International Tourist Forum in Arkhangelsk

International Tourist Forum in Arkhangelsk
"Tourism development in the North"
Arkhangelsk '11

Support  The Russia Federal Agency for TourismSupport  United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

On 25-28 May, Arkhangelsk was hosting the International Tourist Forum "Tourism Development in the North", the first federal-level forum held in Arkhangelsk Region with a view to stimulate the growth in domestic and incoming tourism and to expand the region's inter-regional and international relations tourist-wise.

The Forum was organized by Federal Agency for Tourism and Government of Arkhangelsk Region with support from Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UNO World Tourism Organization. It was also arranged in the framework of the 300th anniversary of M.V. Lomonosov's birthday.

The Forum has pooled together the authorities, business and scientific communities and NGOs in Russia and foreign countries, including Barents Euro-Arctic countries, and has become the venue for discussion of such issues as the interaction in the world's tourism dimension and formation of tourist-related information technologies center in North-West Russia (in the framework of Barents cooperation).

The Forum has enabled the experience exchange in promoting tourism and recreation areas in Russia and abroad. The attendees discussed the general current trends in tourism and, particularly, new formats of tourism-related cooperation in the Russian and international dimension. Special focus was laid on gaining the common vision of and proposals for promotion of the travel destinations Pomorye and the Barents Region to the international tourism market in the framework of the inter-regional and cross-border cooperation.

Special interest was aroused by such topics as development of Arctic tourism, sea and river cruise tourism, congress (business) tourism. With the recently established Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov, Arkhangelsk Region stands a good chance to become a center of congress tourism, a special-purpose sector in the tourist service market offering trips to congresses, conferences, seminars, exhibitions, round tables and meetings.

The extensive geography of Forum participants and statistics have evidenced the interest in holding tourist forum and necessity of experience exchange at municipal, regional, inter-regional and international levels as a result of the world's swiftly changing economic environment and economic crisis aftereffects.

The Forum participants over 500 guests from 18 regions of Russian and other countries (Finland, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Spain and Hungary) included The Forum daily hosted the minimum of 5 events on 5 programmes designed for participants teamed up in the following groups: dignitaries, business community, members of BEAC Joint Working Group on Tourism and partners of "Public-Private Partnership in Barents Tourism"/BART-project, youth tourist projects participants.

The Forum participants included representatives of RF Federal Agency for Tourism; UNO World Tourism Organization; relevant councils and committees of State Duma and the Federation Council of RF Federal Assembly; regional CEOs offices in Barents countries (Russia, Norway, Finland and Sweden); region-level tourist administrations; BEAC Joint Working Group on Tourism; tour operators and travel agencies; Barents Region educational institutions training tourism specialists; tourist associations; tourism businesses and hotels; airlines; non-commercial tourism and hospitality organizations; chambers of commerce and industry; associations of entrepreneurs; central and specialized mass media.

Arkhangelsk Region was represented at the Forum by 24 municipal entities, among them 18 municipal districts (Velsk District, Verkhnaya Toyma District, Vilegodsky District, Vinogradovsky District, Kargopol District, Konosha District, Kotlas District, Krasnoborsk District, Lensky District, Leshukonsky District, Mezen District, Nyandoma District, Onega District, Pinega District, Plesetsk District, Ustyansky District, Kholmogory District, Shenkursk District and 6 city districts: Arkhangelsk, Severodvinsk, Novodvinsk, Koryazhma, Mirny, Novaya Zemlya)..

CEOs and representatives of municipal entities in Arkhangelsk Region have exchanged the information and experience in tourism development practices with representatives of government authorities from other Russian regions and were actively participating in Forum activities.

Each action had a special input to the Forum programme.

TheInternational Conference: "Tourism Development in the North" has become the highlight on the Forum. The key topics it discussed included Arctic tourism development and the potential for expanding inter-regional and international tourism relations in the North.

Tourism projects presentation was one of the key events on ITFA's business programme. The presented projects included:
  • "Inter-Regional North-Western Tourist Routes",
  • "NEDA: Ethno-Tourism Nenets-Style. First Experience and Steps",
  • "Interactive Tourist Map of Arkhangelsk Region",
  • "Krasnaya Gorka" Tourist Village",
  • "Ski and Biathlon Centre in Ustyansky District, Arkhangelsk Region",
  • "Construction of "Krucha" Mountain Skiing Village in Ustyansky District",
  • Sports and Tourist Complex "Gorki",
  • "Pomor Village",
  • "Fairy-Tale Reserve",
  • "Sever-Travel" Tourist-Information Portal.
The potential of the Russian and foreign travel companies was presented at ITFA International Tourism Exhibition Fair held in the M.V. Lomonosov Drama Theatre, Arkhangelsk. Organized for tourism experts, residents and guests of the city and its region, ITFA Fair has become one of the major events of the Forum.

The Exhibition Fair featured the tourist resources of
  • 21 municipal entities in Arkhangelsk Region,
  • over 20 travel agencies operating in Arkhangelsk, other Russian regions and Northern Finland,
  • 5 educational institutions training tourism personnel,
  • regional airline,
  • souvenir producing businesses.
The Fair gave residents and guests of Arkhangelsk a complete picture and information about Arkhangelsk Region's tourist resources and tour offers from the Russian and Finnish travel companies.

The business part of the Exhibition Fair programme included meetings of tourism businesses and tourist projects presentation, arranged by experts and participants of youth tourist projects platform, who were taking their training during the Forum.

