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Treasure Island

Muscovite Narek Oganisyan is now the owner of an entire uninhabited island, on which he is planning to create a pirate adventure tourist attraction.

The more Narek Oganisyan learns about the Russian Far East, the more convinced he becomes of how underappreciated it is, with more than 6 million square kilometres of exquisite natural environment unspoilt by civilization. Just next door are the most densely-populated and economically vibrant countries in the world: China, Japan, and South Korea. «I see enormous potential for the development of agriculture and tourism, and eco-tourism especially, since its neighbouring countries have some major environmental problems. The Russian Far East is simply destined for economic success», Oganisyan says confidently.

He expects to achieve commercial success himself on the island of Chakmut, which he has obtained through the Far Eastern Hectare programme. The island is located in the northern part of the Gulf of Tartary, between Sakhalin and Kharabovsk Territory.

«It’s very rare for the population to be offered things for free, and especially plots of land, on an official basis at state level», the lucky owner of the uninhabited island says in amazement. «Where else can you sit down at your computer one evening, select a plot of land on a map, and be granted ownership of a piece of the planet for free three weeks later?»

On 1 June 2016, the Far Eastern Hectare programme, a Russian initiative offering the chance to obtain a plot of land in the Russian Far East of up to one hectare — for free — was launched. The programme has been running for just over two years now, during which 120,000 people from all over Russia have exercised their right to land. They have come up with all sorts of different ideas about what to do with it...

Chakmut will entice tourists not only with its pristine setting, but also with adventure quests. Visitors to the island will follow a ‘treasure map’, completing various tasks and solving riddles as they go. The most successful will be rewarded at the end with treasure, in the form of investment coins or an artefact that can be exchanged for a cash reward on offer.

Narek Oganisyan also promises a grand prize of RUB 1 million. In the initial stage, he will establish the prize fund using his own money. The entrepreneur anticipates that a similar amount will come from the first round of investments in the project. The money will be used to purchase inflatable boats, life jackets, and container homes, and to pay for construction, oneoff partner services, consumables, and ongoing operating costs.

Lovers of the pirate life have proven themselves to be in plentiful supply as well, with 3,500 requests to take part arriving in the space of seven months. The first media reports on the project were written on 18 December 2017, followed by a second wave between April and May 2018. Requests sent to the website and to nakrayzemli. ru (a shared website run by hectareowners hoping to develop tourism on plots obtained under the Far Eastern Hectare programme) show no sign of slowing down. Potential partners are also showing an interest. «A lot of people are getting in touch with me to offer their assistance and services», Narek says. He plans to welcome his first customers before the end of the summer season, although the quest has yet to be built.

One of the most recent requests came from a group of co-workers planning their own kind of corporate adventure: living on an uninhabited island.

Source: EEF 2018 Official Magazine

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