1) The Baikal region covers the Irkutsk region and the Republic of Buryatia, which surround the lake Baikal from the west and the east side. In the north the region is extended over parts of Mongolia and, further east, up to the Chita region. Why does eco-tourism have to become one of the priority practices in the Baikal Region?
2) Lake Baikal is located in the legendary land of Siberia, which is known all over the world for its special history and its special climate. For many years it has remained irresistible to tourists and researchers. It is a unique place with extraordinary characteristics: beautiful nature, special history and, it has never been a battle field or experienced at war, even Chingiz-Khan did not dare to invade the holy Baikal ground. Baikal preserved its original beauty mostly due to a large number of specially protected areas, parks and natural reserves.
3) Tourists who are interested in eco-tourism trips are seeking for a temporal departure from civilization. There are places in Baikal, where the unique feeling “being one with nature” can be experienced. Its strong energy, its mystic aura, and also many natural mineral hot springs make people visit Lake Baikal to find health, strength and a complete harmony with nature. The main characteristic and attraction of this unspoilt region for ecotourists is its originality, authenticity, the variety of nature, wild flora and fauna and in a way, the lack of civilization.
4) The development of eco-tourism is an extraordinary opportunity to improve the living conditions of people living in the Baikal region. It is the best alternative to the industrialization of the Baikal land and to the building of oil and gas pipes which, despite the arguments of the government in favour of energy business, represents a threat to the nature and to the future.
5) Tourism business in the Baikal region started developing after the issuing of new laws and regulations about tourism in the new economic conditions of Russia in 1995. That underlines the fact that tourism in Baikal is still at the beginning of its growth. The main obstacle to the efficient development of tourism in Baikal is the lack of basic knowledge and experience in organization of tourism, as well as the lack of basic tourism ethics in the Baikal society. Yes, we know that experience is gained through mistakes, and people learn from their mistakes. However, when it comes to nature and its preservation, it is very hard – almost impossible – to correct these mistakes, because people are dealing with the delicate world of nature.
6) The main condition to sustainable development of ecotourism in the Baikal region is to make local people, not only those who work in the tourist business, but all other citizens as well, to make them understand that it is vitally important to stick to the principles of sustainable development and the ethics of eco-tourism.
►1. What kind of information can be found in the first paragraph?
a) sustainable development of eco-tourism
b) geographical position of the Baikal region
c) characteristic features of lake Baikal
2. Look at paragraph 2 and match the following adjectives with the nouns in the text:
legendary special irresistible unique
extraordinary beautiful holy original
3. Look at paragraph 3 and say whether these statements true (T) or false (F):
● Lack of civilization is important for ecotourists.
● People visit lake Baikal to experience a complete harmony with nature.
● Wild flora and fauna irritate ecotourists.
● Nature in the Baikal region is completely spoilt by civilization.
4. Look at paragraph 4 and say which words have the same meaning as:
chance area in spite of
5. Look at paragraph 5 and answer the questions:
● What proves that tourism in the Baikal region is at the beginning of its growth?
● What prevents the efficient development of tourism in the Baikal region?
● Why is it difficult to correct people’s mistakes speaking about nature?
6. Look at paragraph 6 and explain the phrase sustainable development. Use a dictionary to help you.
8.14. Work in groups and discuss the following.
The main principles of a sustainable development of tourism in national parks and protected areas are as follows:
● employing people from the local community to work in the park’s tourist facilities;
● gearing these facilities to tourist demand and making them profitable;
● informing the local authorities, community and tour operators of the park’s plans and projects for the development of tourism;
● involving regional and national tour operators in tourism management activities;
● training the local population to work with the park’s visitors;
● relying on local councils when introducing the sustainable exploitation;
● coordinating activities connected with sustainable exploitation of the park through public coordination centres.
Sustainable exploitation depends on the shared interests of people in business, conservation and the local community.
8.15. Work in a group of three or four and discuss the following:
What has changed in our country or in the world as a whole, (either positive or negative points)? Think about:
traffic green space pollution
motorways climate tourism
8.16. Project work. Discuss the following items:
● Are there any endangered species in our country?
● What can be done to protect endangered species?
● Why is it important to protect all species?
● Have you ever taken part in a conversation project? Would you like to?