This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of the publication is the sole responsibility of City of Lieksa and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.
The "Plan of Nature Tourism Development in the Muezersky District" is one of the sections of the project "Nature tourism as a tool for developing Muezersky District and enhancing nature protection". The sources were district and regional statistics, and data from a sociological survey of villages Muezersky, Reboly and Lendery.
Analysis of the current social and economic situation in the Muezersky district (socio-demographic structure, settlement pattern, employment structure, production and social infrastructures, socio-economic standing of local people, their social preferences, orientations and visions of the district development potential) has demonstrated that, being in a strenuous socio-economic situation, the district is in need of new economic strategies. One of such strategies is tourism development. Its unique nature makes the district attractive to tourists. Regrettably however, there is neither the requisite infrastructure, nor the economic actors in the tourism sphere. One can speak of a very limited range of potential consumers of the Muezersky District tourist product. On the other hand, analysis of the tourism potential of the district has revealed pre-requisites for the development of nature tourism in its territory. The evidence is the availability of an active socio-cultural environment, which acts as the centre of social initiatives for local people, and may, given favourable circumstances, become an important agent for institutional capacity building in tourism. Existing twinning arrangements have served as the basis for the development of rural tourism, in which local people are actively involved. Small business of the district is willing to develop the tourist sphere with support from the local community. The authorities are hoping that tourism will revive the economy and improve the social situation in the district. Involvement of the district active socio-cultural environment, turning it into a moving force of nature tourism formation and development can become an innovative mechanism of self-organisation and self-development of the Muezersky district local community.
Since there exists an active cultural environment in the district, its development strategy was built in the context of the "cultural district" concept, where nature tourism development is related to the establishment of a comprehensive nature tourism culture in the local community. This concept, coupled with the sustainable development concept, underlies the "Plan of Nature Tourism Development in the Muezersky District". The plan itself is a set of projects differing in the functional contents: focusing on institutional, awareness, promotion and investment aspects.
Support from and organisational activities of the local authorities, regional institutions, scientific community, international organisations assisting the development of tourism and small business would be essential at the initial phase. The initial capacities for the development of the tourism culture are to be created by training local people in the major types of tourist activities. Enhancement of tourist activities and development of related sectors will proceed gradually, as local entrepreneurs and staff are trained, the infrastructure is developed, information is disseminated and the district image of a tourism zone is strengthened. The development of nature tourism in the Muezersky District should appear as a sustainable evolutionary process, commencing with relatively low numbers of tourists, people involved and, hence, low costs.
Development of the socio-cultural environment will expand the spheres involved in the tourist and adjacent businesses. Alongside with nature tourism, other promising kinds of tourism (ethnographic, rural, learning, adventure, sport, water, business), as well as related sectors (transport, communications, services etc.) will start developing. With this approach, tourism development activities can start before large investments are made, the available natural and social potential of the local community can be optimally combined to create a synergistic effect.
The report was produced by T. Morozova (supervisor), G. Kozyreva, M. Sukharev, S. Gurova. Information was gathered also by R. Belaya, L. Kulakova, M. Dyakonova.