Republic of Tuva, a remote, biodiverse mountainous Russian region in southern Siberia, populated by traditionally nomadic, yurt-dwelling people of Mongolian ethnicity, might become a destination for discerning and wealthy foreign tourists. In addition to financial reasons, the Tuva authorities view these tourists as keen connoisseurs of local natural splendor and sights. The task was set by Sholban Kara-ool, the regional governor.
The focus will be on wealthy tourists from China, Korea, and Japan. Unique tours will be offered to them. Large-scale works are underway to upgrade and expand the existing infrastructure.
Thus, a terminal for international flights might be built at the airport of Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva, as early as this year. Documents will be prepared by the end of March, the republic's government told wek.ru. The necessary funds have already been allocated, and by early April, the necessary package of documents will be submitted to the Russian Ministry of Transport.
Kyzyl Airport was built in 1946. It cooperates with three Russian airlines providing services to Tuva from Moscow, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk and Abakan. Tuva Air, which operates flights within the republic, is the main air carrier there.
In addition, a road network is being developed. In particular, a trade route will be built through Tuva, opening up direct access for Siberia to one of China's industrially developed and wealthy regions, Xinjiang. By 2023, the Khandagaiti automobile checkpoint at the Russia-Mongolia border will be renovated, and the Yenisei federal highway will be extended to China's Urumqi.
Currently, the small Khandagaiti checkpoint serves as one of the main gates for Tuva and other Siberian regions to Mongolia. Four years ago, Khandagaiti became the endpoint of the Yenisei federal road linking Krasnoyarsk, Khakassia, Tuva and Mongolia.
"All of Siberia will be able to trade with China and other countries via Tuva. When our branch line towards Mongolia goes directly to China, it will be one of the opportunities for Siberian regions to directly reach Xinjiang province in western China. In addition, it will significantly reset the load from other trade outlets on Russia's border with China," said Rolanda Sambu-hoo, the head of the Agency for Foreign Economic Relations of the Republic of Tuva.
The Tuva Transport Ministry hopes that thanks to direct access to China and the expansion of trade with Mongolia, the trade turnover of Tuva will increase eightfold or more, and freight traffic, tenfold. Development of border infrastructure will also receive a boost.
The authorities of the Tuva Republic have allocated 70 mln rubles ($921,200) for construction of the road to the neighboring region of Mountainous Altai.
The Kyzyl-Khaya-Kosh-Agach motorway should solve the problem of transport accessibility and give an impetus to the tour industry. Work has already begun.
"Our republics have a mutual interest in this road which is 120 km long. I hope very much that the bidding contest will be won by a large contractor possessing sufficiently reliable equipment, which is extremely necessary in the rocky highland terrain," Sholban Kara-ool wrote on his account at VK social network.
The plan for this year is to launch construction of the two most difficult sections that will have a total length of 20 km and will include five or so bridge crossings.
The road construction project, designed in 2019, has a total construction budget of 1.3 bln rubles ($17.1 mln.) The road from Tuva to Mountainous Altai will run through the Buguzun mountain pass, part of the Chikhachev Ridge.
The Kyzyl-Khaya-Kosh-Agach road will link two federal highways, the R-257 Yenisei highway and the Chuysky Tract, into a single network.