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Tourism Industry Development in Far East Discussed at Eastern Economic Forum 2019 Regional Session in Vladivostok

27 May 2019
Развитие туристической отрасли Дальнего Востока обсудили на выездной сессии ВЭФ-2019 во Владивостоке

A regional session of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum was held in Vladivostok as part of the Fifth Pacific Tourist Forum. The event was attended by Zarina Doguzova, Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism, Oleg Kozhemyako, Governor of Primorye Territory, and Oh Keo-don, Mayor of Busan (Republic of Korea), as well as representatives of the tourism sector, airlines and the Roscongress Foundation. The discussions focused on the concept of ‘Five million passengers in five years in Vladivostok: what does this mean for business development, MICE events and tourism in the Far East’.

Zarina Doguzova spoke of the increased popularity of the Far East as a tourist destination, and improvements in the implementation of e-visa systems for foreign tourists. Foreign citizens can now obtain e-visas enabling them to visit six regions of the Far East: Amur Region, Kamchatka Territory, Primorye Territory, Sakhalin Region, Khabarovsk Territory and Chukotka Autonomous Area. From 1 June, the system will operate in the Republic of Buryatia and Trans-Baikal Territory.

«We will provide assistance in the liberalisation of the visa regime. Our target is to ensure that the electronic visa system will work faster throughout the country. We also have plans to combine our efforts to promote the Far Eastern regions. There is absolutely no information about Russia or Vladivostok in Tokyo and the Japanese market is an absolute priority for us,» said the Head of Rostourism.

Oleg Kozhemyako stressed that in order to develop the tourism potential of the Far Eastern Territory, the list of countries whose citizens can enter on electronic visas needs to be expanded, and the validity of the simplified visa regime also needs to be extended up to 14 days. In his opinion, this will allow tourists to plan trips that would involve several regions of the Far East. The Governor of Primorye Territory also noted an increase in the volume of air traffic in the region.

«We’re interested in the stable growth of air traffic and bringing new airlines to Primorye. Based on data from the end of last year, international air traffic was in excess of 1 million passengers, with an added growth of 37% in the first 4 months of 2019. By 2024, this figure should reach 5 million,» said the Governor of Primorye Territory.

Oh Keo-don spoke about the growing interest of Korean tourists in the Russian Far East. Based on data from the end of 2018, more than 220 thousand people from the Republic of Korea visited Primorye. He believes that this figure could grow to 300 thousand by the end of 2019. In addition, the mayor of Busan underlined the need for further cooperation.

«As part of the Korean delegation, the Busan delegation intends to participate in the work of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum,» Oh Keo-don stressed.

Maxim Yakovenko, Deputy CEO for the Eastern Directorate of the Roscongress Foundation, spoke of the role of business events, in particular, the Eastern Economic Forum in developing the tourist potential of the Far East.

«The annual Eastern Economic Forum has had the effect of raising the quality of the hospitality industry in Vladivostok. In preparing for the Eastern Economic Forum, the Roscongress Foundation has been working with each hotel and recommended restaurants in the city, in order to improve the quality of service provided to guests. Last year, a lot was done to train service-sector staff for the Forum. We consider this a huge benefit for Primorye, since 1,100 people acquired work experience at the most important event of the year in the region. We would also like to mention that there has been a significant improvement in the level of service provided in Vladivostok in recent years,» added Maxim Yakovenko.

The discussions of the tourist potential of the Far East will continue as part of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum to be held between 4–6 September in Vladivostok.