The Second International Tourism Forum "Visit Russia" took place in Yaroslavl on May 24-26, 2012 – it was organized on the initiative of the Government of the Yaroslavl region under the auspices of the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President in the Central Federal District, with support from the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and Youth Policy, the Federal Agency for Tourism, and the Mayor of Yaroslavl.
The Forum brought together over 670 participants from 23 countries. Within the framework of 2 plenary sessions, 3 sectional meetings, and 3 discussion panels the participants discussed the current approaches to creation and promotion of travel brands, development of some types of tourism, which are not very popular among Russian citizens, integrated solutions for cities of the famous "The Golden Ring" route to stimulate interest in traveling through the region, prospects for creation and development of water inter-regional and international routes, cruise, water and yacht tourism in the Central Federal District. Renowned travelers shared their travel experiences through Russia, gave practical advice and ideas on how to make Russian tourist routes more interesting, comfortable and safe.
On May 24 an interregional meeting on tourism was included in the business program of the International Tourism Forum “Visit Russia”; it was organized by the Staff of the Plenipotentiary Representative of the Russian President in the Central Federal District in Yaroslavl and was held in the building of the Government of the Yaroslavl region. During the meeting representatives of regional governments shared their visions for regional tourism development and regional cooperation, presented their experience in forming and promoting tourism products, improvement the quality of tourism services and ensuring a comfortable stay and movement of tourists within the territory of the Russian Federation. As a result of the meeting the participants agreed to work together to promote tourism brands of the CFD, co-ordination in the formation and implementation of tourism development, joint efforts to incorporate the most important projects for the tourism industry of the Central Federal District in the Federal programs for tourism development.
Exhibition of tourism products and services was functioning for two days as a part of the Forum. 12 regions of the Central Federal District presented their expositions: Moscow, Kaluga, Ryazan Region, Tver Region, Ivanovo Region, Orel, Belgorod Region, Kostroma region, Lipetsk region, Smolensk region, Tula region, and Yaroslavl region. Companies with products that may become useful in tourism industry also had a chance to represent themselves, for example the Yaroslavl shipyard company. Traditionally among the projects in the tourism sector stood out the “Golden Ring” and the “Yaroslavl Vzmorie” – the General Partners of the Forum. After the first day of discussions and round tables the Forum participants experienced an interactive day of acquaintance with the Yaroslavl region. The Guests of the Yaroslavl land went to the study tour of Yaroslavl, Uglich and Pereslavl-Zalessky visited the “Rostov enamel” factory and the hotel HELIOPARK “Koprino Bay”.
According to the results of the International Tourism Forum "Visit Russia" the participants adopted the resolution that takes into account suggestions and recommendations from the plenary meetings, sessions and informal discussions of the Forum.
The Organizing and Expert Council of the Forum proposed to amend the resolution by placing it on the website of the Forum (www.visitrussia-yar.ru) so that the program of action aimed at the development of domestic tourism in Russia, was as close as possible to the real problems of tourism industry, reflecting the practical steps and eventually lead to the level of specific decisions and projects.
From the entire spectrum of issues and challenges the Russian tourist industry facing today the Forum participants identified those that, in their opinion, are the “bottleneck” for the tourist market of the CFD and which solution will help to improve the quality of tourist services as soon as possible and, hence, will stimulate rising in the number of domestic and foreign tourists.
Also in according to the participants, the value and the potential of water and yacht tourism is greatly underestimated in the CFD, therefore, the Forum called on the regional and the federal authorities to develop a program of improvement of water transport infrastructure in the nearest future, providing the construction of quay walls, gas stations, mini hotels on the way of travelers.
Special attention in the resolution is paid to inter-regional cooperation and to mechanisms of an adequate assessment of effectiveness of the programs for tourism development at regional level. Thus, the practice of statistical observations does not provide the possibility of determining the contribution of tourism activities in the GRP and its impact on socio-economic development of territories, on forecasting the development of tourist activity. In the CFD regions there is no system of regular monitoring of touristic flows and services demanded by tourists. In this regard, the Forum participants offered the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), taking into account the recommendations of the UN Statistics Division, to develop a standardized methodology for calculation of tourist flows and statistical observations in the field of tourism, as well as to conduct in the Central Federal District a number of workshops based on the best Russian and foreign practices of regular monitoring and statistical observations of touristic activities.
With regard to regional cooperation, joint efforts in all regions of the Central Federal District interested in developing tourism in their territories is a key task that will provide a tangible increase in tourist traffic in the short term. The tourists visiting the central Russia through tours, pilgrimage, health tours, often travel to the same several regions, and they get complete impressions on the basis of the whole trip. Therefore, the regions that conduct high quality policy of hospitality within their own territories by providing high quality accommodation and services are directly interested in the same standards to accompany a tourist in the neighboring regions, so called - areas en route. Also, a joint promotion of tourism features in the Central Federal District will be more effective in domestic and international tourism services markets. Therefore, the final resolution included the establishment of the Expert Council for Tourism Development at the Plenipotentiary Representative of the Russian President in the Central Federal District; the Council would discuss the real goals for the tourism industry in the Central Federal District and the practical steps designed to achieve them.
The International Tourism Forum “Visit Russia” took place in Yaroslavl for the second time; the first Forum was held in October 2011 and was highly appreciated by the delegates and the guests of the Forum, who requested to make this Forum an annual event.