“Karjalan Sanomat” (January 29, 2020) has published material about the project KA5041 “Green technologies in the field of tourism to reduce the negative impact on the environment” (NatureBest)
An analysis of the current situation and the problems of negative environmental impact in the field of recreational tourism has been carried out within the framework of the cross-border cooperation project; NatureBeST. Environmentally and economically feasible solutions are being developed for objects of the tourism sector, and preparations are already underway in two pilot project areas: in Prionezhsky and Segezhsky regions of the Republic of Karelia for the implementation of technical solutions/ awareness raising events on green technologies are being held.
In an interview with project manager Sergey Koshelev, it is estimated that by 2035, tourist flow to the Republic of Karelia will increase from 850,000 to 2 million people annually. Therefore, tourism sector of the republic needs to be ready to serve the larger number of tourists without compromising on the region's nature. This will mean creating a balance between economic development and environmental protection through responsible tourism practices.
NatureBeST project partners have surveyed owners of tourism accommodation facilities on barriers to improving eco-efficiency. The project partners focused on four areas: waste collection and processing, reduction of emissions from heating, environmentally friendly electricity production and wastewater treatment. Solutions to common problems are currently in progress and in the near future, recommendations for the owners of guesthouses will be developed and published.
There are also ongoing pilot solutions in project areas. In two pilot sites of the project; Training Center of PetrSU “Urozero”, and the other is the hotel complex “Segezha”, proposed technical solutions will be implemented already this summer. In Segezha, a heating system will be modernized to allow a more efficient distribution of heat throughout the building thereby preventing heat loss. The complex technical solutions at the Urozero Training Center are projected to save up to 800,000 rubles annually, while reducing the burden on the environment at the same time.
Timo Hokkanen and Daisy Silvennoinen from the partner organization CEDTENK believe that the cross-border cooperation project will offer effective ways of increasing profitability of tourism business without harming the environment. For example, problems of water supply and sanitation are common for recreational tourism facilities in both countries, and partners offer area-specific solutions that can be used by the owners of the tourist accommodation facilities taking into account the local mentality and the desire to develop the tourist service business in the best way possible. The exchange of experience also plays an important role in the developments: in the summer of 2019, a group of owners of recreational tourism facilities participated in a study trip to Joensuu, and in April 2020, Finnish owners of the tourism business will come to Karelia to study experience on environmental issues.