Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 368

368 Arctic Yearbook 2014 Revda and Economic Diversification into Tourism The main target of Revda’s CIP was to diversify the local economy away from mining and into tourism (KIPMMGP Revda 2010). The plan sought to reduce the dependence of the settlement on the mining industry and to encourage the settlement to adapt to a post-industrial development path. Hence, it sought to create incentives for post-industrial development in the community (KIPMMGP Revda 2010: 40–41). According to Revda’s CIP, the community has two alternative development scenarios: a mono-profiled urban settlement with a resource-based development or sustainable development with economic diversification (KIPMMGP Revda 2010: 37–38). The main obstacle to economic diversification, according to Revda’s CIP (KIPMMGP Revda 2010: 8), is the lack of finances for implementing development projects. The main tourism project in Revda’s plan was a Russian Lapland (Russkaya Laplandiya) project, which was originally created to promote tourism development in Kirovsk. However, it was extended to Revda in 2010 by the regional government because Revda desperately needed a rescue plan in 2009 as it was chosen by the state officials as one of the single-industry towns whose rescue was a top priority in Russia. Although the Russian Lapland plan was also left in the CIP of Kirovsk, the promotion of Russian Lapland in Revda was prioritized by the regional government as the rescue project of Revda and became among the priorities of the regional government. Hence, a creation of a tourism cluster, which would merge the Russian Lapland projects in Kirovsk and Revda, became a long-term target of the regional government. The Russian Lapland project sought to bring tourism to Revda, despite the community’s lack of experience of the tourist industry. It sought to compete with the tourist industry in Northern Finland with various tourist attractions within the project from winter sports tourism and all-year-round holiday resorts to ethnographic (Sami culture) and cultural tourism (KIPMMGP Revda 2010: 53; Varenik 2012). The Russian Lapland project planned to create an estimated 362 permanent and 220 temporary jobs during the construction period. By bringing more tax incomes to Revda it should have also reduced the level of dependency of subsidies from the regional budget in the town and increase the flow of tourists to the Murmansk region by 44,000 people annually (KIPMMGP Revda 2010: 51–52). Despite the desperate search for economic diversification in Revda in 2010, opinions that the Russian Lapland plan is unnecessary gained traction in 2011. This was caused by an upturn in LGOK’s fortunes because of the increase in prices for rare earth metals, one of LGOK’s products, which in turn was caused by China’s reduced exports of these metals (Popov 2011). Thus, as the CIP was ostracized, it revealed the ad hoc character of the plan from the viewpoint of the regional administration, which lost interest in promoting economic diversification in Revda as the outlook of the town’s main company improved. In 2012, after LGOK’s main crisis had passed, the leaders of Revda’s administration and LGOK concluded that Revda’s economic situation was satisfactory without the Russian Lapland project (Chernovski 2012). LGOK’s CEO V. Kolokol’tsev denied that there was a threat that LGOK might be closed (Chernovski 2012), which had been the subject of rumours during the height of the crisis in 2009 (Pettersen 2009). Kolokol’tsev pointed out that the future of the settlement would be based on mining (Chernovski 2012). Tourism is necessary as a supportive industry, but its positive impact for the community is not significant enough to allow Suutarinen