Just a couple of years ago, the long-suffering Federal Agency for Tourism (FAT, or Rostourism) was released from under the wing of the Ministry of Economic Development. As justified by the decree, in order to increase the efficiency of the implementation of the national project “Tourism and hospitality industry”. And on the eve of the New Year, it is reported that Rostourism, headed by Zarina Doguzova in recent years, has been abolished (disbanded, liquidated if you like), and its functions are being returned to the ministry back. And in the name of the same goals, almost verbatim. What is the reason for such a short free tour of the ill-fated department, and what could be the consequences of castling?
So what is Rostourism – a source of fabulous income and incredible opportunities, or a headache that everyone is just trying to get rid of? And why did he stop being?
Experts agree that the trigger for these changes was the confrontation at a meeting of the State Council on National Projects, where in the presence of the president there was a dispute between the head of Rostourism, Zarina Doguzova, and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, who oversees tourism issues in the government. Zarina Doguzova did not want to give the Ministry of Construction at the mercy (sorry, for development) more than 700 billion of the budget for the construction of tourist facilities. Moreover, she expressed her desire to receive a full-fledged ministerial portfolio herself – and to head, of course, the new Ministry of Tourism of the Russian Federation. With accompanying ministerial powers.
Although, it would seem, the federal agency already had enough powers – as well as tasks and functions. And not only the vague “… development and implementation of state policy, legal regulation and coordination of activities, the provision of public services” in the field of tourism. The powers of the FAT are a very specific “… management of state property”, as well as “… the implementation of federal state control (supervision) over the activities of accredited organizations that classify hotels, ski slopes, beaches, over the activities of tour operators and associations of tour operators in the field of outbound tourism” and even “… law enforcement functions in the field of tourism and tourism activities.” It would seem that the field is unplowed.
Is the kingdom not enough, nowhere to roam? What did Zarina Doguzova count on when she came into conflict not only with Chernyshenko, but also with such powerful persons as Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin? After all, the distribution and development of funds for the construction of tourist clusters, and investing in the creation of their infrastructure on the principles of public-private partnership is just the traditional sphere of their activities and the participation of officials and businessmen very close to them. As a result, just a month later, the decree on disbanding Rostourism was signed.
But on the other hand, is it only the ministerial ambitions of Doguzova and the intrigue with the distribution of hundreds of billions of national project budget “tourism” investments that caused this? There are many questions about the activities of Zarina Doguzova herself. After all, despite all the bright and massive PR (the journalistic diploma of MGIMO Doguzova was clearly not in vain) and the most favorable reports and even brighter prospects, the real results of the work of the federal agency under her leadership are far from perfect.
A chest with fairy tales or a suitcase without a handle?
According to the results of prosecutorial inspections during 2022, it was revealed that more than two-thirds of tourist facilities that were supposed to start working as early as 2021 have not been put into operation. Rostourism, not particularly looking back at the budget code, distributed huge amounts of money to the regions almost uncontrollably, and there they were often not even particularly shy about using these gifts at their own discretion. For example, in Karelia. By the way, the authorities of this region already have something to “boast” in the framework of environmental conservation and ecotourism.
Federal supervision, verification activities, licensing and accreditation of objects and employees of the tourism sector, the leadership of Rostourism also did not particularly deal with it, preferring to spend energy on dubious PR actions. For example, 135 million rubles spent on advertising holidays in Russia. Nasha Versiya has previously written about at least surprising moments of “effective management” of Rostourism: this is the case of billions in grants that were supposed to give an impetus to the domestic tourism industry (but they didn’t), and millions of dollars spent on a very dubious design of the Russian logo , and blown away like a soap bubble cashback for domestic tourism, which instead of a pleasant bonus has become a hell of a meal for recipients.
Unreasoned financial assistance from the budget to individual tour operators, violation of reporting, and so on and so forth – all this was reflected in the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office. First Deputy Prosecutor of Russia Anatoly Razinkin formulated dryly but succinctly: “Rostourism did not take exhaustive measures to create and ensure favorable conditions for the development of the tourism industry.”
Neither ours nor yours
So, as a result, the dry residue is the following. Temporarily regulate tourism issues, until a profile curator is appointed in the department, will be Deputy Minister of Economic Development Dmitry Vakhrukov, who is now responsible for regional development. Zarina Doguzova herself refused the proposed position of the new Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economic Development, and took a modest position in the expert council of MGIMO.
By the way, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin not only increased the number of Deputy Economic Development Minister Mikhail Reshetnikov from 11 to 12 and the number of departments in his ministry from 35 to 37. He also approved changes in the state program “Tourism Development”: now the Ministry of Economic Development has been appointed the executor of the program instead of the Ministry of Construction. At the same time, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko will remain in charge of tourism issues in the government for the time being, but it is also difficult to call him the winning side of the conflict.
How the Reshetnikov department will cope with such a “gift”, including unfulfilled financial obligations (by the way, today the total debts of travel agencies are estimated at 1.5-2 billion rubles that are unbearable for them), it will be clear soon. Many experts believe that in the current situation, it is the direction of domestic tourism that is not just a sphere of increased investment attractiveness. Analysts agree that it is precisely domestic tourism that could now become a point of growth for the modern Russian service economy, a new ideological line and a real patriotic national project that meets modern challenges – as it is now fashionable to say.
What else will be revealed by the further work of the supervisory authorities and the Ministry of Economic Development itself in the investigation of the inherited “legacy”, and what conclusions will be drawn – time will tell. According to the established tradition, those responsible for such significant losses for the budget are traditionally not punished in our country. Moreover, evil tongues name very influential patrons of the failed minister, who are ready for all kinds of moral and other support for their creature. However, it seems that everything here will depend on the results of the checks. National projects are a sacred cow, milking which without any respect is fraught with danger.
The fate of the Federal Agency for Tourism in modern Russian history is full of the most dramatic turns.
• In April 1991, the State Committee for Foreign Tourism was abolished and the Council for Foreign Tourism under the Cabinet of Ministers of the USSR was established.
• January 1992 – the Ministry of Physical Culture and Tourism was formed, which included the Department of Tourism.
• March 27, 1992 – the creation of the Ministry of Culture (no longer physical – A.V.) and Tourism of the Russian Federation on the basis of the abolished Ministry of Culture of the RSFSR.
• In April 1992, the Temporary Interdepartmental Commission on Foreign and Domestic Tourism of the Russian Federation was formed to develop a state program for the development of tourism.
• September 1992 – the Committee of the Russian Federation for Tourism (Roskomtourism) was formed to develop a strategy for the development of tourism in Russia and the implementation of state policy, the development and implementation of federal targeted and interstate programs in the field of tourism.
• January 1994 – Roskomtourism merged with the RF Committee on Physical Culture.
• August 1994 – reorganization into the State Committee of the Russian Federation for Physical Culture and Tourism.
• 1995 – the State Duma Committee on Tourism and Sports was established…
Further, as they say, watch your hands.
• In June 1999, the Civil Code of the Russian Federation for Physical Culture and Tourism was transformed into the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism.
• 2000 – the formation of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation, and again received the functions of the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism – guess who? State Committee of the Russian Federation for Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism.
But not for long – in 2002 it again lost its tourist component, and in 2004 it was abolished. At the same time, the functions of coordinating tourism activities were transferred to the Department of Tourism of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation. And law enforcement functions, the functions of providing public services and managing the property of the tourism sector were transferred to the Federal Agency for Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism – Rossport.
• Rossport was formed in March 2004 and is now run by – guess who? – Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation. And already in November, according to the established tradition, tourism was transferred from Rossport to a separate Federal agency, with direct subordination to the government.
So it was until 2008, when Rostourism was again transferred to the ministry – this time the newly created Ministry of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy of the Russian Federation, which was headed by Vitaly Mutko.
• 2012 – Rostourism again (!) passed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.
Until 2018, Rostourism lived quietly, except for partnerships in projects such as the Tourist Assistance Association or the Federal Council for Industrial Tourism, and then again came under the supervision of the Ministry of Economic Development.
• In February 2019, Rostourism was headed by a charismatic, young and energetic, but previously unconnected with the tourism industry, Zarina Doguzova, an employee of the Presidential Department for Public Relations and Communications, who by that time had already noted both the chic of her outfits and an uncomfortable question with the elite apartment.
• On June 5, 2020, the President of the Russian Federation signed a decree according to which Rostourism is completely transferred to the control of the Government of the Russian Federation.
• And on October 20, 2022, he also signed a decree on the abolition of Rostourism.
Is it Finita?