A special discussion took place at the annual international conference «Sustainable Tourism: Global Challenges and Russian Perspective» at the Rosa Khutor resort.
The Minister of Resorts and Tourism of the Republic of Crimea Vadim Volchenko, the head of the Association of Directors of Reserves and National Parks "Reserved Russia" Rafil Bakirova, the Deputy Chairman of the Board of the National Company "Kazakhturizm" Kairat Sadvakasov, as well as Chairperson of the group of specialists on tourism in protected areas (TAPAS), representative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Anna Spennsley.
During the event, key challenges, prospects, trends and risks were discussed. The conference participants noted that along with the difficulties that are usually present, the pandemic has played a special role in modern realities. During the lockdown period, many natural sites faced the fact that the number of visits decreased significantly, and the traffic approached zero. But at the same time, while some facilities were empty, the load on others increased significantly. People went to rest in neighboring cities, districts and regions.
Anna Spensley, noted that any development should take place taking into account what is happening in the region. There is a need to conduct a strategic and social assessment of the impact of tourism in each specific area. And to determine the types of impact: what the region may face when providing ecotourism.
«During the pandemic, many natural sites experienced zero visits. It was a difficult period for many, it was not easy to survive in these conditions.
When identifying opportunities, I note that there are planning tools, including scheduling visits - loads are calculated. It must be understood that it is necessary to avoid oversaturation with tourists so that there are no crowds - this is also a social burden on the regions. And we must not forget about the so-called tourist experience - to take into account what a tourist visits when arriving in a particular region,» said Anna Spensley, a representative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The participants in the meeting agreed that there are challenges, and they can and should be dealt with effectively. To do this, it is necessary to discuss existing problems, taking into account the views of ecologists and local active communities. And also to conduct a constructive dialogue, including in such open discussions.