A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of nationwide and international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, youth, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5,000 people working in Russia and abroad.

The Foundation works alongside various UN departments and other international organizations, and is building multi-format cooperation with 173 economic partners, including industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions, financial, trade, and business associations from 78 countries worldwide, and 188 Russian public organizations, federal and legislative agencies, and federal subjects.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian t.me/Roscongress, English – t.me/RoscongressDirect, and Spanish t.me/RoscongressEsp. Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation: roscongress.org.

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A Warm Welcome: Opportunities for Great Tourist Discoveries in the Arctic
10 April 2019
09:00—10:30
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Arctic tourism in Russia has great potential for development

The demand for the Arctic around the world is increasing every year. Unfortunately, Russia remains on the sidelines of this tourist boom. About 4,000 people visited the Russian Arctic zone last year. <...> At the same time, Svalbard is visited by more than 120,000 tourists a year — Zarina Doguzova, Head, Russian Federal Agency for Tourism.

Last year, Rosturizm conducted a survey which showed that 73% of those surveyed in various countries would like to take a cruise along the Northern Sea Route — Nikolay Pegin, General Director, Development Corporation of Kamchatka.

What makes the Russian Arctic attractive is that it allows a combination of ecotourism in ecoparks and visiting places of historical and cultural heritage — Yulia Zvorykina, Director, Institute for Research and Examination of Vnesheconombank.

The average tourist is somebody who has the means and is willing to buy this product. The Arctic is extremely attractive; we just need to learn how to use its potential — Inge Solheim, Norwegian Traveller, Expert on Polar Regions.

ISSUES
Underdeveloped infrastructure in the region

The question of infrastructure is a good and well-posed one. <...> Places that are most attractive for tourism are located in the areas with interrupted transport accessibility — Yulia Zvorykina, Director, Institute for Research and Examination of Vnesheconombank.

We have vast wide-open spaces, and the main problem with the development of tourism is the road and transport infrastructure. There is a lot of beauty but getting to see it is either very difficult or impossible — Valentina Pivnenko, First Deputy Chairman, State Duma Committee for Regional Policy and Issues of the North and Far East.

High cost of tours

Everything that has to do with the sea is very expensive. An average Russian will never be able to visit the park. The share of Russians in the total tourist flow is 5% on average. <...> If we develop air travel to the Arctic, we can reduce the cost of tours. Currently, the price of a ticket to Franz Josef Land starts from 600,000 roubles — Alexander Kirilov, Director, National Park Russian Arctic.

Russian people practically do not know anything about the Arctic. It is interesting for those who live in the central part of the country, it is interesting for southerners, but it takes a lot of money to fly to Murmansk or Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky — Valentina Pivnenko, First Deputy Chairman, State Duma Committee for Regional Policy and Issues of the North and Far East.

Strict environmental restrictions

More than 1,000 specially protected natural areas with limited economic activity are registered in the Arctic. <...> If there are places that are attractive for tourists, it is impossible to have the tourist facilities located in those areas. So, these mechanisms should be given additional consideration — Yulia Zvorykina, Director, Institute for Research and Examination of Vnesheconombank.

Local authorities show little interest in the development of tourism

One of the biggest challenges is how to keep the money flowing into tourism, keep it regional and local. Much of the income goes into profits of travel companies and is paid in taxes, while the local population does not benefit from visiting tourists. Very little money goes into local and regional budgets — Inge Solheim, Norwegian Traveller, Expert on Polar Regions.

SOLUTIONS
Creating incentives for investors and local authorities to develop tourism

Working with investors, creating a favorable investment climate. <...> We need to look into the tax incentives that would be possible for a socially responsible business that would be willing to invest in tourism along with the government — Zarina Doguzova, Head, Russian Federal Agency for Tourism.

We should study the experience of Yakutia, which provided tax incentives to support entrepreneurship in the region. Entrepreneurship in tourism can drive the revitalization of the Arctic territory — Valentina Pivnenko, First Deputy Chairman, State Duma Committee for Regional Policy and Issues of the North and Far East.

There is no need to build gargantuan plans; we must resolve the issues of support for local authorities in the regions that welcome travelers and create tourist centres for family or countryside tourism. This <...> will ensure employment for the locals, among other things — Valentina Pivnenko, First Deputy Chairman, State Duma Committee for Regional Policy and Issues of the North and Far East.

Creation of new cross-border and interregional routes

To make sure the [tourist – Ed.] routes pay off, they need to go across the borders. Norway, Sweden, Finland have cross-border routes which increases economic efficiency of tourism — Yulia Zvorykina, Director, Institute for Research and Examination of Vnesheconombank.

The Arctic will develop in a breakthrough manner if we include the process of interregional cooperation, when tourism products are developed on the basis of two or three regions. Kamchatka could be most interesting as an entrance point — Nikolay Pegin, General Director, Development Corporation of Kamchatka.

Since last year, we have had a working group whose activity is aimed at the development of Arctic tourism. The group includes government representatives from all Arctic regions and some of the cross-border ones, because we also see the need for cross-border routes. Many regions that are not part of the Arctic zone, but are related to it geographically, are the gateway to the Arctic — Aleksey Tikhomirov, Deputy Executive Director, Russian Geographical Society.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS