Irkutsk
Ulan-Ude

Blagoveshchensk
Chita
Yakutsk

Birobidzhan
Vladivostok
Khabarovsk

Magadan
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Anadyr
Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatsky
Moscow

What assistance is required for the drivers of the tourism sector of the Far Eastern Federal District

Currently, not a single Russian region can unfortunately be pointed out as an unqualified example of the development of tourism

However, we can confidently say that Russia has accumulated much successful experience in completing individual tourist projects. Moreover, in the Urals Region and Eastern Russia, there are successful projects that, due to similar conditions, could be replicated or act as the foundation for copying the effective solutions in the tourism sector in the Far East.



What assistance is required for the drivers of the tourism sector of the Far Eastern Federal District
Фото: Shutterstock.com

One of the conditions for the rapid growth of the tourism sector in the Far Eastern Federal District is the development of driver projects that at the following stage would assist the advancement of the whole region's tourism sector. Here, it is important to maintain a balance between standard solutions that guarantee positive results, including where finances are concerned, and individual designs that, on the one hand, may potentially ensure breakthrough results but, on the other, carry serious risks of an unsuccessful result.

Regional experience indicates that there is a number of formats of self-supporting projects successful for Russia that are effectively implemented with a large number of iterations in different constituent entities and, among other things, serve the cause of promoting the territory. This includes historic fairs, semi-marathons, New Year towns, etc. To assess the applicability of this experience to a specific territory is a separate job.

There are, however, universal solutions. The creation of official souvenir kiosks with local products (local delicacies, tea, etc.) at the airports can be called one of these quickly implemented ones. This step would be appreciated by travelers, the tourism industry, local producers, media, and experts. An example of the successful implementation of this standard is Yemelyanovo International Airport in Krasnoyarsk. This issue has also been practically and perfectly resolved in the capital of the Caspian region, where stores with Astrakhan fish operate both in the local airport and in the airport of Krasnodar.

It would be useful to place advertisements of available tourist products in regional airports. Steps to this effect have already been taken in Barnaul and Mineralnye Vody.

It is worth mentioning that, after arriving to the Far East, tourists frequently require warm clothing, such as hats, scarves, mittens, and sweaters. Due to the temperature gap, especially during the autumn and winter period, such goods must be in demand. However, no airport has covered this matter yet. A good example (even though it is not placed in the arrivals lounge) is a yurt with souvenirs in Taltsy near Irkutsk, where a half of our tour group purchased items for their winter wardrobe: some of them used those to warm up then and there, others bought souvenirs to take home.

Another prospective idea is the sale of souvenirs possessing healing properties, which has so far been implemented in Altai and the Crimea. However, investments in this sector first require qualitative studies and design efforts.

The promotion of main tourist attractions is one of the primary measures for the development of tourism. In this context, it is difficult to explain the rare mentions of the Skhote Alin Nature Reserve, a UNESCO world heritage site, even in official documents. Primorsky Territory and Khabarovsk Territory also maintain their silence. Global practice indicates that the tourist attractions of such high status are usually shown on the main pages of web sites and front pages of booklets. The same thing is being done in other far-eastern districts that host UNESCO world heritage sites (Lake Baikal, Kamchatka Volcanoes natural park, Lena Pillars natural park): informational support is provided, activities are arranged, routes are compiled, and logistics are being developed.

Areas of the Far Eastern Federal District host an immense number of astounding reserves, parks and wildlife sanctuaries, and in 2017, the Year of Specially Protected Natural Territories, it is possible to implement many interesting projects based there, but I would recommend that Khabarobsk Territory and Primorsky Territory concentrate their efforts on Sikhote Alin. This would be a good check of the ability to effectively concentrate resources in a key direction.

It is true that for some tourist destinations in the Far Eastern Federal District there are no perfect counterparts in Russia. For example, for the Primorye Gambling Area in Vladivostok. There, the trial-and-error method has to be employed, with reference to foreign experience that does not always translate well. Similar challenges are faced by gastronomic tourism, whose Russian leaders are the cuisine and restaurants of Vladivostok, as well as original national Yakut dishes. If visits to the three best Yakutsk restaurants for national cuisine, Chochur Muran, Makhtal, Muus Khaya, are included in tourist routes, colleagues from neighboring regions would have to visit the capital of the republic to study gastronomic tourism.

At the same time, a perfect tourist product, the annual Diamond Week in Yakutsk, during which jewelry is sold at a discount and a number of colorful events take place in the city, cannot obviously achieve the corresponding scale. The project could potentially attract several times more tourists from around the world. The question is how serious are the intentions of the authorities of the republic and those of the top executives of the respective specialized sectors of the largest Russian region.

