Tourist industry representatives were able to agree with Russian Railways upon keeping the tourist route on Circum-Baikal Railway and offering acceptable prices for this trip, the Russian Union of Travel Industry (RUTI) announced on January 30th, 2015.
Siberian Baikal Association of Tourism (SBAT) stated in December 2014 that because of uncertainty in prices Circum-Baikal Railway tour operators in Irkutsk region had to exclude this attraction from tourist packages for 2015 season.
SBAT appealed to the Russian Union of Travel Industry with a request to assist in resolving this issue. RUTI sent a letter to the president of 'Russian Railways' Vladimir Yakunin, to the Ministry of Transport and to Rostourism.
According to SBAT’s executive director Galina Solonina, tourist industry efforts were not in vain: tourist trains on Circum-Baikal Railway will keep running and the price for it will be acceptable. 'Rostourism and RUTI and helped us a lot by discussing the issue with the head of Russian Railways'. Before that it was supposed that Russian Railways could set very high prices for rides on Circum-Baikal Railway, since this was not a regular train. But not the matter has been solved and the price won’t be much higher than last year.
According to the chief of East Siberian Railway Vasily Frolov, the railroad is also interested in preserving the tourist route. 'It's really a very interesting object. 800 architectural, cultural and historical monuments are concentrated around Circum-Baikal Railway. In 2013 the railway carried almost 190 thousand tourists' - he said.
Therefore, despite the increase in rental rates for rolling stock, East Siberian Railway found opportunities for reducing the cost of travel. In 2015 it is planned to deliver tourists by retro trains over electric railway instead of a bus. In the future, visitors will be able to go on tour by electrified trains. In order to do this, Irkutsk locomotives are being upgraded. It is expected that in April 2015 three modernized locomotives will come to Angara. The above changes will help to reduce the cost of tour on Circum-Baikal Railway. East Siberian Railway representatives also hope that group tourism will help to provide maximum load to the railway.