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Lagonaki resort not to be built without UNESCO's okay

October 12, 2012, 16:29 UTC+3

The Lagonaki ski resort is part of the project to build a North Caucasian tourism cluster

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MOSCOW, October 12 (Itar-Tass) — The North Caucasus Resorts state company will not begin the construction of a ski resort in Lagonaki without coordinating its plans with UNESCO, as part of its territory is under UNESCO protection, the chairman of the company board of directors, Akhmed Bilalov, said on Friday.

“The Lagonaki ski resort is part of the project to build a North Caucasian tourism cluster, but there are also Russia’s international commitments, as well as federal and regional legislation. And we don’t intend to violate them,” Bilalov stressed in reply to an Itar-Tass query. “Nothing will be built in Lagonaki until all matters are settled with UNESCO,” he stressed.

The company official said North Caucasus Resorts makes work at the Lagonaki site envisaged by the Russian government instruction on the setting up of a special economic zone in that region, and this work is not at variance with any norms. “Cadastral work is underway. There is no construction work or even construction plans. But we are working in that direction with UNESCO in search for a coordinated decision,” Bilalov specified.

He said a routine mission of UNESCO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has visited Lagonaki one of these days. Company staffers presented detailed information on the project to build a tourism cluster in the North Caucasus, and in particular the Lagonaki resort in Adygea and the Krasnodar territory, as well as demonstrated that no design and survey work or construction is done in the area and will not be made without taking into account positions of all interested parties.

Bilalov stressed that the company “considers issues of ecological safety of the tourism cluster it builds in the south of Russia as priority ones, and the nature of the North Caucasus – as the main asset of the project”. “We intend to build most eco-friendly resorts in the world and our main task is to preserve the unique nature of the Caucasus,” he stressed.

The construction of alpine skiing resorts in the North Caucasus – Matlas in Dagestan, Mamison in North Ossetia, Arkhyz in Karachay-Cherkessia, Lagonaki in the Krasnodar territory, Elbrus-Bezengi in Kabardino-Balkaria as well as Tsori and Armkhi (Ingushetia) – is a priority project of the federal authorities due to be fulfilled by 2020. The alpine skiing tracks will be over 1,100 kilometers long. There will be 227 ropeways and hotels for 102,500 people. The resorts may receive 172,000 tourists on a daily basis.

There will be also modern spa and beach clusters. It is planned to build resorts on 200 kilometers of the Dagestani seashore, from Makhachkala to the Azerbaijani border. The project stipulates the construction of about 60 sport sites and about 40 tourism, social, business, hospitality and transport sites.

The North Caucasian tourism cluster, a public-private partnership project, may have 5-10 million tourist arrivals per year. The project implies the creation of up to 330,000 jobs.

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