Balanced Development of Arctic Tourism Discussed at Bering Strait Festival
Participants in the business programme of the Bering Strait Festival in Anadyr, Chukotka Autonomous Area, discussed the development of Arctic tourism, the creation of new tourist products as the industry shifts towards domestic routes, and new opportunities for the hospitality industry in the Far North. The event is part of the plan of Russia’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023. Chairmanship events are being organized by the Roscongress Foundation.
One of the festival’s most important business programme events was the Arctic Travellers’ Forum, which featured a discussion on how to bring the Arctic to millions of people. Travellers, tour operators, bloggers, journalists, and athletes shared their success stories and plans for the future.
“Tourism is an opportunity to show off the Arctic and Chukotka to as many people as possible. On the one hand, more tourists will mean more jobs as we create tourist infrastructure, as small and medium-sized businesses grow, and that in itself is something. And on the other hand, it is an opportunity to show off the region: we need specialists willing to live and work here. Tourism will help us make contact: some of those who come will stay, and others will tell their friends about us. There is a good opportunity to work here, the region is really developing,” Acting Governor of Chukotka Autonomous Area Vladislav Kuznetsov said.
Participants in the festival’s business programme also discussed ways to adapt Arctic tourism during the off-season, new creative projects along the lines of camping and glamping, cruises in the Far North, nature conservation, and the preservation of indigenous culture.
“A more prudent type of tourism must be developed in Chukotka in such a way as to ensure it is safe and that it is done scientifically. We must also involve the local community when developing territories inhabited by indigenous peoples. It is precisely in the interests of the indigenous peoples that their land attracts tourists,” Russian Senator and President of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Chukotka Anna Otke said.
“There are no doubts about how complicated, how unique the Artic is. And it’s not only the weather – it’s the different access conditions, the different infrastructure for tourism. It requires a special regulatory approach that is so important if we hope to attract investors and companies capable of creating the conditions necessary to promote the tourism industry. Preferential policies exist in the Arctic today to reduce as much as possible the risk incurred with new projects. The Arctic Hectare programme applies to tourism as well. At the same time, the quality of the tourist services on offer needs work. 121 tourism projects with a total investment of RUB 38.8 billion are currently being implemented in the Arctic. The investments are expected to create 2,000 jobs,” State Secretary and Deputy Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic Pavel Volkov said.
Participating in the discussions were tourism experts and specialists, representatives of federal and regional authorities, industry company heads, and tour operators.
The Bering Strait Festival is being held in Chukotka Autonomous Area from 4 to 11 August. The programme of events includes the Beringia Games, which brings together the indigenous peoples of the Arctic for a cultural forum and sports competitions. Festival participants can also take part in the Beringia Regatta 2023, a team race on leather canoes that for many centuries served as the primary mode of transport for the indigenous peoples of the Bering Strait region. The festival has been organized by the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic and the Government of Chukotka Autonomous Area.