Russia plans to actively develop Arctic tourism, also with a focus on cruise programs. In the next 15 years, the number of tourists visiting the Russian Arctic is expected to triple, Deputy Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic Alexander Krutikov said.
If this forecast comes true, about 3 mio people will visit Russia’s Polar regions.
“This is the permissible limit of anthropogenic load,” the official said.
The plan is to attract both Russian and foreign tourists to the Arctic.
“The Arctic is an amazingly beautiful place. There are very few such places on the planet, and our mission is to enable the people living on this planet to see its beauty,” Alexander Krutikov says.
According to him, cruise programs can be among the most promising segments of tourism in the Arctic; it is clearly underdeveloped in Russia’s Arctic regions today, unlike in the United States, Iceland and Norway.
Regulatory restrictions on foreign citizens’ travel to the Russian Arctic and Far East are also hindering this market’s development, and the ministry plans to change this. In 2018, 10.43 mio tourists visited the Arctic globally, according to Leonid Agafonov, managing director of EastRussia, member of the Public Council under the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic.
“The Russian Federation has the largest territory in the Arctic region, and the Arctic ranks fifth in the world by popularity with 1.17 mio tourists,” he said.
Agafonov also explained that this number includes business trips, conferences and sports tourism as well.
Almost half of the tourist flow in the Russian Arctic is currently received by the Murmansk Region, followed by the Arkhangelsk Region, the Republic of Karelia and Yamal. Far fewer tourists reach the Arctic territories of Yakutia. Arctic tourism in Russia will be developed by promoting private investments in the sector.
“We have begun drafting the Strategy of the Development of Arctic Tourism and outlined both current and promising travel destinations for each region and considered what is necessary to do to develop them. Most importantly, the strategy will focus on promoting private investments both by large investors and small and medium-sized businesses,” Krutikov said.
Experts shared their views and assessments at the online conference, Arctic Tourism: New Challenges for Business, organized by the Kommersant Publishing House.