Yevgeniya Svatukhina on Vesti.FM on difficulties in development of ethnographic and ethnic tourism

The topic of interaction between the components of the tourism and national relations system implies, among other things, consideration of such tourist destinations as ethnographic and ethnic tourism, the analyst of Vestnik Kavkaza,  Yevgeniya Svatukhina told in the National Question program on Vesti FM, speaking about the main problems in the implementation of the ethnographic and ethnic tourism.

Ethnographic tourism is a type of museum and cultural tourism. Ethnic tourism means acquaintance of tourists with life and traditions of one or another ethnos, with penetration into the living fabric of culture”, she said.

As one of the most important problems in the development of ethnographic tourism, the expert noted “bad branding”. “The origins of the problem are linked with the monotony of advertising of a particular tourist object, such as“ City N is the pearl of the Golden Ring” (Moscow region, Siberia, the Far East). At the same time, the attempts to solve this problem are not always successful and often lead to funny situations “, – the employee of Vestnik Kavkaza drew attention.

“As an example, we can mention the project ‘Fairy-tale map of Russia’. The scheme of action is simple – local legends are fixed on the fairy map, then the existing tourist infrastructure is created or expanded. It is expected that the tourist’s interest in this or another object will increase and the regional economy will grow as a result”,  Yevgeniya Svatukhina said.

“The interactive component is also focused mainly on entertainment. For example, the Kirovsky Fairy Tale Preserve offers kayaking tours with Kikimora, Domovoy and Vyatsky Lapty. Given that the Fairytale Map of Russia is an interregional project, respectively, a reason for ‘meeting’ of the fairy characters could be the birthday of Ded Moroz or the Wedding of Domovoy and Kikimora and so on,” the analyst said.

Further, the expert emphasized that in the case of ethnographic tourism, the commercialization of the local culture poses a great danger. “This topic is particularly relevant in the light of the revival of interest in traditional Russian culture. This primarily concerns the Russian North, where real Russian villages still exist. Often, products of local producers cannot compete with products of other regions, and houses of local residents – with the private guesthouses. Live Culture is replaced by folklore shows, the ‘local’ souvenirs are imported from China, ”Yevgeniya Svatukhina noted.

“Thus, the construction of tourism-oriented programs with an ethnic bias leads to a set of problems – distortion of traditions and local customs, which are transformed to please the expectations of tourists. The result is the cultural erosion — a phenomenon that has been named the ‘reconstructed ethnos’”, the expert paid attention.

“Nevertheless, it is necessary to emphasize that the development of recreation- ethnic and rural tourism – is often the only possible way to preserve unique traditional landscapes and traditional cultures, and for a harmonious and, let’s say, mutually beneficial existence of tourism and national grounds, it is necessary to conduct a reasonable policy state financing, attract local business and develop local initiatives “, the employee of Vestnik Kavkaza concluded.