Municipal entities of Arkhangelsk Region and regional travel agencies have presented their tourism programmes "Belomorye Country Tour", "Solovki Company" LLC, "Matigory Northern Pearl" Excursion", "Lensky Forest Tales", "Tourism in Kotlas Region", "Museum Projects in Mezen District", "Light-Tour" Water Tourism, "Air-Courier" Para-Motor Club", "The Country of Vaga", "Tourism in Ustyansky Region", "TechnoPark".

The Fair organizers have also held an opinion survey. Visitors were offered questionnaires to answer the questions designed to assess the tourism potential in Arkhangelsk Region. Visitors have also participated in prize drawing and Arkhangelsk tour lottery offered by the travel companies with membership in NCO "Arkhangelsk Regional Tourist Association".

The Government of Arkhangelsk Region hosted the Round Table: "Enhancing the System of Personnel Training in Tourism and Hospitality". Designed to discuss the Region's current challenges and prospects of tourism- and hospitality-related personnel training, it featured the presentations by representatives of Arkhangelsk executive authorities; scientific community; educational institutions of Arkhangelsk and Barents countries (Finland, Sweden) which train specialists in tourism, namely, Northern (Arctic) Federal University, Institute of Management, Arkhangelsk Pedagogical College, Lapland University for Tourism Research and education, Dalarna University; by specialists and employees of tourist companies in Arkhangelsk Region Tourist and Excursion Company "Pomor-Tour", NCO "Arkhangelsk Regional Tourist Association".

The discussion of the personnel training issues was actively participated by entrepreneurs, tourism businesses and specialists from municipalities. The recommendations developed target the improvement of the system of personnel training in tourism and hospitality for travel companies, educational institutions and administrations of Arkhangelsk municipalities.

The Forum has also hosted youth tourist projects platform training sessions supervised by educators, psychologists and travel company managers with a view to instruct young people willing to implement their tourism-related projects in Arkhangelsk Region.

The Platform was participated by 24 people from 10 municipal entities of Arkhangelsk Region. Project cycle management issues were delivered to 2 sub-groups. The 3 most interesting projects were presented before all Forum participants during the presentation of tourist programmes. The Platform has formed its participants' vision of how to develop tourism-related business projects and what resources are required. The young people managed to assess their projects, ideas and prospects, as well as to cooperate with specialists on their projects' follow-up.

Arkhangelsk has first hosted the extended meeting of BEAC Joint Working Group on Tourism. It focused on joint interaction mechanisms to be developed for tourism purposes in the framework of cross-border cooperation.

Set up in 2010, BEAC Joint Working Group on Tourism consists of representatives of federal- and region-level governmental authorities in charge of tourism development in the Barents Region.

Welcome speeches were delivered at the meeting by Ms. Maiju Hyry, Director of External Relations at Regional Council of Lapland and V.A. Korovkin, Head of International Cooperation Department, Federal Agency for Tourism (RosTourism). 7 key speakers from Arkhangelsk, NAA, Finland and Sweden delivered their presentations.

The main topics for discussion included the analysis of tourism development potential in the North; the necessity in tourist brands of northern territories; possibilities of joint international projects implementation. The meeting participants were also introduced to possibilities of participating in EU-Russia Cross-Border Cooperation Programme "European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument Kolarctic", which, with the support from BEAC Joint Working Group on Tourism, is presently implementing the international project: "Public-Private Partnership in Barents Tourism".

The Working Meeting on "Public-Private Partnership in Barents Tourism" project took place on the second day of Forum. Aimed at the formation of public-private partnership network, this 2-year (2011-2012) project also targets long-term tourism development strategy for Barents Region and support to member-regions in scientific research and development of tourism personnel advanced training programmes.

The working meeting has also discussed the project activities implementation and draft version of BART-2 a project designed to involve into partnership the tourism businesses of Arkhangelsk Region.

The organizers of the Forum have worked to make its programme interesting and diverse. Every day offered Forum participants the excursions around
  • Museum of Northern Seafaring,
  • Arkhangelsk State Museum of Wooden Architecture and Folk Art "Malye Karely" and other cultural attractions of Arkhangelsk,
and the Northern Dvina River cruises on the "N.V. Gogol" steamer, the centenary of whose navigation was officially celebrated on the Sea-River Terminal.

During the Forum, Arkhangelsk hosted the first Pomor Festival of Ethno Food, where visitors could taste best cod, salmon and halibut dishes of Pomor cuisine. The Pomor recipes attracted Polish chefs who came here from the twin city of Slupsk also to host master classes for Arkhangelsk chefs.

The Forum's cultural programme culminated in the VI International Festival "Arkhangelsk BLUES".

The constructive dialogues and negotiations between tourism sector representatives to promote further interaction and unique incoming tourism destinations of the Russian North were an important outcome of the Forum.

Not only has the Forum become the platform to discuss the prospects of tourism development in the north, but it also laid the basis for the joint initiatives and inter-regional projects in the framework of cooperation with Federal Agency for Tourism and UNO World Tourism Organization.

The fruitful negotiations resulted in agreement between Arkhangelsk Region and Federal Agency for Tourism concerning the establishment in Arkhangelsk of the representative office of Federal Agency for Tourism that might be tasked with issues of expanding inter-regional and international tourism relations between North Russia and foreign countries.

Federal Agency for Tourism has confirmed the possibility for tourism potential in Arkhangelsk Region to be promoted in the world market through such international tourism exhibitions as "World Travel Market" (London) and "FITUR-2012" (Madrid) in 2012.