Plans for Tomorrow
How to make the Arctic comfortable for both northerners and tourists26 may 2022
26.05.2022 // From 22 to 25 May, Yakutsk hosted the Arctic: Territory of Development Conference on Ensuring a Comfortable Urban Environment. Its participants discussed the Arctic Hectare programme, the development of tourism at high latitudes, and what cities in the Arctic zone of Russia should look like.
The conference was attended by representatives of Arctic ministries and departments, large businesses, heads of northern regions and leading experts. During the Arctic Hectare as an Opportunity for Self-Realisation session, they discussed the programme's first results and studied the most successful cases in the Russian Arctic zone.
Everyone noted that there was a high demand for Arctic hectares intended for the construction of personal housing. The reason is that in the Arctic, free hectares of land under the programme are available both in settlements and in their immediate vicinity. And if the government takes additional support measures, the demand will be even higher.
"The principles of the Far Eastern Mortgage should be extended to the construction of individual housing on Arctic hectares. This means that programme participants in the Arctic should be able to take out a mortgage loan of up to RUB 6 mn for up to 20 years at 2% per annum," says Dmitry Yurkov, representative of the governor of the Arkhangelsk region for Arctic development.
Vyacheslav Loginov, first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, has talked about possible changes to the law on the free hectare. The 'hectare amnesty' will increase the period during which people can apply for registering property rights for the plot. And if applicants cannot use their plots as permitted, they will be able to return them and receive new ones.
Another topic of discussion at the conference was the need for integrated development of Arctic cities.
"The development of territories and the creation of a quality urban environment can't be limited to spatial planning and landscaping. It is a set of measures employing a wide range of tools and directly or indirectly affecting different sectors and areas of life," said the Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic Aleksey Chekunov.
According to Dmitry Yurkov, a representative of the governor of the Arkhangelsk region for Arctic development, some of the most promising areas for the development of Russia's northern territories include industrial and ecotourism, as well as hunting and fishing tourism.
"Arctic ecotourism is quickly gaining popularity all over the world. According to expert estimates, more than 1.8 mn tourists visited the Russian Arctic zone in 2021, which is a 40% increase over 2020", says Maria Badmatsyrenova, the head of the tourism project office of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Foreign tourists accounted for only 5% of this number. Domestic demand is growing rapidly and is generating supply.
Investor representatives talked about plans to build hotels, as well as create new tourist and recreation clusters and routes in the Arctic. All of these projects require infrastructure, so major emphasis will need to be placed on renovating roads and developing air transportation services.
Ivan Pechorin, managing director of the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation, noted that were no alternatives to air transport in the Arctic and said that a draft decree on the co-financing of local airline flights between regions of the Far East and the Arctic from the federal budget had already been developed.
"The document is currently being considered by the Russian government. We deem it very important for Yakutia, Chukotka, and other Arctic territories to speed up that process as much as possible to make tickets affordable for the population," Pechorin said.
Improving the quality of life is one of the top priorities of the Russian government's Arctic policy. The conference Arctic: Territory of Development has proven that these are not just words, but specific plans that will be put into effect in the very near future.Read more Comfortable conditions for businesses and residents: what expect in Arctic in 2021 Despite the difficult epidemiological situation, the Arctic agenda was actively discussed at a number of venues throughout 2020.