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Karelian villagers do not like ethnotourism

Residents of the village of Kinnas (Kindasovo) in Karelia are categorically against their village being turned into a centre for ethnotourism.

karjala küla Kinnas

The Karelian village of Kindasovo has begun to experience the downsides of ethnotourism. The village, in the Pryaza region of the Republic of Karelia, is known as a venue for annual humour festivals. The festival has been organised since 1986 and more and more people take part in it. As the village has many attractions, ranging from Saami places of worship and traditional Karelian households to World War II memorials, it attracts a large number of tourists throughout the year. ‘It’s extremely unpleasant when you open the window in the morning and tourists are already taking pictures of you’, villagers told the Petrozavodsk Talks portal.

‘Local enterprising women have set up such a tourist economy in the village that the usual peaceful village life has become irritating. Tourists organise parties, singing and dancing almost daily. In the summer, however, tourist buses whirl around the village until late at night. Many people don’t even want to come out of their tents anymore, because curious tourists with their cameras are already waiting in the street, because the local exoticism needs to be captured’, complain the people of Kindasovo.

The villagers don’t mind the annual humour festival, but they can’t stand the daily partying under their windows. The villagers have complained to various authorities, but so far without success. ‘We’re not totally against ethnotourism, but we don’t like the way it’s organised’, they say. Some residents plan to leave the village to find a more peaceful place to live, while most will fight for their rights all the way to court.

According to the authors of the story – which presents the official position of the Karelian authorities – the village of Kindasovo is a good example of how tourism should not be developed.