the solution of other problems that Kamchatka tourist is facing. For example, I have repeatedly said that it needs not only modern infrastructure, but also innovative excursion products, urban recreational centers, the legend of tourist routes, the creation of new ones and the promotion of existing event tourism. It is unreasonable to exploit only the natural potential of Kamchatka. We must learn how to create the points of attraction for tourists.

- Can all tasks related to this project be solved at the regional level? In which cases without the help of the federal center can not do?
- The Kamchatka Territory remains a subsidized region. Therefore, we will not be able to implement everything that we have in mind quickly and on our own. It's not only about financial restrictions, but also about legislative ones. Here's an example. Kamchatka entered the Free Port of Vladivostok, but the electronic visa does not work for us yet. From January 1, foreign guests will be able to enter the territory of the Kamchatka Territory via it through a sea checkpoint, but what about passengers of air charter and regular flights? In my opinion, in general, the e-visa mechanism requires serious adjustments. One gets the impression that its positive aspects are not offset by the restrictions imposed on those who used this method of crossing the border. We need to think again and find a reasonable balance for an e-visa between national security issues and convenience for those who have used it. We also have difficulties with the arrival of cruise ships. A comprehensive program for the development of tourism will highlight existing problems and speed up their solution, including at the federal level.

- How effective was the Third Eastern Economic Forum, if we talk about solving these problems?
- The main result of the WEF for Kamchatka was the signing of a trilateral agreement on cooperation in the framework of the investment project for the construction of a new passenger terminal at the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky airport between the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, the investor and the Government of the Kamchatka Territory. The winner of the competition for the implementation of the project and the subsequent management of the air harbor was the company “Airports of the Regions”, part of the Renova holding. It is clear that this is not only about investments in new construction as such. The new airport will make us think about the reconstruction of other infrastructure facilities, change of transport schemes, expansion of domestic and foreign flights, and, therefore, will lead to an increase in the number of guests.

If we hope for an increase in the tourist flow by 2030 to 1,7 million people, then it is clear that the bulk of it will go through the airport. Therefore, it should become not only an air gateway to the region. The terminal must provide a modern level of service. Its architectural design must reflect the national and cultural specifics of the Kamchatka Territory. That is, in the course of solving the technical problems of the airport construction, we have to implement several complex functional concepts. They will be reflected in the investment and shareholder agreements that the Kamchatka Development Corporation plans to sign with the Airports of the Regions by the end of autumn. The documents have to clearly spell out the share of responsibility that each of the parties will assume.
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