Bering Strait Festival to address rapid development of tourism in Arctic
Participants in the plenary session 'Tourism in the Arctic. Rapid Development' at the Bering Strait International Festival will discuss ways to improve the tourism industry in the Russian North.5 August 2022
The festival is taking place on 2–7 August in Anadyr as part of the main events of Russia's chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023, which are being organised by the Roscongress Foundation.
'A multinational people has always been and remains Russia's main value. Thanks to such multifaceted events as the Bering Strait Festival, we not only can preserve and develop the culture of Indigenous peoples but also help to discover Russia in a new way in all its diversity and individuality. Our country consistently advocates for the development of tourism based on sustainable principles in the interests of the socioeconomic development of the region, support for small businesses and, of course, the preservation of cultural and natural heritage,' Nikolay Korchunov, Chairman of the Arctic Senior Officials and Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in his welcome address.
'Today, tourism is becoming increasingly important for Russia's Arctic territories. Our citizens are becoming more interested in their country and discovering new routes for themselves. The Arctic is becoming a popular travel destination. Our goal is to make the Arctic open to tourists. Everything suggests that Arctic tourism has every reason to become a significant industry in the regions of the Russian North and, of course, the Chukotka Autonomous Area. We need to not only think about building up the Arctic with modern hotels and providing tourists with a wide range of services and entertainment but also about ensuring the preservation of the unique nature and interests of Indigenous peoples,' said Pavel Volkov, State Secretary and Deputy Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic.
Volkov said that every tenth project in the preferential regimes operating in the Arctic regions is related to the tourism industry. The existing preferences help to create good conditions for starting and running a business.
Air transport accessibility is a key driver for the development of Arctic tourism, said Ivan Pechorin, Managing Director of Far East Development Corporation. Low population density, long distances and a lack of alternatives to air transport in the Arctic have prompted the government to provide co-financing for numerous routes. Aeroflot has already begun operating flights from Moscow to Anadyr, S7 has a flight between Irkutsk and Anadyr as well as Vladivostok and Anadyr, and a flight from Novosibirsk might start running in autumn. In addition, United Far Eastern Airline, which was established per instructions from Russian President Vladimir Putin on the basis of the Aurora carrier, continues to operate flights from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Khabarovsk to Anadyr. By 2025–2026, the carrier's route network should be replenished with 45 new Russian aircraft, including the Sukhoi Superjet New, Il-114, L-410 and the light-engine LMS Baikal, which are replacing imported aircraft.
'The Russian Ministry of Transport and the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic, along with the governments of the regions of the Far East and the Arctic, are discussing the possibility of the Russian government adopting a decree to co-finance the regions' expenditure obligations from the federal budget so that local airlines become more accessible within the regions. Given the limited regional funding from the budgets of most Russian regions in the Far Eastern Federal District and the Arctic, support from the federal centre is important,' Pechorin said.
The Managing Director of the FEDC said it is particularly important to rebuild Arctic and Far Eastern airports. In particular, six airports in Chukotka are scheduled to be rebuilt in the coming years.
The festival's business programme also included four discussions on various ways to develop the tourism industry in the Arctic. Experts discussed ethno-cultural, ecological and extreme tourism, how to involve the local population in the hospitality industry, as well as best practices in organising travel in the Arctic.