Rosturism: Rising demand for Arctic tours hampered by poorly developed infrastructure
The Russian Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturism) believes that the Arctic has great tourism potential, but that its progress is being hampered by poorly developed infrastructure, Rosturism deputy head Roman Skory said.
"The number of bookings for tours aboard the 50 Years of Victory icebreaker is quite large. These are fairly costly tours — up to $30,000 per visit to the North Pole. Nevertheless, the demand is high. We see huge potential here as people are becoming more and more attracted to such places as our Far North," Skory said in his speech at the International Cooperation in the Arctic: New Challenges and Vectors of Development conference on October 14.
Bookings for extreme and expedition tours in the Arctic are coming from various parts of the world. The region, Skory said, will be even more attractive for tourists if relevant infrastructure is created. For example, around 44,000 tourists visited the Spitsbergen (Svalbard) Archipelago last year despite the high cost, which shows that the tourism potential of the Russian part of Spitsbergen is quite high.
"We have many bookings for the Russian part of Spitsbergen. At present, we are not ready to provide services matching international requirements: we have no in-demand hotels, and there are problems with infrastructure facilities… We have suggested building dual-purpose airports and hope that our ideas will be heeded. Construction of air transport hubs is common practice all over the world: the military cooperate with civilian authorities in terms of infrastructure improvement," Skory said.
The International Cooperation in the Arctic: New Challenges and Vectors of Development conference took place in Moscow on October 12-13. The participants included Arctic Council officials from Russia, Norway and Iceland, officials from Denmark, Finland and Canada, representatives of relevant ministries, agencies and the business community, and prominent experts from Arctic Council member states and observer states. The event was organized by the Russian International Affairs Council together with the Russian Foreign Ministry.