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'What happens in Sibera stays in Siberia...unless it is covered by The Siberian Times'

Come to Baikal: new bid to woo Chinese tourists and young Russians

By 0 and 0 and 0
08 February 2013


'Our guest... must be enticed with experiences and facilities that match foreign destinations'. Picture: 360 minutes for Baikal 

Currently, Buryatia attracts 600,000 tourists a year but the aim is to reach two million by 2016. Vyacheslav Nagovitsyn, head of the republic, says tourists must be enticed with experiences and facilities that match foreign destinations. 

For now, he was reported saying that air tickets from Moscow will cost 6,000 roubles for young people this year - around $200 - under an agreement to subsidise prices. 

'Air tickets for young people will cost 6,000 rubles this summer, from April to October. It is planned to ensure that every Russian citizen could afford to travel to Lake Baikal area once in two or three years', he said. 

'Hotel accommodation costs must be comparable with those in foreign countries.'

Chinese tourism is growing well, and is especially strong during the winter. 

'The tourism inflow from China to the republic grows from year to year,' Nagovitsyn said. 'About 15 percent of the total tourism inflow in Buryatia account for China. Among other foreign countries, we consider China as our key partner in this sphere.

'Chinese tourists consider winter as the best season for the trips to the republic. It is very profitable for us, as the tourist inflow in the republic decreases in winter. But, we would like that the tourism business will be active the year around'. 

Nagovitsyn is keen to counter the perception that Baikal is a long way away. In fact, for many Russians or Chinese it is less far than they now routinely travel for vacations. Buryatia has made - and is making - huge strides towards improving its infrastructure, for example a new road linking the republican capital of Ulan-Ude with the world's deepest lake. 

Chinese investors already bring $20 billion to the republic's economy and they are interested in projects in Bezymyannaya Bay.

South Korea and Japan also account for significant numbers of visitors. 

'We'd like to ensure that the tourists feel comfortable here,'  said Nagovitsyn.

'We must create the opportunities for those who would like to stay outside of hotels, for instance, in tents at the sites where land amelioration has been done.'

He added: 'The rates at the Baikal Harbor should be the same as abroad'.

Comments (1)

If ever there was a case for heavily subsidised and discounted travel schemes together with tourism, adventure holidays, camping enterprises for young people etc., this is it. The Russians have to be really imaginative and willing to subsidise 'come to see Siberia' events so that young people will flock there. Make a finincial loss for a few years in order to get Siberia known to people. Thre place is so alive wiuth potential they'll be making millions the generation after. This would be Very Long Term Planning. A strategic necessity. Imagine within 2 gens (50 years) turning 20 million Russians in Siberia into say 50 million? Is it possible? Well if they don't try they'll never find out...
Philip, UK
10/02/2013 17:01

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