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State support of tourism - impetus for foreign investors - Bilalov

December 01, 2011, 7:29 UTC+3

The government “is ready to provide guarantees and to support businesses, which is a mighty impetus for foreign investors,” he continued

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MOSCOW, December 1 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s state support of businesses in tourism has become a mighty impetus for foreign investors, Russia’s senator and chairman of the North Caucasus Resorts state-run corporation Akhmed Bilalov told a round table.

“We do not have to persuade businesses to invest in development of the North Caucasus cluster,” he said. “If there are necessary conditions ready, an investor will be more than willing to come to invest in the region’s infrastructures.”

The government “is ready to provide guarantees and to support businesses, which is a mighty impetus for foreign investors,” he continued. “Major foreign projects used this approach, I mean the state-private partnership.”

“The mechanisms, we have organised while working on organisation of a tourism cluster in the North Caucasus, make a construction, which we expect many investors to join in future,” he said. “The North Caucasus Cluster project is very important for development of the tourism sector not only in the North Caucasus itself, but for the entire country.”

Here, the main problem “we are facing during implementation of the project is the problem of qualified staff,” Bilalov continued. “There are two ways to solve the problem: either by organisation of a separate educational institution to train both Russian and foreign specialists in tourism, or to place an order with private and state universities to train specialists.”

“We may follow the experience of France, where tourism specialists are trained for six years and after graduation they are universal specialists who may be guides, or may provide first medical aid.”

During the meeting, Russia’s presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Alexander Khloponin said that “tourism is the economy’s private sector, and the approaches here should be based on business requirements, as businesses like no one else know what the sector needs.”

Russia’s Deputy Minister of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy Nadezhda Nizina stressed that “the human resources issue is one of most important problems of tourism.” She expressed confidence that there should be legally binding requirements for staff of tourism industry.

“A legally formalised set of requirements should improve quality of hospitality business,” she said adding that “Russia should have obligatory classification of its all hotels.”

“Sochi has introduced obligatory classification of its hotels from July 1,” she continued. “This is a correct approach and we hope that the State Duma will adopt soon a law on obligatory classification of hotels.”

The discussion on development of tourism in Russia on the basis of the state-private partnership was initiated by the Popular committee of President Dmitry Medvedev’s allies in the framework of the Big Government with the support from the North Caucasus Resorts company.

Following the discussion, organisers will prepare their suggestions to be presented to Russia’s president. The suggestions will focus on modernisation of management system in Russia’s tourism sector.

Earlier in November, The development company overseeing construction of a massive system of ski, beach and natural heath spa resorts covering 50,000 square kilometres in the North Caucasus Mountains, stretching 1,200 kilometres from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea and bordering Asia, was named the first Russian winner ever of a renowned MIPIM global real estate competition.

“Asia-Pacific investors seeking to diversify outside their domestic markets to mitigate risk and secure higher returns will find great opportunity within our unique plan for developing a sustainable tourism industry in the mountains on our country’s southern border with Asia,” Akhmed Bilalov said. “We expect many also will be attracted to the chance to participate in the first major step in a proposed new national strategy to use public-private initiatives in tourism to spur much-needed economic growth in depressed regions of the Russian Federation.”

Moscow-based North Caucasus Resorts was established in December of 2010 to drive the massive tourism project, which will create up to 300,000 new jobs.

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