Resolution

Resolution

of the First International Conference

“Sustainable Tourism: Global Challenges and Discovering Russia”

(Sochi, Rosa Khutor, October 2018)

 

The organizers of the international conference Sustainable Tourism: Global Challenges and Discovering Russia (Rosa Khutor, October 17-20, 2018, hereinafter – the Conference), a forum that brought together well-known experts from Russia and other countries, nature conservation enthusiasts, representatives of academia and business, government officials, and grass-roots activists,

 

  • Noting the substantive and productive free-flowing discussion on urgent topics relating to the sustainable development of ecotourism in Russia,
  • Drawing upon the recommendations of the experts who took part in the conference,
  • Striving to assist in the successful implementation of the government’s directive regarding the development of ecotourism as presented in the project “Russia’s Wilderness: See It and Preserve It” (project charter approved by the Presidium of the State Council under the President of the Russian Federation on April 11, 2017 at the meeting on strategic development and priority projects) and in the national project “Ecology” (initiated by Russian Federation Presidential Decree No. 204 of May 7, 2018 entitled “On the National and Strategic Development Goals of the Russian Federation through 2024”),

hereby present the following conclusions and recommendations, which are intended for a broad audience of stakeholders:

  1. Ecotourism, as well as other forms of tourism that combine travel with experiencing  and/or authentic local culture, are in high demand in Russia and around the world.

Further efforts to foster the development of these forms of tourism cannot rely solely on private-sector initiatives to create and market products for tourists and to arrange for hospitality and associated services.

The scale of the positive economic, social, and environmental impact of sustainable tourism calls for nationwide attention to these projects.

  1. Current Russian legislation has laid the legal foundation for the sustainable development of ecotourism. However, constructive interagency engagement, successful public-private partnerships, and the productive cooperation of stakeholders are often hindered by the paucity of clear rules that serve common interests, the absence or deep-seated intransigence of key institutions, and the lack of clearly defined standards for industry development.

Taking a new approach to tourism development means overhauling the industry’s operational framework.

  1. The Specially Protected Natural Areas that have served as nature preserves in Russia for more than 100 years are key elements among the fundamental conditions needed to successfully develop outdoor recreational activities in our country.

In addition to outstanding natural sites, the administrators of Specially Protected Natural Areas have the resources and energy required to ensure control over the territory under their mandate and, one way or another, to ensure there is support for the implementation of tourism-related projects.

At the same time, it is the entrepreneurs in the business community who partner with the administrators of the Specially Protected Natural Areas to develop tourism infrastructure and services, create products for tourists, attract tourists, promote particular destinations, and apply the talents of motivated people to promote natural heritage and increase the number of friends of pristine areas and natural wonders.

The Big Baikal Trail, the Big Sevastopol Trail, the Big Valday Trail, the Big Ural Path, expedition cruises in the Russian Arctic, the Sochi mountain tourism cluster, and other large-scale Russian tourism projects have all emerged from different sets of circumstances. Still, the continued success of the sustainable development of these and similar tourism clusters depends on a key condition, namely involvement of the business community, government, nature preservation agencies and grass-roots organizations. Only the cooperation of all of these stakeholders will promote steady improvement in the quality of tourism-related activities and strengthen accountability to future generations.

  1. The administrators of the Specially Protected Natural Areas, which are principally national parks and state-run nature preserves, must be given the opportunity to create tourism departments within their organizations, apply global best practices, and work with the business community to create an environment that favors the sustainable development of tourism in the Specially Protected Natural Areas.

What is required is:

 

  •   Legislation defining the concession arrangement and the corresponding rules for public-private partnerhsips, and
  • An approved industry-level long-term program for tourism development in the Specially Protected Natural Areas that defines basic target indicators as well as standards and principles for regulatoin and norm-setting in industry development.
  1. The conference organizers invite all stakeholders who develop and lead initiatives in ecotourism, scientific tourism, adventure travel (including tourism activities for children and sports tourism), nature travel, agricultural tourism, culinary tourism, cultural tourism, or related activities to participate in further discussions of legislative initiatives and draft plans for industry development.

 

The conference organizers express their intent to foster dialogue between stakeholders, including building teams of experts around specific themes, facilitating the exchange of information, and publishing intermediate outcomes of continuing professional collaboration.

 

  1. As suggested by conference speakers and participants, the Conference Organizational Committee intends to hold a series of national and regional events for industry professionals at which the agenda will be set in line with the range of challenges and opportunities clearly delineated in the vigorous discussion that took place in the constructive atmosphere of trust that reigned during the most recent conference.

 

  1. The Resolution is intended for a broad audience of stakeholders who lead and / or define the tourism and environmental agenda in Russia. It will be publicly available on the Conference’s official website.

 

Vyacheslav Fetisov

UN Goodwill Ambassador

Ambassador to the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations

First Deputy Chair of the Committee on Physical Culture, Sports, Tourism and Youth of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation