Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Yeti to entice tourists to Siberia

Tales of Yetis are wafting from Russia’s remote parts. Locals in the rugged region of Kemerevo say the mysterious creature’s numbers have doubled, and claims of sightings are attracting official interest.

But more sightings of a creature hitherto believed to exist in the Himalayas could mean nothing more exciting than more interest in attracting tourists, as the area boasts a reasonable tourist infrastructure and an interest in return on its investment.

The growing numbers have locals on the lookout and Kemerovo Region governor Aman Tuleyev has taken defensive measures against unwanted intruders, Moskovsky Komsomolets reported on Tuesday.

However, a press release cited by the newspaper could not be traced on the regional authorities' website.

“The strange creature, which looked like a huge man, tried several times to get out of the water and to stand up on both feet, but dropped into the water each time and howled,” a spokesperson for the Tashtagol district in Kemerovo region told Itar-Tass earlier this year. “The hunters stood frozen… He threw the creature the dry trunk of a young aspen tree, the creature clutched to it and crawled to the bank.”

Deputies of the Kuzbass Regional Council took themselves to a cave in southern Kuzbass last year, a place where local legend has it that the creature be found. It was possibly a step to attract tourists.

Moscow Ethnology and Antrhopology Institute Anthropology department head Dr. Sergei Vasiliev said that Bigfoot probably does not exist as scientists have never found any bodies, and that any populations would be recorded.

PR and marketing specialists dismissed press reports about finding Bigfoot as fodder for gullible tourists. The visit of MPs to the cave was probably connected with the fact that the cave in question was “an emerging tourist destination” said Regional Council member Nikolai Shatilov.

He said that they should consider developing tourism in the region without creating myths and legends, and restrictions on the use of snowmobiles should be implemented. He also called for development of the areas with dense indigenous populations.

Creating a non-existant tourist attraction has a long pedigree. Visitors to Verona, Italy, have the chance to see Juliet's Balcony, inspired by the famous scene in Shakepeare's drama "Romeo and Juliet".

Meanwhile the Scottish city of Inverness has traded heavily on the nearby Loch Ness Monster to boost its tourist trade in the face of stiff competition from the natural beauty of the western Highlands.

Even here in Moscow, the Pushkin Gallery boasts a fine collection of ancient artefacts originally thought to be from Troy - though further archaeological research has cast doubt on whether the finds have any links to the likes of Achilles and friends.

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