Tourism in Russian Federation is today important branch making a notable contribution to gross domestic product. The part of tourism in gross domestic product of Russia made 3 % in 2013.
Introduction of the new direction of agrarian branch began in the Tver region about five years ago. These were single projects. People were engaged not so much in business, but it was business as a hobby, for themselves and friends. But it became clear soon that the organization of rural tourism is very effective and profitable: agritourism allows to combine farm development with a form of sale of received production and to become income practically without the additional expenses, going on further improvement and prosperity of this economy.
The Tver region holds an advantageous geographical position, it is situated on the route connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg. It raises significantly tourist streams. Many tourists (especially from abroad) who visit historical capitals of Russia want to have a look at the country remote place. The Tver region is quite suitable for such excursions in view of the close arrangement to Moscow. The regional center is a large road junction. The Tver region is really unique not only through flora and fauna, but also through the ecological purity. Hunting grounds are rich with various living creatures and wild fowl. The Tver region is rich with lakes and rivers. One of the greatest Russian rivers – Volga flows on the territory of this region, this river is not only a natural pearl, but also the significant transport waterway, that allows tourists, who takes a cruise, to have interesting excursions in farms of the region. Design capacity of pond farms allows providing the volume of cultivation of fish to 4000 tons per year .
Further development of agritourism allows the Tver farmers to gain additional investments into the main production, to improve quality of social conditions, to creative new workplaces, and so, involvement of young specialists to the village. Now in the register of management and external relations of the Ministry of economic development of the Tver region are registered 52 farms providing the most various services of rural tourism. They are expended on the territory of all Tver region, but leaders among municipalities are Kimrsky, Selizharovsky and Ostashkovsky areas. It is explained by a geographical position of these regions: Kimrsky municipal area is located between the regional center Tver and the Moscow region, on its territory flows the river Volga and Moscow Canal that provides a lot of tourists – Muscovites and guests of the capital; Selizharovsky municipal area is very rich by water resources (the lakes Sig and Volgo, the Volga River valley) which provide a picturesque landscape in combination with rich fish resources; farms of the Ostashkovsky area can make boast of an arrangement on the bank of a pearl of the Tver region – the largest and pure reservoir of area – the Lake Seliger. The lake is decorated with 160 islands located in its territory. On the most part of them farmers constructed the large network consisting of lodges of the fisherman and sports tourist bases for occupation by water sports. Such island situation allows placing separately the vacationers who wants quiet and measured rural situation in close nearness with the nature, natural food and comfortable conditions of accommodation. The following factors have to be considered at the starting of formation of the agritourism direction as one of the forms of activity of farms, in Russia and in the Tver region, by heads of farms: usefulness of an ecological situation, proximity to large highways for the purpose of involvement of transit tourists, existence of transport availability to the large cities and the cultural centers, development of social infrastructure and existence of unique environment round a farm for creation of recreation facilities. Farmers of the Tver region develop special tourist programs, both group, and calculated on individual tourists. They surely include riding on specially trained horses, horse and foot walks on picturesque vicinities, visit of the nurseries located in the territory of a farm, with exotic pets, tasting of environmentally friendly production outdoors, visit of an apiary, fishing or hunting depending on a bias of specialization of a farm and an environment. Depending on wishes of tourists farmers realize entertainment programs – birthdays and weddings on ancient Russian customs are spent, forces of a farm will organize excursion trips in historical and remarkable places. The agrotourists visiting farms of the Tver region use rural furniture, the Russian stove, wooden benches and kitchen utensils, eat products and dishes of rural kitchen. Participation in different types of agricultural activity is offered to tourists in farms: landings of rare grades of vegetable cultures and potatoes, feeding of pets, collecting of mushrooms and berries. One of the most attractive forms of rest of tourists is visit of the real Russian bath, with a large amount of steam, use of natural brooms and extracts from local medical plants. Besides use of the Old Russian recipes which have reached us of a herbalisme by the Tver scientists unique technologies of preparation of medicines from flax, a girasol and carrots, proteinic medical additives from animal and vegetable components, production of natural food dyes and natural artificial sweetener were developed. It is in requisition, especially at foreign tourists through its ecological compatibility. Workers of farms tell tourists about rules of cultivation and harvesting, about the contents and care of cattle, learn to understand traditions and customs of national culture. Such activity of farms of the Tver region is visually shown available big population of horses, considerable development of apiaries and cultivation of the Russian fleet dogs for the organization of venery. It considerably distinguishes the farms of the Tver region which are engaged in rural tourism from similar farms of other areas.
Developing agritourism of head of farms of the Tver region solve partially the following problems of the village: reduction of unemployment rate and stimulation of inflow of the qualified young specialists to rural settlements of area; growth of the income and increase of a standard of living of villagers at rather small financial capital investments; insertion of means of farms in development of engineering and social infrastructure of the village, improvement of improvement of farmstead complexes and villages; development of ecological appeal and expansion of the range of production of homestead economy, and consequently to adjustment of communications of distribution system and realization on a place of production of a farm, in particular, ready-made products of food; preservation and revival of local customs and folklore; development of national crafts and increase of cultural and informative level of country people. And still a main objective of ecological tourism on the basis of farms of the Tver region is development of additional nonagricultural activity of local producers of agricultural production for receipt of money on reconstruction and modernization of the main production.
