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Key Principles for Establishing Tourist and Recreational Zones
6 June 2019
11:00—12:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Tourism industry can significantly contribute to the socio-economic development of the country

According to international statistics, we have 0.49 trips for each citizen. Tourism reflects the quality of life; making tourism affordable for every citizen, so that this figure is at least 1 trip, would mean that the industry is developed. <…> Outbound tourism accounts for over 40 billion dollars, and there is also potential here. Of course, we would like to increase the inbound and outbound tourism by at least 20 billion dollars — Olga Golodets, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

Why do we want to develop domestic tourism? To cure the society of xenophobia. <…> It is an ideological task <…> Tourism development leads to a better social well-being — Mikhail Degtyarev, Chairman of the Committee for Physical Culture, Sport, Tourism, and Youth Affairs, State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation .

Infrastructure is an essential prerequisite for tourism development

Infrastructural restrictions are a serious impediment for investment and tourist inflow <...> We have the Belokurikha resort, a very popular place. As soon as we constructed a road and a drainage, provided water and power supply as part of the tourism programme, a new resort was built, Belokurikha-2, as well as Rodonovaya Truba. <…> For one rouble of state funds there are over three roubles of private investment. Social and economic impact from these investments is one of the best due to its multiplicative effect — Olga Golodets, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

ISSUES
Visa restrictions

Visa is one of the main restrictions, although not the only one. <…> Now, at a relatively high level, we are discussing the question of lifting the visa restriction; we have a corresponding instruction by the President. <…> A working group has been created, and it became a platform for the weekly discussion of this issue. In fact, we have reached the final stages of discussion, and we hope that in the nearest future a positive decision will be made and in 12 to 18 months the electronic visa regime will function in the entire territory of the country — Zarina Doguzova, Head, Russian Federal Agency for Tourism.

Lack of investment and state support

It is a serious problem for the investor to come to the periphery and implement their project. Many people mistakenly believe that the tourism business is very effective and pays off really fast. This is not the case. <…> We need cheap credits and subsidized interest rates — Khasan Timizhev, General Director, Northern Caucasus Resorts .

Low level of qualification of industry employees and local officials responsible for tourism development

What restrictions are there? They are competences of municipal officials, of small service providers, of museum employees interacting with tourists. We do not simply protect valuable objects; we need to demonstrate them. Also, competences of the cultural sector employees in the regions. We are now actively working on educational competences; we understand that it is not enough to have a UNESCO heritage site dating back to the 9th or 10th century; we need to be able to tell about it — Andrey Nikitin, Governor of Novgorod Region.

SOLUTIONS
Simplification of the visa regime

If we look at the statistics on e-visas and visa-free regime, the figures are very different. In the Primorsky Territory, after the introduction of the electronic visa, compared to 2017, the tourist inflow grew by 28%; and the tourist traffic from the South Korea (with the visa-free regime) increased by 134% — Zarina Doguzova, Head, Russian Federal Agency for Tourism.

Electronic visa regime allowed to receive visas and come without submitting documents in person to consular departments. As a rule, electronic visas are used by wealthy travelers who stay at expensive hotels, go to expensive restaurants and spend the money. As opposed to visa-free exchange, tourist groups <…> – this particularly concerns our neighbor China – leave all money in their travel agencies and use the prepaid routes — Oleg Kozhemyako, Primorsky Territory Governor.

Better promotion of tourist services

As for the brand, we do not have one. What are we promoting? The country still does not have a unified brand, and it is a big problem. <…> We need to promote and create a unified interregional branded tourist cluster — Mikhail Degtyarev, Chairman of the Committee for Physical Culture, Sport, Tourism, and Youth Affairs, State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation .

We can clearly feel the low level of informedness, for example, about the electronic visa regime. <…> Until the electronic visa regime works throughout the territory of the country, we need to selectively build awareness on the target markets, so that as many tourists from all over the world as possible learn that some regions already introduced the electronic visa regime. The problem is that Russia is still seen as a closed country visa-wise — Zarina Doguzova, Head, Russian Federal Agency for Tourism.

And on the opportunities that digitalization offers. <…> Possibility to provide internet access to the tourists who came to a certain place, so that they can find travel guides and interesting information about the place, and post pictures. They need to be able to book online <…> In fact, we can receive any data in real time, and we can understand what is the gap between the supply and the demand, and what we can do about it — Andrea D’Amico, Vice President, Managing Director of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Booking.com B.V..

Focus on client and diversification of the tourist product

We need to understand that we have a diversified approach to target audiences that this export of services will be directed to. So that they include families, children, students; business tourism as well as cultural, sport and heritage tourism. <…> It is important for us to create such infrastructure and such centre where all target audiences can find a place; and this will result in a self-sustaining and further developing smart model — Ksenia Shoygu, Adviser to the Deputy Chairman of the Board, Gazprombank; Member, Kronstadt Development Working Group.

Development of infrastructure and transport

The long-term development programme of Russian Railways implies a huge number of events that will ensure the increase of traveling speed in the long-distance railroad passenger service. First of all, these are the directions that connect the country with the maximum passenger traffic. <…> Now the Russian Railways can invest not only in the infrastructure, but also in the rolling stock — Petr Ivanov, General Director of Federal Passenger Company.

Development of business tourism

Business tourism is a contact point of the event industry and tourism; that is why it is one of the most important socio-economic spheres. The impact of business tourism on the development of tourist spots is evident. <…> Business events foster further tourist flows — Alexey Kalachev, Chief Executive Officer, Russia Convention Bureau.

Attraction of private investment into the tourist industry

The new state programme [of tourism development, – Ed.] <…> includes new sections, apart from the infrastructure development. The most important thing is subsidizing the interest rates. For one state rouble we need to attract ten roubles of bank capital — Mikhail Degtyarev, Chairman of the Committee for Physical Culture, Sport, Tourism, and Youth Affairs, State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation .

Creation of the Flotilla Radisson is a great example of how a properly made and promoted product, created with private investments, fosters the development of both the industry and waterside territories — Olga Tkacheva, Deputy General Director for Strategic Development and Marketing, Flotiliya.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS