Russia has significant potential for domestic tourism development

The expert discussion on Hospitality Industry: Potential and Development Prospects was held on January 15, the first day of the 11th Gaidar Forum at the Russian Presidential Academy.

The reason for raising this issue was the new Government Strategy for the Development of Tourism in the Russian Federation until 2035 adopted in September 2019. The discussion was moderated by Natalya Tretyak, First Vice President at GPB Bank.

The fast development of domestic tourism has been enabled by new projects aimed at promoting tourism and preserving the authenticity of the Russian countryside. Chairman of the Russian Youth Union Pavel Krasnorutsky noted during the discussion that “the goal is to develop tourism within our country. We need to create motivation for young people to travel.”

“Russia must become a world leader in tourism development, as it has enormous potential,” traveler and TV host John Warren added.

Pavel Titov, President of Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia) association, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Abrau-Durso winery, spoke about the factors that are holding domestic tourism from a major breakthrough: “The most important challenge for Russian tourism is being competitive – something that is still in an embryonic stage, despite the industry’s high potential.”

The experts considered the prospects of the hospitality industry in Russia, tools for developing the tourism potential for the new generation of Russians, and also discussed success stories in global and Russian practice of introducing regional tourism products and methods for implementing projects.

“It is essential to realize that people themselves have to do something to promote their region. The most important question in tourism is why go somewhere. What drivers do I have to go there? For many regions, it is a key factor,” said Andrei Suleikov, CEO of

Sergei Korneyev, Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism, said: “We want young people to travel around our country and get to know it. We also understand that they are the category of tourists who, having felt the taste and interest, will be shaping the domestic tourism market for many years.”

According to the leading tour operators, ready-made tourist products are mostly purchased by people aged 35 or older. Young people aged 18-35 prefer planning their travelling routes independently, without using the services of travel agencies, and this is what became the starting point for a new Russian Railways project. Oleg Kaverin, General Director of RZD Tour, spoke about the project and shared his observations: “In recent years, travelling by boats between the regions has emerged as a very interesting area for development. Revisiting Russia’s rivers, to our surprise, enjoys an increasing demand among tourists.”

During the discussion, the experts underscored the importance of improving the catering infrastructure in the regions to popularize tourism in Russia. Igor Bukharov, President of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia, Dean of the Department for Hospitality Industry at RANEPA, said: “The biggest problem is that we don’t understand what kind of people we need in the industry. At the moment, it is essential to modernize the training system for catering staff. We need to offer programs to train employees for the restaurant business. Currently, the industry has to take care of training its own staff for the most part.”

The experts noted the importance of preserving Russia’s natural and cultural heritage for the development of tourism. Deputy Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region Yelena Kutukova said: “The most important thing is attention to the cultural heritage sites.”

Summing up the discussion, its participants agreed that Russia has high potential for the development of tourism, but we need to develop and implement promising and successful projects that would contribute to the popularization and development of in-country tourism.

Anna Dityakina

The 11th Gaidar Forum, Russia and the World: Challenges of the New Decade, held at the Presidential Academy on January 15 and 16, 2020, focuses on discussing national and global development goals and finding practical answers to the most pressing challenges of our time. The forum is attended by Cabinet ministers of the Russian Federation, members of the Federal Assembly, governors of Russian regions, major international experts, and representatives of foreign states.

11th Gaidar Forum Organizers:

The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA);
The Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute);
The Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

Forum partners:

General partners: Gazprom, Gazprombank. Strategic partners: Coca-Cola, Mastercard, Russian Railways, Pharmstandard group, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Novartis Group, MSD, ACIG Group, EF Education First. Partners: Prosveshcheniye Group, EY, Huawei, RVC, Russian Agricultural Bank.

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