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MOSCOW, January 11. /TASS/. Infrastructure should be built in the North Caucasus so that regional resorts could develop, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with cabinet members.
"Infrastructure issues are the main obstacle hindering the development of winter resorts in the North Caucasus. I hope these issues will be solved by 2021, when main regional projects are scheduled to be completed, so our citizens will receive another opportunity to spend their vacation in Russia’s North Caucasus," the president noted.
Minister for the North Caucasus Affairs Lev Kuznetsov reported to the president that the tourist inflow to the Elbrus and Arkhyz Alpine skiing resorts in the North Caucasus had been growing in the past few years. "The tourist inflow has been growing by tens of percentages. In the first eight months of 2016, the number of people visiting Arkhyz increased by 46% compared with 2015, while the number of tourists visiting Elbrus grew by 40%," the minister elaborated.
"This year, we plan to launch the Veduchi resort in the Chechen Republic," Kuznetsov said.
He noted that thanks to the high quality of their skiing infrastructure, the North Caucasus resorts were becoming competitive and were taking up their rightful place on the tourism market. "For instance, last year, we launched a 3,847-meter high chair lift in Elbrus, which is the highest chair lift in Europe," Kuznetsov noted. He added that according to statistics, first-year skiers made up more than half of the tourists who visited the North Caucasus Alpine skiing resorts last year. The minister pointed to free ski training for school children and free ski passes for specific groups of young tourists.
"It is very important that despite inflationary tendencies, we did not raise prices to preserve the availability of our resorts, we did not raise the price of ski passes," the minister added, saying that this season’s ski pass costs 15,000 rubles (roughly $250) while a one-day ski pass is 500 rubles (roughly $8). On the whole, in his words, the North Caucasus resorts development project has turned out to be a success so new investments are planned to be made in this industry this year.