SOCHI, February 10. /ITAR-TASS/. President Vladimir Putin said the surge of interest in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi, which is playing host to the Olympic Winter Games now, should be capitalized on to turn it into a positive trend.
“It is important to make sure that everything that has been created over the past six to seven years is used effectively and properly as the flow of tourists grows,” Putin said at a meeting with the Sochi 2014 Public Council on Monday, February 10.
“We see a booming interest in Sochi. And we should understand what else apart from the new facilities can attract tourists,” the president said.
He believes that the Olympic Games would be only the first step, but the trend needs to be developed further. “It must be carried on,” he added.
Putin stressed that the infrastructure created in Sochi over the last several years would help bring in tourists and noted that the number of hotel rooms had doubled. “Major hotel chains have come here, and they are creating conditions that will help redirect tourist flows from other Black Sea resorts to here,” Putin said, adding that these were economic, not administrative, methods to attract tourists.
“I think we can achieve this goal and make Sochi an all-season resort,” he said.
The president said that the project to develop Sochi and the whole of the Krasnodar Territory, of which it is a part, had proved successful.
“On the whole, the project has proved successful, at least in the sense that we built and did everything we planned to build and do,” he said.
The president noted that “an enormous amount of work” had been done, much of which had been planned back in the 1980s as part of the region development program.
“At the same time, even such a big country - it was 40 percent bigger that today’s Russia in terms of area and economy - even the Soviet Union could not implement that project. But we did it and used the Olympic Games as a pretext for allocating necessary resources for the development of Greater Sochi and the whole coast,” Putin said.
He said that auditing agencies should look into the Olympic expenses to see whether they were overstated or not. “Indeed, very large amounts of money were invested. Let us not say now whether it was worth doing it and whether the prices were overstated or not. Let the auditing agencies do it, and they will do it,” the president said.
He expressed hope that the infrastructure “will serve people for decades to come and maybe even hundreds of years as it does in some European countries.”
Putin noted that it had taken years for other countries to create similar infrastructure, but Sochi did it in five to seven years.