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Tour operators put Stalin's summer home in Sochi on program for Chinese visitors

February 02, 2015, 16:59 UTC+3 SOCHI

Dolphin therapy and Sochi mineral springs have also been put on the tourist package for Chinese visitors

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© ITAR-TASS/Viktor Klyushkin, Valery Matytsin

SOCHI, February 2. /TASS/. The summer house of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in southern Russia's Sochi resort city has been put on the list of a compulsory visit program for Chinese tourists, the head of a local tourist company said on Monday.

Stalin stayed at the villa, or "dacha", from 1937. It was later turned into a museum to preserve Stalin-era furniture and fittings alongside personal belongings and family photographs of the Soviet leader.

The most expensive item is an aluminum writing set, a gift of Mao Zedong.

Alexey Grachev, head of Sochi's tourism department, said the Black Sea resort's authorities planned to invite more Chinese tour operators and to launch direct flights between Sochi, Beijing and Changzhou.

Dolphin therapy and Sochi mineral springs have also been put on the tourist package for Chinese visitors. Moreover, Sochi tour companies have started calculating their prices in Chinese Yuan.

In mid-January, a group of Chinese tourism agents and reporters visited the city. Cui Shan, head of the Chinese delegation, said the flow of Chinese tourists to Russia was growing by 10-15% annually.

A total of 600,000 Chinese tourists visited Russia in 2014, she said. "Up to 3.5 million Chinese tourists annually visit European countries and all of them are potential Sochi guests," she added.

According to Sochi authorities and tourism companies, the former Olympic capital will be able to receive up to 2 million Chinese tourists annually if regular flights from China to Sochi are launched.

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