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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

The government has prepared a draft federal law “On Amendments to the Federal Law” On the Basics of Tourist Activity in the Russian Federation “and the Federal Law” On Specially Protected Natural Areas “in order to organize activities for the implementation of ecological tourism in specially protected natural areas.” The bill establishes the concept of ecological tourism, said Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko.

According to the proposed changes, the law on tourism establishes the concept of “ecological tourism” as tourism aimed at acquaintance with the natural, cultural and ethnographic features of the area, contributing to the preservation of the integrity of ecosystems and the growth of the socio-economic well-being of the local population. The law proposes to stipulate that the relations associated with the implementation of activities in the field of ecological tourism in specially protected natural areas (PAs) are regulated taking into account the peculiarities of their regime established by law.

“In fact, ecological tourism is being introduced into the legal framework, and a legislative basis is being created to regulate such activities in specially protected natural areas. But the main task is to create a balance in which we can combine the conservation of wildlife and the development of protected areas, ”said Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko. She noted that this significantly expands the opportunities for the development of ecological tourism, including in protected areas (national and natural parks), but with the obligatory condition of preserving their valuable biological and landscape diversity, compliance with all environmental norms and standards.

For this purpose, the law on protected areas is proposed to be supplemented with a new article “Ecological tourism in protected areas”, which defines six main criteria for ecological tourism. In particular, it should be aimed at the formation of an ecological culture, fostering a respectful attitude towards nature, involving tourists in volunteer activities for the preservation, restoration, rational use of natural resources, as well as the study of local features of traditional culture and natural environment. At the same time, it is not allowed to use infrastructure, transport and equipment that cause harm to the environment, damage to natural complexes and protected areas. In addition, the maximum allowable value of the recreational load on the protected areas, which will be established by federal state budgetary institutions that manage the protected areas, should not be exceeded. An integral part of ecological tourism is the channeling of income from it to the development and support of the necessary infrastructure and the involvement of local residents in economic and social activities to protect the environment.

Distinctive features of ecological tourism within the boundaries of protected areas is an individual approach, which implies compliance with the restrictions on economic activities established for these territories, including those contained in the planned draft law for the development of rules for organizing ecological tourism, maximum permissible recreational loads.

Victoria Abramchenko noted that the rules for organizing ecological tourism in protected areas, a list of capital and non-capital construction projects and related infrastructure facilities for ecological tourism, as well as the conditions for their placement, will be approved by the Government, the regional executive authority or local self-government body, depending on the value of the protected areas ( federal, state, or local).

The development of uniform rules for the organization of ecological tourism, the definition of a list of infrastructure facilities for ecological tourism and the requirements for their placement in relation to protected areas of all levels, will make it possible to lay a common basis for legal regulation and understanding of the essence and content of ecological tourism in natural areas. It is necessary to determine the specific types and types of buildings that can be erected, their characteristics and requirements for their placement on the ground. At the same time, there should be no possibility of building capital construction projects on the territory of state natural reserves.

The law also stipulates the requirement for the creation of a Unified Register of Tourist Resources of Protected Areas of Federal Significance, which will be maintained by the Ministry of Natural Resources. It will reflect the list of ecological tourism infrastructure facilities, as well as available tourist resources used to organize ecological tourism.

“The creation of such a register will serve as a tool for promoting such objects among the population, attracting investments and increasing the tourist flow. According to the latest data, the total number of visitors to federal protected areas exceeded 8 million people, including over 6 million visitors were received by the national parks of Russia, ”the Deputy Prime Minister commented.

Victoria Abramchenko emphasized that given the fact that the Russian Federation has a wide network of protected areas, which arouse the genuine interest of our citizens and tourists from various countries of the world with their unique flora and fauna, natural monuments, the development of ecological tourism has enormous and at the same time underestimated potential.

According to her, today the national system of PAs includes about 12 thousand such territories, some of which are UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites. Their total area, taking into account the sea area, is more than 240 million hectares, which is about 13% of the area of ​​the entire country. 350 visitor centers, about 100 nature museums with expositions about wildlife and historical and cultural heritage of the territories are available to visitors at various PAs. There are more than 40 thousand km of ecological paths and routes.

“But at the same time, the share of the number of visitors to protected areas reaches only 10% of the total tourist flow in the regions of the country,” stated Victoria Abramchenko. She noted that the changes proposed by the bill, along with the activities of the federal project “Conservation of biological diversity and development of ecological tourism” of the national project “Ecology”, will allow to fully unleash this potential, improve the quality and attractiveness of the tourist infrastructure of recreational services provided using the existing PAs. , increase the added value of the regional tourism product and attract investment in the development of the protected areas themselves.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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