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Chukotka may attract many more tourists

According to the regional government, over the recent decade, Chukotka has welcomed between 1,500-1,900 tourists a year

ANADYR, March 28. /TASS/. Chukotka may welcome a dozen times more tourists, than the region attracts now, Chukotka’s Governor Roman Kopin told TASS on sidelines of a business forum on Thursday. Experts point to necessary development of infrastructures and to new tourist routes and projects.

"The figures of visiting tourists are not inspiring - a few thousand a year," the governor said. "We cannot see the number of tourists could be 100,000 or a million a year, since we know the Arctic logistics, the severe climate."

"The figure, which should be our next objective, is 10-20 thousand, with further potential of a few dozen thousand tourists a year," he added.

According to the regional government, over the recent decade, Chukotka has welcomed between 1,500-1,900 tourists a year. Experts say tourism development will be an impetus for development of local businesses.

"Here, the issue is in objectives: the task is to earn more, to promote the region, to offer conditions for people to remain in the region," Head of the Center for Territory Marketing Konstantin Garanin said. "In order to attract wealthy people, you should apply effort, you should prove the territory is attractive."

Ethnographer Mikhail Resyapkin adds the region, where low-numbered indigenous peoples live, should preserve culture.

"Correct work with tourism helps in keeping local traditions along with receiving additional revenues," the expert said. "At the same time, visiting tourists is a delicate matter - it is important to organize things so that they do not damage these lands."

Tourist operators say though the number of visiting tourists is not high, the region is attractive for travelers, though the region’s promotion should be more effective.

"A regular person does not eye Chukotka as a tourist attraction," the Otrkytiye Tourist Company’s Director Sofia Gavrilova said. "Everyone nowadays goes on the Internet, finds a tour with dates and prices, picks one and takes a flight."

"As for Chukotka, this approach is not realistic," she said. "Even in Anadyr you may find only one accommodation option on a popular booking resource."

Chukotka has begun fighting the information vacuum. The region organizes a special tourism portal, which will tell other Russians and foreigners about accommodation, dining and sightseeing options in Chukotka.

To see and to try

The region, which takes more than 720,000 square kilometers, has things to show. Besides the Arctic nature, visitors may see Pegtymel petroglyphs, the Whale Alley monument of ancient Eskimo culture, the Kekury stone pillars, the Beringiya national park, and Russia’s first Arctic natural reserve - the Wrangel Island.

"Chukotka, which has drawbacks in infrastructures, has its advantages - people come here for the wild nature," the ethnographer said. "As an ethnographer, I would like to stress an important aspect - here you can see the symbiosis of nature and local traditional cultures, cultures of see hunters and reindeer herders."

An expert at the Russian Export Center Natalia Belyakova highlighted another accent.

"Culinary tourism," she said. "Take, for example, the Japanese, who are fans of culinary tourism, fans of wild berries, and here the region has a lot to offer."

Conveniences are above all

Extreme tourism is popular in Chukotka. However, experts stress comfortable conditions for tourists must be available even in the wild nature. The Russian Discovery Company’s Director General Vadim Mamontov spoke about easy-to-assemble houses, which could replace traditional tents.

"Nowadays, tourists expect comfort, they are less prepared to do without modern conveniences," he said. "In the past, a trip’s objective was to get to a certain place, and nowadays people want to visit wider territories within one trip and to receive good-level services there."

The region’s government says about developing logistics in the region. Many small and medium businesses have been working on accommodation facilities. Another promising direction is development of cruise tourism. Chukotka presently welcomes 8-11 cruise vessels a year.

"Chukotka is not a border area any longer, but we have different limitations," the governor said. "Anyway, it is a region with restrictions for visitors, and we have to decide jointly with the federal authorities how to make procedures easier for tourists and tourist companies."

The forum "Idea - to Business, Business - to Result" is underway in Anadyr and Egvekinot on March 26-28. The agenda offers sessions on tourism, agriculture, digital economy, and preferences for businesses. The forum features federal and regional officials, representatives of banks, leading Russian and foreign companies, working in tourism, agriculture, transport, and fish processing.