The future of the cruise development in the Altai region

  • access_time27 August, 2019

At the beginning of August, the group of journalists has performed the 4 days expedition along the Ob river in the Altai region to explore its potential for cruise tourism. have had a specific task to know if a cruise tourism can become a stable format of traveling in Altai. The participants have visited the touristic places, get familiar with the plans of transportation system development in the area, tried local dishes and have been pleased with their journey.

Why is it interesting to travel by the river?

"It is nice here, but we do not have sea" — you can frequently hear this phrase in conversations regarding the tourism potential of the region. During the expedition, participants ensured that river can be competitive to the sea — it is the world of its own with its colors, laws, and strong people, who spend almost all their lives on the boats, and some pass the duties from generation to generation.

"The river makes you calm" — say, river people — "The boat goes and you understand that it cannot go faster. And you come in terms with it. And later you realize that in the city you also do not need to rush anymore."

When you move along Ob River for three days, you start to feel that it nourishes life and communicate people. Along the shores are spread towns and villages with unordinary history, in the river streams, boats hover in place with fishermen — they fish spike, sander, and carp.

Ashore you can also find many interesting things. When the weather is nice you can swim, walk in the forest, during the rain, you can stop by the village with a hospitable local people; eat local fresh food, and enjoy herbal tea.

The main constrains that prevent the development of cruise tourism in the Altai region are the lack of cruise ships, high costs for renovation of the existing ships, low return on investment. Currently, only one ship operates along the Ob River, with full capacity reserved for the foreign guests. Local people own smaller pleasure boats, not suitable for long cruises.

For the expedition has been reserved the ship Calypso. Calypso is the reconstructed pleasure boat Moskvich 544. It has been built in the 1960s. Earlier it has been used to transfer people to the island Pomazkin; now it is a privately-owned ship. The ship has only 4 cabins for the personnel. During the night time passengers have been staying in the local villages ashore.

By the end of the expedition, participants have met the mayor Victor Tomenko. He has replied to several questions regarding the prospects of the cruise development in the region and the way government can support it. Currently, government has no intention to be engaged in entrepreneurship; the industry requires the private sector initiative, which is not yet available.

Photo by @sergeiwing