"Eco-efficient tourism" proves eco-friendly technologies to be profitable

3 june 2013

A training seminar "Eco-efficient technologies in tourism" was held in Sortavala  on May, 30. The participants of the Seminar were presented the experience and best Russian and foreign practices of establishment and development of tourism stopovers along popular tourist routes. The first Seminar on this topic was held in Pryazha in April.

The target group of the Seminar included specialists of District and Settlement Administrations, local entrepreneurs, experts and community leaders developing tourist services in the District, as well as students of Sortavala college who will implement eco-efficient technologies in practice in the near future.



Rich and diverse programme was offered to the guests of the Seminar. The Head of Sortavala District Leonid Gulevich gave an opening speech and highlighted the importance of cooperation between local government and international expert community in the development of tourist infrastructure.

Local experts and entrepreneurs familiarized the guests of the Seminar with the process of implementation of eco-efficiency concept in Sortavala District today. The Director of "Kolmas Karelia" Alexander Artemiev shared his experience of establishing a successful tourist business and development of marble canyon Ruskeala with young specialists.

The topic of eco-efficient development of guided tours (mainly, cave ones) was continued by Anton Yushko - the representative of Leningrad brunch of Russian Geographical Society. He is a specialist who has already been doing the research of this unique object, which is attracting more and more tourists every year, for a very long time.  He underlined that in spite of significant success in cave research, Russia is still far behind the developed countries in applied speleology: for example, in protection and use of caves. But we all know that every high-quality and well-equipped underground object becomes a major tourist attraction. Consequently, every modern cave museum can become a great start in territory branding. And this is the way that could be a main one for Sortavala District.

The representative of Sortavala history museum Igor Borisov presented the idea of Northern Priladozhje tourist potential development on basis of unique geological features and industrial objects. He also drew special attention of participants on the importance of increase of trust to the authorities which is an inherent part of sustainable development of territories.

This idea was also supported by the Finnish experts who presented their experience in increasing eco-efficiency in tourism. The specific feature of Finnish practice is that the state plays a major role and develops the infrastructure, and the entrepreneurs provide for services. The representatives of Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for North Karelia Timo Hokkanen and Daisy Silvennoinen as well as the manager from Finnish Environment Institute Suvi Karmeniemi devoted their reports to such important topics as motivation of business to use eco-friendly and energy efficient technologies and the ways of attraction of investments for nature tourism development.

The final part of the Seminar included the report by experts of Institute of Economic Studies of KarRC RAS - Yekaterina Biktimirova, Artem Shishkin and Yevgeny Zhirnel - who presented practical recommendations on the rational use of recreational potential of territories and wise approach to establishment and marketing of business and services in tourism.


To sum up, the keynote of all presentations and vivid discussions was an idea that the introduction of eco-efficient technologies is inevitable despite of all challenges and limitations that exist in Russia. Ultimately, every ruble spent on increase in eco-efficiency leads enormous benefits through the decrease of costs and increase in profit. The foreign experience demonstrates that eco-efficiency can become a part of a brand that is sold to tourists successfully. However we should remember that tourists pay for a beautiful view from the window of his cottage, but not for the energy efficient heat pump installed there. This is why it's extremely important to find a balance between the introduction of eco-friendly technologies and natural beauty of leisure areas.

Photos: A. Yusko