05.04.2021 17:38

The Organization of Ecological Tourism in Karelia. Часть 1

The Organization of Ecological Tourism in Karelia. Часть 1

Ecotourism is the practice of travelling to beautiful natural places for pleasure in a way that does not damage the environment there.The number of tourists who visit natural, cultural and historical objects amplifies every year. Ecotourism is considered the fastest growing market in the tourism industry, according to the World Tourism Organization with an annual growth rate of 5% worldwide and representing 6% of the world gross domestic product and11.4% of all consumer spending.

Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial tourism. Its purpose is to educate the traveler, to provide funds for ecological conservation, to directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, or to foster respect for different cultures and for human rights.

There are three main components of ecotourism:
1) "the study of the nature", i.e. travel with elements of studying of the nature, when tourists can get new skills and knowledge;
2) "preservation of ecosystems" means not only the corresponding behaviour of group on a route, but also participation of tourists, tour operators in programs, actions for environment protection;
3) "the respect of interests of locals" assumes not only observance of local laws and customs, but also a tourism contribution to socially economic development of tourist destination.

If one of the components is missing there are no bases to speak about ecotourism. [3]

Karelia provides large opportunities for the development of ecotourism. There are some key ecological features that make Karelia attractive to tourists. The first is the region’s nature: its lakes and rivers. In the republic there are more than 60000 lakes. By their quantity on the territory of 1,000 sq.m., Karelia takes the first place not only among the regions of Russia, but also in the whole world. Moreover, there are 27 000 rivers, a lot of them are floatable. The second key factor is the forests that occupy more than a half of the territory of the republic. Almost a million hectares or more than 5 per cent of the total area of Karelia consists of specially protected natural territories: national parks, reserves and nature monuments.The diversity of landscapes, flora and fauna in Karelia is enormous.The density of population is relatively low that is why a lot of places remain intact and it is an important factorfor the development of ecological tourism. There are more than 4 thousand registered historical, cultural and nature objects on the territory. So, Kareliaoffers a perfect opportunity to develop different types of tourism: fishing, rafting, safari, hunting, etc.

In general, ecological tourism is subdivided into several types, as follows Picture 1. Types of ecological tourism Let’s look at some examples that show how these types of ecotourism are represented in Karelia. About 90 tourist agencies and companies of Karelia offer numerous tours (the list of travel agencies is on the site of the information centre of Karelia http://www. ticrk.ru/en/companies ), moreover, a lot of people travel independently.

Informativetours. Karelia is famous for its architectural features. Numerous wooden churches, monuments and well preserved traditional villages are great example of the historical landscape area. Karelian villages Kinerma, Sholtozero and Rubcheila give an opportunity to experience a real country life. (http://kizhanka.onego.ru/). During a 1-day tour to the centre of Karelian culture located 50 km from Petrozavodsk and called Elama tourists will be acquainted with Karelian treasures – traditions, people, and crafts. They can also try one of the crafts and make an unusual Karelian souvenir. (http://go- karelia.com/rural-karelia/karelian-crafts/)
Adventurestours. Tour agencies offer a variety of hiking, water rafting (httD://www.tur-v-karelii.ru/leto), mountaineering , skiing, jeep riding, snowmobiling,husky sledding and trekking tours etc . (httD://www.adrenalinetour.ru/tours- russia/region/Karelia/Dagel.html ). Tourists can visit 78 functional churches, cathedrals and monasteries which are situated in Karelia, the most popular are the Cathedral of St. Aleksandr Nevsky in Petrozavodsk, Ilyinsky pogost, Kizhsky pogost (Kizhi), Vazhiozersky Monastery, Valaam and Solovetsky Monasteries. One of the oldest monasteries is Iono-Yashezesky Male Monastery.
Scientifictours. Tourists can visit the Solovetsky Monastery, one of the most northern Botanical Gardens in the world, see the labyrinths of the Stone Age and the highest point of the island. They can explore the beauty of the White Sea on a journey, including white whale and birds watching, local Karelian villages located on the shores of the White Sea far from civilization, and boat trips to the uninhabited rocky islands to experience the wildlife of the White Sea. (http://go-karelia.com/category/tours-karelia/)
Day off trips. Tour companies offer numerous visits to Kivach reserve, Kalevalsky national park, Kostomukshskiy reserve, Paanajarvi national park, Tolvojarvy landscape reserve, Valaamsky arhipelago nature park, Vodlozersky national park(http://paanajarvi-park.com/peshij-marshrut- astervayarvskaya-prirodnaya-tropa)
Agrotourism. Tourists will be able to live in a rural house, to do household chores, to master traditional crafts. A good example of this kind of tourism is a visit to the village of Kinerma. (http://old.rk.karelia.ru/blog/nadezhda- kinermyi)

В. Г. Шмат
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The Organization of Ecological Tourism in Karelia. Часть 1

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