Dmitry Schipitsin, head of the Elizovo Urban Settlement administration since September 20, told us about the prospects for developing the area and how to attract more tourists to the town.
The town of Elizovo is the aerial gateway to Kamchatka Territory; the majority of tourists arrives by air. There is a new airport in the town's territory. We are certain that the construction of a new airport complex in Elizovo, a key project the result of signing an investment agreement, will double or triple passenger traffic.
Moreover, the mountain skiing centre at Mount Moroznaya is also within the town limits and its development would also promote the inflow of tourists. There is a promising plan for its development. A new mountain lift has been installed, and new routes are being developed. In the summer, tourist hiking routes to the Blue Lakes are open to the public. In the long term, this depot could work year round: for hiking in the summer and purely as a skiing centre in the winter.
Paratunka has its own separate development plan. Just like in Elizovo, priority development territories have been created in the Paratunsky Rural Settlement, primarily aimed at encouraging tourism. The construction of swimming pools, hotels, etc. is underway.
Tourists come to Kamchatka to see the nature or to do sports, go hunting or fishing. However, the weather in the territory is unstable and, as the host, we do our best to arrange recreation for guests in town so that they might have a good time after arrival or, conversely, just before leaving the peninsula. For example, a new visitor centre at Kronotsky Wildlife Sanctuary is under construction in town. Not every tourist can afford to fly to the Valley of Geysers or the Kurilskoye Lake, but everyone can pay a visit to the visitor centre.
We intend to set up a 2 to 3-hour tourist trail within the town. It would stop at the Museum of Local History, the Artisan Town (a fair offering goods made by local craftspeople), and the zoo with local wildlife. Gastronomic tourism is also picking up: there are cafés and a new market selling products from Kamchatka. We are also paying attention to more minor matters. This year, as a part of the federal target-oriented program, the Formation of a Modern Urban Environment, we have repaired our famous welcome sign with the inscription "Russia starts here." No tourist can miss this sculpture with bears.
Two cadastral blocks of Elizovo have been designated priority economic development areas. We are moving people from unfit decrepit housing; installing foot paths along the embankment of the Avacha, our fishing river; and building hotels.
In late February – early March, we host the traditional Elizovsky Sprint, a race before the major Beringia Sled Dog Race. When Beringia rigs leave, the media can only be track them at specific points. Here, the race takes place during the day and runs right through the town. It starts at Mount Moroznaya then passes through Lenin Street, which is practically the town centre. The festival also includes snowmobile races and a biathlon. Plus, there are new events introduced every year.
Another event is the golden Elizovo Autumn, a fair that gathers manufacturers from all over Kamchatka, artists and craftspeople. It lasts for 2–4 days and attracts thousands of people. We also celebrate Alkhalalalay, the First Fish Festival, and the Day of the Slavs. There is a festival aimed at tourists almost every weekend.
We take an active part in programs at all levels, including the Formation of a Comfortable Urban Environment, Development of Internal and Inbound Tourism in Kamchatka Territory, etc. We intend to continue transforming the town. After all, we are the face of Kamchatka. We want there to be something worth seeing here in Elizovo when tourists disembark from the plane.