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Russian Culture Ministry urges Arctic tourism development

Russia’s deputy minister of culture comments on Arctic tourism programs

ST. PETERSBURG, June 26. /TASS/. Arctic tourism, which includes traveling Russia’s northern territories, should develop as a separate direction in tourism, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Culture Alla Manilova said commenting on results of a meeting, devoted to the "Silver Necklace of Russia" tourism project.

"The Arctic tourism should be treated as a separate direction, and we have started doing so," she said. "There are very many conditions and problems to settle, but the potential of the Arctic tourism is very high."

One of the directions in the development of the Arctic tourism, she continued, could be inviting tourists from southern countries to see the northern exotics.

"Head of our Visit Russia office in Madrid told me Spanish tourists are buying out planes to visit Iceland and Finnish Lapland to see the Northern Lights, to get acquainted with the Arctic," the deputy minister said. "We must offer similar options to them."

Tourism in the Arctic

Tourism officials of the North-Western Federal District, who participated in the meeting, said about growing numbers of tourists, both Russians and foreigners, who visited the Arctic areas in 2016. They reported an annual growth of 3-3.5% and development of agricultural, ecological and educational tourism. They spoke about popular tours: cruises to the North Pole from Murmansk, staying at camps of reindeer herders in Komi, learning the culture of the Pomors (coast-dwellers) and visiting historic monuments in the Arkhangelsk region.

The Republic of Komi’s Minister of Culture, Tourism and Archives Sergei Yemelyanov said in August Vorkuta would host a forum on the development of the Arctic tourism, dubbed Accessible Arctic, where participants will discuss how to attract more tourists to the Arctic area. The officials at the meeting in St. Petersburg decided the city would be the coordinating center for development of the Arctic tourism.

The deputy minister of culture said about work on a new federal program - "Tourism," which will have a new concept. "The program’s term will be not three years, like we have now, but six - from 2019 to 2025, and now a working group, featuring the regions, is working on its concept," she said, adding the new program will focus on organization of tourism clusters and will have a clear objective of attracting more tourists.

"Tourism is a driver for the entire region’s social and economic development," she continued. "Additional jobs will appear everywhere, but the major criterion should be attracting more tourists - only in that case a cluster becomes reasonable." The new program’s financial parameters are not outlined yet, she added.

The Silver Necklace project

In 2013, Russia’s Ministry of Culture initiated the Silver Necklace project, which will unite monuments of culture and nature in Russia’s Northwest: from Ladoga to Solovki and from Kaliningrad to Komi. The project currently unites the North-Western Federal District’s eleven regions and involves more than 30 Russian companies. Within 2017, the District’s tourism industry will organize for the Silver Necklace an online portal and a guest card. The project is coordinated by Vologda’s regional administration.