The current political and economic situation dictates new trends in the international arena. Today, it is vital for Russia to build partnership relations with foreign countries, especially at the social level, and promote a cultural and business rapprochement of countries. Social projects play a specific role in this. Their goal is to create a favourable environment for our children, and prepare a future for successful and all-round cooperation of countries in the strategic perspective.
However, a topical issue thus far has been attracting future highly qualified foreign professionals to Russia; educating a new – loyal to our country – generation that would share its values ad propagate them. Today of all days it is vital to attract youth from Asian countries who would promote the rapprochement of our countries later after learning the values of friendly Russia.
Children’s tourist trails under the slogan “Experience Russia” are an effective instrument of attracting future foreign professionals. The program has found support of both our governmental structures and funds and embassies of foreign states in Russia, and the relevant structures in the RF and in foreign countries. Its goal – in the strategic perspective of 15-25 years – is to shape a foreign community loyal to Russia that is focused on developing cooperation with us, and understands our mentality.
“Experience Russia” means educating future politicians, economists, researchers, and journalists whose distinctive feature would be the ability to understand well their Russian contemporaries, and, hence, to be successful in building partnership relations with them.
While implementing the program, children from other countries will have the opportunity of getting to know Russia and its regions, our culture and traditions. We will create an attractive image of our country as one that offers huge opportunities, premium services and hospitality. We will attract investments in regions, and finally, will be able to initiate their all-round development. We will also facilitate educational centers and higher education establishments abroad with subsequent attraction of students and youth tour tourists, and educate a loyal young community focused on cooperation with Russia.
These new tourist trails are becoming especially relevant for several reasons. Historically, all nations and generations follow the precept: “The best is for children”. Children are the hope and future of any civilization, an unbiased and free from politics part of humankind. Besides, in any family, resources are allocated mostly to educating the child and extending the youngster’s range of opportunities. Countries are allocating funds for development of children’s social programs. Presently, visiting Russia has become much easier for foreign citizens owing to the currency rates that have changed to their benefit.
We have tremendous opportunities to accommodate children in camps and recreational centers. Thus, according to Rospotrebnadzor’s data for 2016, Russia has 46,000 health institutions and children’s health resorts, which can accommodate over 5.2 million children. This indicator is growing each year. As compared to last year, it has increased by two percent. The majority of children’s camps are located in places most attractive for tourism. Among the most popular locations are the resorts in the Russia’s South, including the Crimea, where over sixty children’s health and recreation institutions are functioning nowadays.
As a whole, Russia is at the forefront of inbound tourism. According to the data of the Federal Tourism Agency, in 2016 Russia was among the top 10 countries most visited by foreign tourists – ranking ninth. Russia has all the chances to improve its positions and win a higher rating.
To implement children’s tourism-and-educational programs, it is necessary first to develop children’s tourism trails with an educational component, with groups made up of both children from abroad and Russia, and develop special sightseeing programs for children. An example of such programs can be the “Red Trail” intended for Chinese youth. The Stroganoff School of Business and Public Management offers an interesting program for Chinese tourists. The School is located in a historical site – on the Stroganoff family grounds in the present-day Perm Territory – and runs the international children’s camp “Zhivaya Klassika” (“Live Classics”) where theater and cinema stars teach children acting skills. The project “Podnebesy” (“Subcelestial”) run by producer Ivan Shapovalov offers another program, and there is variety of others.
It takes some time to educate youth loyal to our country. However, we must start today to lay the groundwork for a future that would suit us. We ought to start right away, without delay, even if no tangible results will be seen soon. Upbringing is a stretched process and, as a rule, it takes at least a generation to see its results. Today we can see the work of those who taught us as children. We need to act in exactly the same way for the sake of those who will follow in our steps.
Olga Biryukova, Supervisor of The Center for Eurasian Cooperation and Development