President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, good afternoon.
The topic of our meeting today is the development of the national tourism industry in current conditions.
First of all, of course, we have to think about our people’s interests – we should always think about them and be guided by them. We must do everything necessary to ensure that people with different incomes have access to the broadest opportunities for travel and improving their health so that they can enjoy themselves and improve the quality of their lives; so that our people can visit traditional health resorts, relax by the sea, get to know our capital cities, of course, including Moscow and St Petersburg, and other cultural and historical centres of Russia, with the unique nature of our vast country, including, of course, the nature of the Far East and the Russian North.
The active development of domestic tourism, especially in the current difficult conditions, is now one of the priorities, if not the top priority. Russia has colossal potential here, and each region has its own unique benefits. Therefore, the emphasis should be placed not only on well-known, traditional tourist centres, but also on helping the Russian regions that are still developing and promoting the tourism industry.
It is known that this industry promotes economic growth and adds to the budgets of regions and towns with a rich history, as well as the budgets of rural areas. It has an enormous multiplier effect. For example, according to estimates, tourism directly influences the development of more than 50 other related industries, creates jobs and good prospects for small and medium-sized businesses.
This meeting is taking place in the Far Eastern Federal District, where many new tourist routes have opened in recent years. The tourist flow in the Kamchatka Territory (I spoke about this with the Governor yesterday), as well as on Sakhalin and in Buryatia, is on the rise. The demand for cruises in this macro-region is high as usual.
The experience of the Far Eastern Federal District, as well as other successful Russian regions, must be used when developing solutions for advancing the tourism industry.
The main goals here include developing high-quality, modern and affordable tourism products and services, creating high demand for them, and removing administrative barriers that stand in the way of the industry, as well as expanding tourism infrastructure and logistics, creating a proper environment for bringing in investment, and training staff for the domestic and inbound tourism industry.
The Tourism and Hospitality Industry national project is designed to fulfill these major goals, which are to more than double travel across Russia by 2030; build 50 percent more hotel rooms with modern infrastructure; and almost double the number of jobs in this industry.
I will briefly discuss a number of projects that need decisions to be taken at the federal level before they can move forward.
We know that our people love beach holidays, which is understandable, so we need to make better use of the ample opportunities offered by the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Baltic Sea, as well as the Far East’s Primorye Territory, and work through the plans to build major year-round federal resorts with modern and comfortable infrastructure, including swimming pools, that are capable of accommodating up to 10 million guests every year.
It is likewise important to press on with developing tourist and recreational sites in the North Caucasus and to rebuild the Kayakent resort area off the Caspian Sea as a modern holiday spot. It used to be one of the best health resorts in the Soviet Union. Its thermal springs and therapeutic mud are unique, and we can use this natural spot to build a resort that is in no way inferior to the most popular international resorts.
Apart from these major projects, we need to focus on restoring national, regional and local tourism facilities and trails. We need to address this matter comprehensively, and we have to provide these walking routes with the necessary infrastructure, including leisure areas, equipment rental and hospitality centres. I would like to note that this is the most affordable and popular tourism alternative, and we will have to improve about 1,000 trails.
Improving Russia’s tourism status internationally is another key aspect. As you know, our country has left the World Tourism Organisation, a justified move. At the same time, we are convinced that tourism should remain outside politics, and we realise that it plays a strong role in establishing partnerships and mutual understanding between countries and nations.
In this connection, I am asking the Government to study the issue of establishing interstate tourism associations. We have enough partners, and many of them want to work with Russia.
Colleagues, we have many items to discuss today. The other day, you reviewed them in great detail at the traditional seminar ahead of the State Council Presidium meeting, and I know that you found ways to resolve many problems. Today, I would like to ask you to discuss measures for supporting import substitution projects for tourism equipment manufacturing in great detail. The same concerns the transport sector, including buses, boats, all-terrain vehicles and cableways.
Representatives of the sector’s businesses suggest a number of tax incentives for the tourism industry.
Let us discuss all this. We basically began this discussion yesterday: we spoke with the Governor of Kamchatka, and we just talked with the Governor of the Primorye Territory for two and a half hours on our way back from the military exercise area. We had to take a car because the helicopters were grounded. Therefore, everyone, including me, now knows about this subject. Let us get started.