Tourism and recreation
Federal Agency for Tourism: Russia should focus on polar cruises
© RIA Novosti. Sergey Mamontov

Federal Agency for Tourism: Russia should focus on polar cruises

Tourist cruises to the North Pole can bring substantial revenue to the Russian Arctic's economy. Accomplishing this objective requires building the proper tourist infrastructure in northern Russia, Roman Skory, deputy head of the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturizm), told representatives of Arctic Council member-countries aboard the nuclear-powered icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy (50th Victory Anniversary).

A systematic approach would help northern Russian regions turn tourism into a large sector comparable to industry and transport, Skory told RIA Novosti.

In 2014, cruise liners carried 1.3 million passengers to the Arctic, with the Russian segment, serviced by foreign cruise ship operators, accounting for not more than 0.1 percent of total passenger traffic, Skory noted.

Russian Arctic cruises are quite expensive, costing from 300,000 to 750,000 rubles, depending on the tour operator, due to high ship chartering costs, the Rosturizm deputy head added.

Nevertheless, Skory believes that North Pole cruises are an exclusive Russian tour package. In his opinion, rudimentary tourist infrastructure is the main factor hampering increased tourism.

"We need to overhaul facilities of the Arctic infrastructure and to convert existing structures for the needs of research and tourism projects," Skory said, also highlighting Spitsbergen (Svalbard), Russian Arctic National Park and the Barneo Arctic base as the three promising and unique territories in the Barents Sea.