More than 50 experts — representatives of federal protected areas, authorities of various levels, as well as large enterprises of the country — made their proposals for formation of a regulatory framework for ecotourism in the country's natural reserves.
"Ecotourism in protected areas was the most underfunded area of the entire national Ecology project," Dmitry Kobylkin, head of the State Duma Committee on Ecology, admitted opening the round table. — And it was not regulated by law. Now we want to compensate for the underfunding through competent use of the regulatory framework, which we together must now discuss and figure out."
According to Elena Panova, the large amount of by-laws must be created. They should determine the methodology for calculating permissible recreational load, regulate who should coordinate the development plan of protected areas with whom, who should hold a competition for the right to conclude an agreement on the recreational activities implementation, determine the rights and obligations of subjects, prescribe the roles of the local population and science, and much more.
In turn, representatives of nature reserves and national parks spoke about their experience that can be useful in the regulatory framework formation.
First of all, experts in the environmental industry expressed the belief that each territory is unique, and legislation should leave it possible to take this into account. And it's not just the difference in the protection regimes between nature reserves and national parks. One protected area is located in the mountains, the other in the steppe; one is adjacent to a large city, the other is located in a remote, deserted area. All this and much more must be taken into account when developing tourism. Also, representatives of protected areas focused on the need to find the optimal method by which they will determine the recreational load for protected areas, and the ability to reduce the load during periods when nature and its inhabitants are more vulnerable.
Anastacia Mirsanova, a leading specialist of the Environmental Education Department, presented the experience of the Kronotsky Nature Reserve to the participants of the round table. Like other experts, she stressed that properly organized eco-tourism is inextricably linked with systematic hard work with the local population. "Once upon a time, our colleagues heard an iconic phrase from local residents: from where tourists appear, poachers leave. This is confirmed by the long-term experience of the Kronotsky Nature Reserve and the South Kamchatka Nature Reserve. Instead of illegal fishing, the reserve engages local residents in tourism activities, helps to learn green business, and conducts environmental education. It also stimulates tourism within the region, helping residents of Kamchatka to see its natural pearls, love and protect them," said Anastacia.
According to her, sustainable and careful tourism contributes to the social development of the region and provides a multiplication effect for economic development.
According to the organizers, all proposals made at the round table will be structured by experts of the COMPASS Foundation and submitted to the State Duma Committee on Ecology.