The Arctic welcomes tourists

The Arctic welcomes tourists

Expert Reports  

In 2020, a special preferential business regime was introduced in the Arctic region of Russia. Within its framework, 338 projects have already been launched. The total investments in the projects are estimated at 1.1 trillion roubles.

The preferences for its participants are introduced for 10 years and include reduced insurance premiums for new jobs, a priority land acquisition, subsidized loan rates, and preferential taxation.

Tourism turned out to be the most popular direction for the business development in the Arctic as 68 projects are under implementation in the tourism industry.

For example, a small tourist fishing village will be built on the shore of the Barents Sea for sport fishing. According to Dmitry Kuznetsov, Director of the investment company, there is practically no infrastructure for sea fishing in Russia now. Within 3-5 years, it is planned to put into operation a facility worth 150 million roubles.

In Khibiny, at the Mountain Aikuaivenchorr Ski Resort (820 metres above the sea level), a restaurant with a bar and a bistro has been built, which is already operating. The project’s cost was about 359 million roubles.

In Chukotka, it is planned to build a 7,600 metre “air bridge” to connect the city of Anadyr and the village of Ugolniye Kopi (Coal Mines) over the lagoon. The cable way will allow the transportation of passengers and goods all year round. The project is estimated at 3.8 billion roubles. Nowadays, about 60 thousand people cover this distance annually. In winter, they have to use the ice crossing, and in the off-season, they travel by helicopters and hovercraft.

Norilsk Nickel is going to develop two tourist projects, these are Valla-Tunturi on the Kola Peninsula and Zatundra on Taimyr. The company promises to construct the buildings and other facilities using eco-materials and “clean” energy sources to preserve the pristine nature.

Alpine skiing will be developed in Yamal. After all, the skiing season in this region lasts until June when the southern resorts are closed. And it takes just three hours from Moscow or St. Petersburg to Yamal by plane.

The Yamal authorities are going to build a large-scale ski complex on the slopes of the picturesque Rai-Iz mountain range with two 3- and 4-star hotels and après-ski facilities for social activities and entertainment. The applications are being accepted from potential investors. This will be the first investment project in the tourism sector under concessions in Russia. Within 3.5 years, at least 12 km of ski trails of varying complexity, two ski lifts to climb to the top of the mountain, a service centre with a ski school, and a rental office should be built in Yamal. The project should become part of a new industry cluster in the Polar Urals.

The Yamal project is part of the strategy for the development of the Russia’s Arctic area until 2035. By 2025, the tourist flow is expected to exceed 80 thousand people, more than half of which will be the residents of the peninsula.

In addition to skiing, the cluster will include the Kharbeyskaya recreation area, an ethnic camp, the Arktorium Museum, the Arctic Zoo, Bolshoye Shchuchye and Khadataeganlor Lakes, as well as the international scientific station “Snezhinka” (Snowflake) in the Nephritovaya (Nephrite) Valley (the station is being designed now), the first fully autonomous hydrogen-powered station.

According to Alexey Chekunkov, Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, the economy has enormous potential for tourism development. In his talks with journalists, the Minister expressed the opinion that tourism in Yamal could reach 10-20 percent of household income in the next five years.

Since 2020, a preferential regime has been in effect in the Arctic. For the Arctic region development, the amendments to the legislation and the Strategy for the Development of the Arctic region until 2035 were adopted.

Work is also underway to increase the access to the Arctic regions, in particular, using the polar aviation. Now, there are 39 airports in the Arctic area. In the next five years, 10 of them will be upgraded.

According to the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, 310 companies and individual entrepreneurs became residents of the Arctic area within the period a little longer than one year. The cost of the projects they are implementing exceeds 367 billion roubles. 23 companies started their operation in the Arctic.