Users of services of the agritourism offered by farms of the Tver region are both citizens of Russia and foreign tourists. First of all it is business people who can’t afford owing to the activity a long absence on a workplace, persons with rather low income and limited financial opportunities for participation in foreign trips, children during the school vacation, not wishing to spend vacation among a big congestion of children at summer camps. In the second turn it is the foreign tourists coming to the Tver region with the business purposes, preferring to stop in the quiet, pacified places owing to features of the character, or the foreign transit tourists moving on the territories of the region between the tourist centers .
Farmers confronted during the activity the following problems interfering further development of agritourism: deficiency of accurately formulated state and regional policy on agriculture and, respectively, system of standard legal support of this kind of activity; deficiency of the special federal legislation regulating activity of heads of farms in the field of rural tourism; deficiency at the Tver farmers of knowledge and experience in the field of service of foreign and domestic tourists.
One of the solutions of these problems is the state and regional support of farmers in the sphere of development of rural tourism. In recent years the Committee on tourism, resorts and international relations of the Tver region conducts planned and system work on development of rural tourism on the basis of farms of the Tver region. Every year the most various events are held for this purpose which purpose is involvement of an increasing number of the Tver farms in travel business. Since 2004 development of rural tourism was among tasks of Committee of tourism of the Tver region. In 2006 the planned program “Development of Agritourism of the Tver Region” was accepted, which was the subprogramme as a part of the national project “Agrarian and Industrial Complex Development”. The Regional union of the farmers who are engaged in agritourism was created during implementation of the called program .
From 2008 to 2012 the federal target program “Development of Agriculture and Regulation of the Markets of Rural Production, Raw Materials and the Food for 2008–2012” acted on the territory of the Tver region. One of main objectives of its strategy was need to counterbalance supply and demand in this segment of the tourist market. At present the demand of rural tourism and interest offers to the Tver region considerably surpasses existing. Now the Tver farmers take active part in the federal target program developed by the Ministry of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy in common by Rostourism “Development of internal and entrance tourism in the Russian Federation (2011–2016)” made on the basis of the offers presented by subjects of the Russian Federation. Besides target programs in the region territory the Administration of the Tver region holds seminars and the forums devoted to problems of development of agrotourism on the basis of farms. So in 2008 the trip for the Tver farmers to the Republic of Karelia was organized for the purpose of acquaintance with the best practices of development of agritourism in the Russian Federation. Work of a seminar came to the end with work of a round table on the subject “Practical questions on implementation of activity of farmers in rural tourism”. The first international forum “Rural tourism in Russia” passed In June 2012 in the Altai territory. During this forum participants discussed actual problems of agritourism and got acquainted with models of development of the rural tourism, functioning abroad. In June 2013 the seminar practical work “Formation and tourist’s product advance in rural tourism” took place. Heads of the farms of the Tver region, representatives of regional and municipal committees on tourism, resorts and international relations of area listened not only a theoretical course, but also received practical skills in the sphere of rendering various tourist services.
Region farms actively advance the services in the tourist market: create sites of the farms on the Internet, send information on the farms to travel agencies, publish articles about problems and prospects of development of the farms in regional periodicals, participate at the All-Russian and regional exhibitions competitions devoted rural tourism. Example of such phenomenon is the competition held within the international forum “Rural tourism in Russia” where there was a fight between twenty projects of development of rural tourism in Russia. The Tver region at competition was represented by an agritourist farm “Ivanovka” awarded by the diploma and the silver medal “For Revival and Development of National Crafts”.
The committee on development of tourism of the Tver region organized press tours on region farms for federal and Moscow mass media in the advertizing purposes during the period from 2008 to 2012. The most striking examples of farms of the Tver region which is engaged in the organization of rural tourism are following: “Blagodat” – the farm located in the village of the Vostsytorzhoksky area. It receives seven years constant guests from St. Petersburg, Moscow, Tver and Torzhok. Now the farm “Blagodat” is a peculiar brand rural rest. The farm “Batyr” located in the Rzhev municipal area, is the breeding horse farm having own horse-racing club and cynophile nursery. The farm is engaged in cultivation of rare breed of horses. The farm “Senavian” was founded in 2002 in Ryblovo’s village of the Staritsky area and now works in the sphere of rural tourism. On the basis of the farm there is the nursery of Russian greyhound “Senavian” and horse stable. On the territory of the farm live different wild animals. Fascinating horse campaigns and walks, and as the most interesting venery are offered tourists.
The work is submitted to the International Scientific Conference “Problems of socio-economic development of the region”, Paris (France), October, 14–21, 2014, came to the editorial office оn 08.08.2014.