Tourist on the ice of Lake Baikal.
On March 1, at KEF-2023, as part of the track of the forum “Ecology and Tourism”, the round table “Tourism as a motor for the development of the regional economy” was held. The experts discussed the potential of tourism flows and products in the Siberian regions, the possibility of implementing large projects that will be designed to become centers of attraction for travelers from all over the country.
By the way, domestic tourism in Russia in 2022 grew by 10%. In 2021, 56 million people made trips across the country, and 62 million in 2022. According to Rostourism, the turnover of the Russian tourism industry in 2022 was close to 3.9 billion. Prom rubles, as the moderator of the round table, director of marketing and communications at KB Strelka Liliya Izgalina noted, 1 ruble of investment in tourism brings 1.5 rubles to other industries.
Obviously, the development of internal tourism requires not only investments, but complex actions. The director of the project office of Progorod (VEB.RF group), Ksenia Titova, just spoke about relevant and effective approaches to master planning. A tourism master plan is a comprehensive document at the intersection of strategic socioeconomic and spatial planning, which takes into account all the natural, socioeconomic, historical, cultural and infrastructure characteristics of the territories.
– But not only an integrated approach is important, but a detailed study, – emphasized Ksenia Titova.
KB Strelka project manager Alexey Arushanyan spoke about the company’s experience in master planning. Analysts studied the target audience, creating a kind of “portrait” of a Russian tourist, developed approaches to modeling tourist flows and routes, identified tourist attraction points and formed their attractiveness index. They got an idea of what types of tourism are in demand and what may be in demand. But the main thing is that as a result of the work a designer of digital solutions for analysis and modeling was created. According to Alexey Arushunyan, it can be used both for some individual projects and for the integrated development of the tourism sector.
During the round table, the participants evaluated the potential and existing negative impact of tourism on nature. En+’s Director of Sustainable Development, Anton Butmanov, spoke about how the company stimulated the development of ecotourism around Lake Baikal, citing projects that minimize anthropogenic pressure on its ecosystem as examples. And the load is great: in 2021, 2 million people visited the lake – from Irkutsk, and 1 million from abroad. – from Buryatia. According to Anton Butmanov, it is mainly “wild” tourism, which “creates problems, not solutions for the conservation of the lake ecosystem.” What to do: the tourist infrastructure is very deficient and the one that exists is too old. Although, of course, the level of ecological culture of vacationers cannot be discounted. Therefore, all the shores of Lake Baikal are littered with garbage, a significant part of which is plastic.
Since 2011, En+ has brought together volunteers who regularly go to the shores of the lake to collect garbage. This promotion is known as “360”. Now 360 volunteers are not only cleaning the shores of the lake, but also building ecological trails, planting trees, improving tourism infrastructure and helping specially protected natural areas.
But, as Anton Butmanov pointed out, although every year there are more volunteers, unfortunately there is still a lot of garbage.
To improve the culture of waste management, the company partnered with Sberbank, Russian Railways and other business representatives, reserves of the Irkutsk and Buryatia region, Irkutsk University, public organizations and created the Baikal Plastic-Free association. Its participants formed a roadmap of 14 work areas, one of which is a corporate program to reject single-use plastic. En+ abandoned single-use plastic and introduced a selective waste collection system. Responsible waste management and environmentally friendly behavior have become popular in the company.
-We are coordinating with volunteers in educational programs to promote this initiative. Many companies are implementing their programs to eliminate single-use plastic. We proposed, and the deputies of the State Duma supported the initiative and submitted for consideration a bill banning the use of plastic in unique natural areas such as Baikal, Anton Butmanov said.
In cooperation with the state corporation Tourism.rf, En+ is also implementing major tourism infrastructure projects in the region, in particular, on the Baikal highway. Now there, for example, there is no running water or sewage. According to Anton Butmanov, subsidies have been allocated for the construction of a sewer collector, which will significantly reduce the severity of the environmental problem on the highway. The construction of the facilities is carried out by the Grand Baikal company, which is part of En+. It creates a new tourist infrastructure on the Baikal highway, in Irkutsk and in Baikal itself. For example, it manages the Sobolinaya Mountain Ski Resort, which is the anchor project of the Baikal Gate Special Economic Zone in the Slyudyansky District. This is a place of attraction for Baikal tourists from all over Russia. There are lifts, slopes, hotels, chalets and today the company plans to build new lifts and infrastructure.
By the way, all tourist facilities are built according to “green” standards, which minimizes the anthropogenic impact on nature.
– It is obvious that today new standards are required for the tourism sector within the limits of the natural territory of Baikal and permanent monitoring of the tourist load on it. Definitely, it is necessary to manage tourist flows: build new tourist facilities and rebuild existing ones. And, of course, it is necessary to ban “unique” plastic, – summed up Anton Butmanov.