At the plenary session "Law and Order" of the conference “Sustainable Tourism: Global Challenges and Russian Perspective”, a discussion of the draft law on ecological tourism took place. Irina Makanova, head of the department of state policy and regulation in the development of protected areas, the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, said that the bill was expected two years ago - it was supposed to be developed in 2019. But for a number of reasons this happened only now. Currently, the document has been sent to the State Duma and passed the necessary approvals.
As for the fundamental changes, there are several of them: the introduction of the concept of "ecological tourism", which did not exist before, guarantees for businessmen wishing to work on the territory of protected areas for compensation for damage caused, powers related to land legal relations, with permitted activities for the construction of facilities infrastructure, their creation, reconstruction on the territory of protected areas will be transferred in full to the Ministry.
«We understand that a business entering certain territories needs guarantees. And with a new bill we give these guarantees. On a mandatory condition - compensation for damage or environmental impact. That is, any business entering the territory of the national park will understand that that it has an impact on the environment and for the impact it must pay back. I also believe that we need to determine the amount of compensation payments from the investor if it enters the protected area. This volume should be formed from many criteria, including: the ability to enter the territory, the amount of earnings, the degree of load that must be compensated. I emphasize that this is my opinion, not as a department director, but as a lawyer,» said Irina Makanova.
WWF Russia Director Dmitry Gorshkov noted the growing role of public organizations in the discussion of many issues. Including regarding this bill. On August 3, a constructive discussion of the document was held at the site of the public chamber and proposals for the ministry were prepared. The list of criteria to which ecological tourism must meet was supplemented, for example, the involvement of local residents in the development of tourism. A proposal was also made that the rent should remain in the Federal State Budgetary Institution, and not go to the federal budget. They also said that business needs guarantees, but at the same time it is necessary to demand the fulfillment of the conditions under which it is possible to work in protected areas. About 14 pages of amendments and recommendations were taken into account. Now, in a similar way, it is necessary to prepare for the second reading of the bill.
“I think that soon, when the time comes for the second reading, we will see the document and will be able to discuss it in a constructive dialogue,” said Dmitry Gorshkov.
During the session, the conference participants were encouraged to join the discussion and finalization of the draft law - to make suggestions and comments so that by the end of the year the draft document would be edited, including the preparation and formation of a block of standards necessary for ecological tourism.