13 Mar Speaking about sustainable tourism in Russia at ITB Berlin 2014!
ExploRussia had a great pleasure, and honour, to deliver a presentation “Sustainable Tourism in Russia. Leading the way, regardless of challenges” during the 9th Pow-Wow for Tourism Professionals at ITB in Berlin, Germany, the world’s leading travel trade show. We spoke about the approach a tour operator has to take in order to overcome the challenges most of the Russian entrepreneurs face when trying to greener their business.
Russia is not a first choice tourist destination, neither is it perceived as a sustainable one. ExploRussia, being one of the very few travel companies in Russia caring about sustainability issues, aims to improve the image of the country among travelers, at the same time making a positive impact on the country’s development.
The presentation discussed how sustainable tourism can help to improve a country’s image and how proper communication with local stakeholders empowers local communities and encourages responsible behavior.
In the beginning, the presentation explored challenges usually faced by incoming tour operators in Russia, including unfair cultural stereotypes of Russia among tourists, unfavorable environment for doing business, as well as a lack of civil responsibility in the country.
In the second part, we talked about solutions, based on ExploRussia’s own experiences, on how these challenges can be overcome. A lot of focus was put on the communication with potential and actual travelers, and the activities, which help in changing average tourists into true ambassadors of Russia in their home countries.
Secondly, ExploRussia shared, what can be done to influence stakeholders’ attitudes towards sustainability and how to encourage responsible behaviors in the local communities.
Without unnecessary modesty we can fairly say that the presentation was a success:). Talking about sustainable tourism in Russia in the middle of political crisis in Ukraine was shocking for some, brave and refreshing for the others. Judging by the number of questions we received and people who approached us after the presentation, we can be sure that we influenced people’s perception of our country. Not only did we share our sustainability practices, but most importantly – we showed that Russia is a great country, full of positiveness, hope and truly green future!