"Baikal is a unique natural object where we need to direct the development of tourism in a manner that minimizes spontaneous flows of tourists by creating an infrastructure and offering quality services," said Analytical Center expert Denis Yershov, speaking at a round table organized by the Analytical Center in conjunction with the Ministry of the Economy of the Republic of Buryatiya and the Federal Tourism Service. The event was devoted to the interregional strategy for the development of tourism in the territories adjacent to Lake Baikal as part of the Baikal - a Great Lake in a Great Country priority project.
"Developing a single interregional strategy is necessary first and foremost in order to identify priority tourist areas and destinations and to agree on common rules for the conduct of the tourism business in the territory of the entire Baikal area," Mr. Yershov noted. "We need to keep a reasonable balance between developing tourism and protecting the environment, creating new tourism products and developing special tourism zones on the basis of the sustainable development principles and taking into account the interests of the local communities, while getting them engaged with the projects aimed at developing their territories."
According to the expert, one of the main objectives of the strategy is to develop and agree a common territory development plan that takes into account recreation load rates and the landscape zoning, which can then be used to develop a general infrastructure development plan. "A separate goal is to put in place measures for handling foreign tourists, who currently come primarily from China, Mongolia, Japan and the EU," the expert stressed. "We need to create conditions where the bulk of the money the foreign tourists spend remains in the region while the activities of the foreign tour operators and those of local operators controlled by foreigners are strictly regulated."
The Analytical Center developed a project to improve the environmental situation at Lake Baikal and implement further environmentally friendly economic development in the Baikal natural territory as part of priority projects under the Environment line of actions. The project was developed using materials provided by state authorities, experts and business. The ideologues behind the project are the Ministry for Nature and the Ministry for Economic Development of Russia as well as the Federal Tourism Service.