Cruising in Arctic climes on cars as Russia looks to lure the adventurous yachter
The Russian government is to accelerate the development of yachting in the Northern seas of the country from 2020-2021, according to recent statements by senior state officials responsible for the development of yachting in the country. The plan is to attract the more adventurous yachter to the Russian Arctic region, tapping into the growing trend for more exotic crusing grounds, and to develop the regional yachting infrastructure. Particular attention is to be paid to the development of sailing and yachting routes in such northern regions of Russia as the Murmansk region, the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, and other Arctic regions of the country.
That will be also part of the recently approved state project “Big Arctic Regatta”. As part of these plans, the regatta will be conducted in 2020 and pass along the Murmansk – Naryan-Mar – Murmansk route. At the same time another option may involve organizing of the route along the Northern Sea Route up to the Bering Strait.
Most of the funds for the implementation of these plans are expected to be allocated from the Russian federal budget, while some will be provided by private investors and as well as loans from local banks.
This is already the second major attempt of the Russian government to start the development of yachting in the region. In April the Ministry of Economic Development instructed the Russian Federal Agency of Tourism (Rostourism) to prepare a draft program for the development of yachting tourism in the Arctic zone of Russia. The program should include proposals for the development of port infrastructure in the region. It must also create conditions for the design of new routes and programs for the leisure activities of yachting tourists, and the overall promotion of Arctic tourism in the international arena.
According to state assessments, there are about 30 seaports in the Russian Arctic zone, which can potentially deal with yachting tourists.
In addition to the lack of infrastructure, so far, the development of yachting tourism in the region has been prevented by the restrictive Russian legislation in this field, which allows foreign tourist vessels to sail Russia’s internal sea waters only between a very limited list of seaports.
However, the recently designed draft bill will significantly expand the number seaports, including those in the Russian Arctic, that will be allowed to deal with foreign tourists and yachtsmen.
According to the Russian government, the Arctic territories is still an exotic destination for foreign yachtsmen, although the demand for their visiting from tourists has significantly increased in recent years and currently continues to grow.