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Number of tourists to Yamal may double by 2030, regional government says

The complicated climatic conditions - harsh winters with frequent storms and blizzards - hinder the growth, with January's average temperature being between minus 23 and minus 27 degrees, and July's - between plus 3 and plus 9 degrees

TASS, November 21. The Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region, which is part of the Russian Federation's Arctic zone, forecasts the number of visiting tourists would double by 2030 - to 430,000. The growth would be due to the regional incentives, to a new Rai-Iz complex, as well as to the fact that a local attraction is now published on a 5,000-ruble note, the governor's press service told TASS.

"Every year the number of tourists is growing, the current growth is about 10% a year. In 2022, more than 190,000 tourists visited the region, and we expect that by the end of 2024 more than 220,000 tourists will visit the Yamal, and by 2030 the number of tourists will double to 430,000," the press service said.

The complicated climatic conditions - harsh winters with frequent storms and blizzards - hinder the growth, the region said. In January, the average temperature is between minus 23 and minus 27 degrees, and in July - between plus 3 and plus 9 degrees. The Arctic climate is both a problem and an attraction for those who enjoy extreme trips.

Large-scale projects

In summer, the most popular destinations are the Romantikov glacier and the Jade Valley, and in winter - the ethnic village to where tourists go to see how reindeer herders live and to 'hunt' the Northern lights. In spring and autumn, choosing a route is quite a task: the transport does not work smoothly, and ferries may be working with interruptions.

The region's largest tourist project is a cluster on the territory of Salekhard, Labytnangi, Harp and the Ingilor Nature Park. "The Rai-Iz tourist and recreational complex is due there. Works to create all the necessary infrastructures are now underway in the Polar Urals and in the Ingilor Nature Park, including the tourist locations as Lake Hadatayeganlor, Yangana-Pe, the Morozov Cordon, the Jade Valley," the press service said in a response to TASS. On the Rai-Iz mountain range, which is the most popular peak among tourists, will be a ski complex: trails of varying complexity, a service center with a skiing school, two hotels with restaurants to accommodate 300 guests, as well as all-season leisure facilities.

The Ingilor Nature Park will have a mobile application, which will accumulate cartographic data, routes and their categories, responsible tourist behavior rules, restrictions due to weather conditions, visiting permits procedures, notifications to emergency services about traveling groups.

"The Yamal Peninsula is getting friendlier for tourists every year, and the main result of our work is not in growing numbers of travelers, but in better services for every guest, in the region's better recognition, and in easy travel organization," the press service added.

Big attraction

In October, the Bank of Russia presented upgraded bank notes of 1,000 and 5,000 rubles ($11 and $55). The new 5,000 bill is decorated with an image of the "66th Parallel Stela," or the "Polar Circle" in Salekhard. The region's authorities believe this image will motivate many tourists to visit the Yamal.

"We hope that tourists will develop a new tradition - to take pictures by the stela. This may be a reason to go to the Yamal to have a photo near the Polar Circle Stela, similar to how the number of tourists to Khabarovsk has grown due to the fact the city image was on the bank note," the press service said.

Tourists visit the stela while on sightseeing tours in Salekhard. The ceremony of crossing the Arctic Circle is a welcoming ritual for everyone visiting the Yamal for the first time. Every tourist receives a respective certificate.

Sector support

In 2023, the regional authorities reviewed incentives for tourism. "We believe that the successful regional projects in terms of support for tourism businesses are the region's Accelerator of Projects in the tourism, and the competition for grants. <…> The grant fund has increased from 7 to 27 million rubles ($79,000 to $304,000), and the maximum amount of support for one project is now 10 million rubles ($112,000)," the press service said.

Every year, the competition features regional tour operators, hotel businesses and other tourist market players. Over the competition's 12 years, more than 440 projects have been considered, and 64 projects have received financial support worth more than 71 million rubles ($799,000).

The Glamping Park. Dome Hotel is a popular project implemented in 2023 already, where guests can observe conveniently the Northern Lights. Another project is the Northern Lights roadside hotel and restaurant on the Surgut - Salekhard highway in Muravlenko. Another successful project, commissioned earlier, is Yamal-Yakha - it is a combined tourist product for the region's water routes.