Resolution

RESOLUTION OF THE 2ND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM: GLOBAL CHALLENGES AND DISCOVERING RUSSIA

(Sochi, Rosa Khutor Resort, October 2019)

 

The Organizers of the 2nd International Conference “Sustainable Tourism: Global Challenges and Discovering Russia”, held October 16-19, 2019 at the Rosa Khutor Resort, (Conference):

  • taking note that, once again, the Conference served as a platform for fruitful discussions among preeminent experts from Russia and elsewhere, environmentalists, business people, researchers, government officials, and community leaders;
  • emphasizing the timeliness of the public’s request for sustainable development of outdoor recreational activities in Russia, and acknowledging the need for a relevant discussion among professionals;
  • desiring to foster successful implementation of the government directive to develop sustainable tourism as stated in the “Ecology” national project developed under Presidential Decree #204 of May 7, 2018 entitled “National Goals and Strategic Tasks for the Development of Russian Federation through 2024”, the project’s description approved by the Board of the Russian Federation President’s Council on Strategic Development and National Projects (minutes of December 24, 2018, #16); and
  • relying on the expert recommendations of the Conference participants,

 

present the following conclusions and recommendations to all stakeholders.

  1. Outdoor tourism allows travelers to experience wilderness and/or indigenous cultures, and has been in demand in Russia and worldwide. However, despite its significant potential, Russia is not well known for outdoor recreation in the global market, nor does it have a well-developed domestic market.

With the exception of a few well-known tourist attractions such as Lake Baikal and Mount Elbrus, underdeveloped infrastructure and services leave consumer demand for outdoor recreation in Russia mostly unmet.

Often, the task of managing recreational load along popular itineraries is overlooked or is not allotted the necessary resources, resulting in the deterioration of natural sites, degradation of the environment, and diminished attractiveness of landmarks for both domestic and foreign tourists.

 

  1. Outdoor tourism, as a competitive sport and/or recreation, plays a very important role in society, effectively accomplishing the following tasks:
  • ensuring well-rounded and harmonious personal development, creating a healthy way of life, providing physical, moral, and patriotic education as a counterweight to drug addiction, alcoholism, and crime,
  • providing environmental education, fostering environmental awareness and care for nature that could serve as a source of funding for natural sites and environmental programs,
  • ensuring sustainable development of local communities through entrepreneurship, job creation, and support of traditional ways of life.

 

Nonetheless, the anticipated outcomes can be attained only through the functioning of a well-organized  outdoor tourism industry that will help sustain a stable consumer market, ensure stakeholder cooperation, provide for successful implementation of investment projects, create and strengthen trade bodies, and define industry standards.

In this regard, modern Russia, despite its rich history, is again taking its first steps to build a sustainable outdoor recreation industry.

 

  1. The Strategy for Tourism Development in the Russian Federation through 2035 (adopted by Government Decree #2129-p of September 20, 2019), leaves room to formulate a separate concept for outdoor tourism, based on a model in which the flow of tourists seeking to spend their time outdoors and to enjoy nature will produce the sources of income needed to manage the anthropogenic pressure on natural environments and ensure environmental quality.

This approach is a key to mutually beneficial cooperation and successful partnerships between nature conservation organizations and the tourist business.

The Russian Federation Tourism Development Strategy through 2035 stipulates that this approach applies to Specially Protected Nature Areas (SPNA); still, it may be used more broadly for the development of the industry as a whole, and may be applied to all outdoor recreational activities, both on the lands classified as SPNA, and on lands in other categories.

 

  1. Specially Protected Nature Areas, such as state nature preserves, national parks, and nature parks, are unique in that they are virtually the only official entities bearing direct responsibility for the development of outdoor recreation, including nature tourism and/or educational tourism.

On one hand, the administrations of SPNAs manage areas with impressive natural attractions and have the means and the resources to exercise control over their territories and, one way or another, to provide support to tourism projects.

On the other hand, only a private initiative, working in partnership with the SPNA administrations, is able to effectively build tourism infrastructure, services, and products; attract tourists; promote destinations; build infrastructure to attract talent in order to raise awareness of natural heritage; and increase the number of friends of nature preserves and natural splendors.

Nonetheless, the SPNA administrations and all stakeholders often face conditions that are unfavorable for forging and developing partnerships, due to obsolete or absent rules,  restrictive regulations, and lack of clear industry standards.

A similar situation is often seen outside of the SPNAs, where private initiative is repeatedly left to its own devices, while travelers are facing danger as the safety risks management environment is critically loose..

The success of outdoor tourism’s sustainable development in Russia will hang on one key condition: creating a rulebook that serves the interest of all, one that will serve to align efforts of the business community, government, nature conservation institutions, and the public. Their cooperation would help raise the bar for tourism offerings and strengthen their responsibility for maintaining nature sites and systems for generations to come.

 

  1. Professional development and employee competencies are of paramount importance for the successful development of outdoor recreation in Russia.

In this regard, it is hard to overestimate the role played by higher education and specialized schools that provide training and conduct research on the subject under consideration.

The Conference Organizers will work towards inviting educational institutions and the academia to participate in the conversation about sustainable development of outdoor recreation and tourism in Russia.

 

  1. Everyone interested in the development of the outdoor recreation industry in Russia should consider best practices from other segments of the domestic tourism industry, including those related to cultural heritage.

The Conference Organizers will reach out to museum preserves to bring them into the professional discussion of the sustainable development of nature and educational tourism in Russia.

 

  1. The Conference Organizers invite all stakeholders in charge of developing and leading initiatives in tourism that can be qualified as sustainable, ecological, educational, active (including for children and/or competitive), nature, agrarian, culinary, ethnographic, or cultural, or related to those industry segments, to make use of the Conference’s cordial and constructive environment to raise issues related to industry sustainable development and jointly look for solutions.

 

  1. This Resolution was drafted for the attention of a large number of stakeholders, leading and/or contributing towards tourism and nature preservation in Russia.

The text of the Resolution shall be publicly available on the official Conference website www.eco-russia.org.