MOSCOW, September 26 (Itar-Tass) — North Caucasus has a big potential for the setting up of a tourism cluster in the region, Russian Minister of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy Vitaly Mutko told Tass on Monday.
“The Caucasus itself has very big potentials: original culture, enormous traditions and informative tourism, big possibilities for recreation tourism, in particular ski resorts,” the minister said.
With that in view, “the government made a decision to launch the project to create resorts of the North Caucasian cluster and invest in them,” Mutko stressed.
“Together with the state corporation North Caucasus Resorts, the government must take care of infrastructure, upkeep of chairlifts - things that are not advantageous for business today,” he stressed.
“This is a correct approach, the Caucasus needs to be developed, it has all conditions for becoming an attractive for tourists site,” the minister added. He said the South of Russia program, whose priority was to develop tourism in the North Caucasus, comes to an end.
Now, the North Caucasus Resorts state corporation must take up the initiative, he believes. The minister stressed that the project can become successful on condition of safety in the region. “Security is an unconditional factor for a growing flow of tourists and an interest in the North Caucasus,” he stressed.
“No matter what we say, as long as terrorist acts continue in the Caucasus this will certainly influence the flow of tourists,” he stressed. That is why, “first of all it must be safe and calm in all future clusters,” Mutko said.
The construction by 2020 of five alpine skiing resorts in the North Caucasus – Matlas in Dagestan, Mamison in North Ossetia, Arkhyz in Karachayevo-Cherkessia, Lagonaki in the Krasnodar territory and Adygeya and Elbrus in Kabardino-Balkaria – is a priority project of the federal authorities. There will be also modern spa and beach clusters.
The alpine skiing tracks will be 898 kilometers long. There will be 179 ropeways and hotels for 89,000 people. The investments may reach one trillion rubles within ten years, and about 300,000 jobs will be created.
The North Caucasus has unique nature. It is the tallest mountain ridge in Russia with five peaks exceeding 5,000 meters above the sea level. The most famous of them is the Elbrus. There are plenty of unique plants, animals and birds in Caucasian highlands and valleys.
The development of modern, well-planned and environmentally friendly resorts will help preserve unique nature of the Caucasus, in the opinion of authoritative Russian environmentalists.
The Russian government intends to expand the tourism zone of the North Caucasus through the coastal territory of the Caspian Sea in Dagestan and Mineralnye Vody in the Stavropol region. It also studies the possibility to put on the list Ingushetia’s Jeirakh region.
Experts say the investment potential of the tourism cluster in the North Caucasus may amount to one trillion roubles.