Citi foundation and WWF-Russia announced that the joint project will go on in Altai
The project began in 2011 in order to help remote communities in the Altai Republic to organize their own business in ecotourism. This sphere of business is based on the principles of sustainable use of natural resources and maintaining sustainable livelihoods. At this part of Russia poaching has become a source of subsistence for many families. Those small operations should help save nature and fight down poaching.
“In Altai jobless rate is sometimes 90%, - says Alexander Bondarev, the head of WWF-Russia’s Altai-Sayan ecoregional office. –Without a job, people get involved in poaching and illegal wild animal trade. We are sure, that this project will help solve some of the major problems, will help people from local communities get a stable source of income”.
In previous years, the program has supported 124 projects in the field of ecotourism development in remote areas of the Altai Republic. Participants were provided with micro-grants and interest-free micro-loans totaling more than 5.5 million rubles.
The new project aims to strengthen the earlier achievements and help:
- to increase knowledge of local businesses and people involved in the work in the field of ecotourism
- to improve the quality of products and services offered by locals
- to increase the number of workplaces
- to find channels and markets for ecotourism products
- to raise the level of income for the local population
- to attract more tourists to the region.
The project will conduct a series of workshops on business management, marketing and promotion of products and services. It is also planned to organize experience exchange for 30-40 entrepreneurs where they can learn about most successful projects with stable income.
It is supposed to carry out the marketing research on the possibilities of promotion of local goods and services to regional and national markets. Results might be used for improving the efficiency of guest houses, museums, cafés, traditional food and souvenir production.
An important part of project is to create an electronic catalog of goods and services, for the Internet promotion. Through this catalog participants will be able to expand their advertising opportunities to the national level.
The final stage of the project will be an International Conference «Ecological and rural tourism - a new way of regional development». It should spread successful experience of small business in Russia and other Central Asian countries, and help local to offer their products and services to regional, national and international market. More than 100 participants from Republics of Altai, Tuva, Buryatia, Altaisky Kray, Mongolia and Kazakhstan are expected to visit that international event
The first project activities (workshops and study tours) had already begun this May in remote regions of Altay Republic.