In 2014, Vladivostok was included in the Top 10 Oceanfront Cities according to National Geographic magazine. It was unexpected, but the recognized international oceanic accent of the capital of Primorsky Territory needs to be specifically promoted further. And what if the New Year is celebrated with Asian tourists in the easternmost ice-free port in continental Eurasia? The New Year can arrive on a ship, and direct broadcasting can be made using simple drones. The experience of St. Petersburg could be studied for the benefit of tourism for the internal aquatic area of Vladivostok that has been expanded after the construction of amazing bridges. In particular, the experience of the mega-festival for new high school graduates, Scarlet Sails, would be extremely useful.

One of the world's leading publishing houses specializing in guide-books, Lonely Planet, called the Trans-Siberian Railway "the leviathan king of rail travel", and included it in the five best routes in the world to travel by train. As a rule, the route from Moscow to Vladivostok is known to be popular. However, due to increasing demand for an overland tourist route from Asia to Europe, the Trans-Siberian Railway should rather be called the Vladivostok – Moscow route.

To increase tourist demand for the Vladivostok Fortress, the experience of the Sevastopol Museum Historical and Memorial Complex, the 35th Coastal Battery, that has become a mandatory place to visit for guests of the hero-city, would be invaluable.

Tourist-oriented Vladivostok connects great expectations with the Primorsky aquarium. The experience of similar Russian sites that have gained global recognition would also be appreciated there, at least, at the starting stage. According to the global portal TripAdvisor, the Novosibirsk Zoo holds the 9th place in the rating of the best zoos in Europe and 18th in the world, the aquarium of Voronezh holds the 8th place in Europe and 22nd among the best aquariums in the world, the zoos of Nizhny Novgorod (Limpopo) and Izhevsk are among the Top 25 zoos in Europe.

The development of the industry is impossible without the creation of tourist routes and packages (naturally, apart from the improvement of the level of service and increasing personnel qualifications). Therefore, it is important, for example, to immediately imagine children and family tours to Vladivostok, where the main attractions would be the aquarium and Safari Park. A circus will be created soon. Also, is there a proper entertainment park, puppet or children's theater, or an indoor water park? And what about a Pacific alter ego of Santa Claus, a cafe with children's areas, recreation rooms and playgrounds within the territory of hotels?

The generally acknowledged successful projects of the Urals and Siberia, such as Abzakovo, Zavyalikha, the Krasnoyarsk fan park Beaver Ravine, could serve as an example for the skiing complexes of the Far East. At the same time, Sheregesh would be a difficult goal to reach. This mounting skiing resort began its impressive growth in 1981, during the Spartakiad of the peoples of the USSR. Therefore, the goal to catch up and surpass the resort of Sheregesh is only a far-reaching one which require at least 30 more years. Thus, it could only be achieved in 2046. Also, it would be nice for the project to include hosting skiing events at least at the level of the Universiade.

It is possible to draw a parallel between the resorts of Shmakovka in Primorsky Territory and Belokurikha in Altai Territory. The first one could learn a lot from the second, even though both were included in the list of all-union resorts of the USSR according to the resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR of August 28, 1970.

We do not have many prospective territories for domestic Russian beach-based recreation. The beaches of Primorsky Territory could become one such direction. The shores of the Black Sea have been assimilated by holiday makers for over 100 years, so it is best to rely upon the latest successful examples. For instance, the development of the holiday area of Lake Baikal. Still, the recent rapid transformation of Gelendzhik could also serve as a lodestar for new beach resorts of Russia.

Taking into account the global and Russian trend for the sustained growth of popularity in river cruise routes, the potential of cruises along the Amur is obvious. For Amur cruise routes, the experience of Yakutia with its cruises along the Lena is of principal importance, since their number has not declined even after the price of air travel to Yakutsk doubled. The experience of the routes along the Volga and the Volga-Baltic water way that have been continuously gaining momentum is also worth studying, even though it concerns the densely populated European part of Russia.

Sea cruises to the eastern-most point of Eurasia and Wrangel Island, with impressive waves for surfing, a kaleidoscope of local events and festivals of the regions, towns and peoples, museums telling about the history of Pacific Russia virtually unknown beyond the Urals, are all points of growth that also require a personalized plan of development and promotion. I am convinced, by relying upon primarily the experience of the Urals, Siberian and Far Eastern Federal Districts.

February 27: current information on coronavirus in the Far East
Digest of regional events and latest statistics