Russia’s Best Arctic Zone Tourist Routes Presented at SPIEF
Russian bloggers, travellers, and industry organisation and agency heads presented the most promising Russian Arctic tourist destinations at the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The presentation of Russia’s best Arctic tourist routes took place during Russia’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021–2023, with the Roscongress Foundation operating Russian Chairmanship events.
According to Murmansk Region Tourism Committee Chairman Alexander Eliseyev, a trip to Murmansk Region is the easiest way to visit the Arctic: the flight from Moscow lasts just over two hours. He mentioned in particular how travelers to the region could enjoy the northern lights in late August and April and not only in December and January. Some other activities awaiting tourists include travelling from Murmansk Region to the North Pole on an icebreaker, learning about the history of Arctic exploration, dogsledding, and going for a stroll through the tundra with reindeer.
Minister of Business, Trade and Tourism of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Timur Khandy stressed that the annual tourist flow of the region was about 200,000 people and that culinary and event tourism were well-developed in the region. The head of the department made special mention of the Lena Pillars, unique rock formations 40 kilometres long. “The centre of attraction is Yakutsk. That’s where all the tourist routes start. The region can boast many unexplored territories. It’s a chance to visit places no one has ever been before,” Khandy said.
Republic of Karelia Tourism Department Head Anna Borchikova spoke about snowmobile tours, culinary tourism, trips to lakes and waterfalls, and active forms of recreation as areas of focus for tourism in the region. The focal points of tourism can be reached from Petrozavodsk, whose new airport can accommodate over 300,000 passengers annually. Karelia can be reached from Moscow and St. Petersburg by train, and roads in the region mean you can also travel by car. The region’s main Arctic territory attractions include the White Sea petroglyphs, the Museum of the Karelian Front in Belomorsk, the Kuzova archipelago, and national parks.
Alexander Terentyev, head of the Agency for Tourism Development and Promotion of the Komi Republic, spoke about how the Komi Republic was distinguished by natural beauty and an amazing ethnic component. Its main transport hubs are located in Syktyvkar, Ukhta, and Vorkuta. “After analyzing tourist flows and queries, we noticed something very interesting: tourists are looking for mysticism; they want to study mythology and legends. This works with the beautiful nature to make us attractive to tourists,” Terentyev said.
Instagrammer and author of the Yandex Zen Travel with Sense channel Alexey Zhirukhin shared his experience of travelling in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug during the session. According to Zhirukhin, key places of interest for tourists in the region include the Arctic tundra, the temporary roads, also called winter roads, and the town of Pustozersk near Naryan–Mar, where the development of the Russian Arctic began. Tourists can also learn about the life of Nenets reindeer herders and the culture and trades of local residents. He noted that starting this year there would be direct flights to the Nenets Autonomous Okrug from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Kirov, and Syktyvkar.
The session was also attended by Anna Klepikovskaya, Director of Development at Golubino LLC, who spoke about tourism in Arkhangelsk Region, and blogger and traveller Bogdan Bulychev, who touched on a project to create an Arctic glamping site as part of the Arctic Hectare programme.
The presentation of Russia’s best Arctic tourist routes took place on 18 June at the Ministry for the Development of the Far East and Arctic’s ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ stand at the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which was held on 15–18 June. The stand programme presented the Arctic agenda at SPIEF in a comprehensive manner for the first time ever and included a number of events as part of Russia’s Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
Also taking place as part of SPIEF at the Rostourism stand was a presentation of the Russian Travel Forum, which will be held in Moscow at VDNKh on 4–7 August 2022. It will host more than 100 events, lectures, and public talks along with presentations of national tourist routes. The ‘Travel!’ Forum will bring together representatives of government and business and leading experts and creators of innovative digital services. The 2022 forum is being organized by the Roscongress Foundation and co-organized by the Federal Agency for Tourism and VDNKh with the assistance of the Russian Geographical Society.