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Stretching nearly half way around the world, Arctic Russia extends over two continents and nine time zones what makes it the largest Arctic territory. Russian Arctic neighborhoods Norway and eastern part of Finland on the west and aggrandizes east through Siberia to the Bering Sea. Across the Bering Strait, aboriginal land of Chukotka nearly touches Alaska, which used to be in the Russian possession and was sold to United States in 1867.

According to the web portal, which provides with the services for foreign visitors coming to Russia, over 2 million foreign visitors choose this part of the world as their travel destination. Statistics do not provide with exact number of visitors which choose the Russian Arctic in particular, however the assumptions can b made as close to half of them travelled to Chukotka, Siberia, Komi Republic, Murmansk, Archangelsk Province, Yugyd Va National Park, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and Kamchatka.

It was measured that the inbound tourism in Russian greatly exceeds the number of Russian citizens who went abroad. That gives an indication of increase in foreign traffic and decrease of outbound international journeys made from Russia. Statistics show, that top foreign countries with the largest amount of visitors, in the year of 2011, included Germany, United States of America, China, Finland and other Scandinavian countries and United Kingdom.

Opening of Arctic shipping routes made it possible for over 30 thousand tourists to visit North Russia by sea annually. Cruises offer their services from Kola Peninsula, Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya. Passengers can choose to attend cruise on ice breakers or research vessel but all give opportunities to fish in open sea, visit bird colonies and experience extreme Arctic environment.

The Arctic largest sea port and the biggest city in Russian north – Murmansk, every year attracts visitors from all over the world. It offers comfortable hotels and number of city attractions but the Khibino – Lovozero region with its remote Arctic nature is just behind the corner. It offers archeological, historical, and cultural sites, as well as places of geological and mineralogical significance.

Traditional lifestyles and cultures as well as the wildlife can be experienced by visitors in the Wrangel Island State Reserve on Chukchi Peninsula, which is the world famous and the biggest in the Arctic indigenous people's territory.

Kamchatka is located in the Russian Far East and contains one of the world´s densest of active and extinct volcanoes. Together with the Russian Arctic National Park, which stretches across the Franz Josef Land Archipelago the northern part of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago, and Victoria Island, was designed as the UNESCO Cultural and Natural Heritage. The Russian Arctic National Park is the largest site of this kind in the northern hemisphere and when fully established it will encompass close to 9 million hectares.

Majority of visitors would need to apply for the visa before traveling to Russia. Only few former Russian republics as well as some of the South African nations were excluded from the policy.

In spite of the slowing of the recession in the global economy, the crisis is still impending growth in Russian tourism. However, it was Russian Federation which demonstrated significant economic indicators during the world´s crisis. Improving of the country's economy as well as opening new shipping routes and air space over the Russian Federation, will in a near future attract more and more people to the northern part of the country. Allowing easy access to the territory and making Russia more transparent for foreign visitors, would be a necessary step for the government in order to attract traffic from abroad.

Source: Ministry of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy of the Russian Federation

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