Recently, agritourism has become one of the most popular tourism sectors in the world. Elena Zlenko, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Federation Committee for Agrarian and Food Policy and Environmental Management, told the Ecotourism Expert about the prospects for agritourism in our country.
- What is the situation with the development of agritourism in Russia?
- Today, there are over 500,000 places to accommodate guests in the villages of the country. There are more than 1,000 agritourism farms, numerous craft houses, folk craft workshops, rural museums of traditional life.
Annually, thousands of events are held in the villages for tourists. Over the recent years, approximately one in five of 36 mn domestic tourists have visited rural areas.
The examples of very successful projects in a number of regions of the country are in the rural tourism including the combining of the tourist routes with the traditional places where folk arts and crafts are developed.
The potential of the rural tourism in Russia is great. At the same time, all the companies engaged in this business need the help and support from the state “at the first stage”.
- What has already been done at the state level to support agritourism and what is being done?
- In June this year, the Council of Federation completed a huge work to promote and adopt a legislative definition of the “rural tourism” concept. The relevant amendments to the legislation on tourism activities as well as the amendments to the Federal Law on the Development of Agriculture were approved.
The agriculture development programme includes serious measures of state support for rural tourism, and their implementation will begin in January 2022.
In the Interim Commission set up in the Council of Federation to prepare the proposals for a new version of the Federal Law on the Development of Folk Artistic Crafts, we also work to combine the efforts made to develop rural tourism and folk art crafts.
- What do the legislators plan to do in this field?
- We see the possibility of interconnecting the regulatory framework and including the norms of the law on supporting agritourism in the legislation on the folk artistic crafts as part of a tourism product, important tourist attractions.
We will continue to work on the draft law on the folk artistic crafts and provide parliamentary support for it at the State Duma. We believe to present a bill at this autumn session of the Parliament. And, of course, we will connect these two documents to create the synergistic effect on the development of our villages that we expect. These two laws, of course, will strengthen each other.
During the recent meeting in the Nizhny Novgorod Region, we saw a great potential in combining the efforts and resources of various ministries to ensure the development of rural areas where folk arts and crafts exist today. This work will be continued with an active support from the parliamentarians.
And, of course, we will continue our closest cooperation with the relevant department. We also wait for the proactive position of the Ministry of Agriculture in the distribution of the grants for the development of folk artistic crafts.