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Russian, Crimean travel chiefs prepare for high season on Black Sea coast

March 18, 2014, 1:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 18, /ITAR-TASS/. Tour operators from Russia and Crimea will address the Russian Culture Ministry with a letter proposing measures of support for the upcoming summer season on the Crimean peninsula, Olga Sanayeva, the head of the Regional Council of Russia’s Travel Industry Union, said on Monday.

“We should act expeditiously,” Sanayeva said.

She noted that Russian and Crimean tourism officials signed a number of cooperation agreements following the results of a tourism forum entitled ‘Crimea - First Spring’, held in Crimea’s capital Simferopol from March 14 and devoted to the strengthening of Crimea’s positions in the Russian tourism market.

Russia’s Travel Industry Union and Association of Tour Operators of Crimea and Sevastopol agreed to join forces to develop Crimea as an all-year resort. They signed a cooperation agreement stipulating the sharing of experience and joint participation in workshops and exhibitions.

Boris Zelinsky, the president of the Association of Tour Operators of Crimea and Sevastopol, said the meeting in Sevastopol had turned out to be very productive and proved that “the Russian side was ready to help Crimea’s tourism industry in practice”.

“It is very good that representatives from different regions have managed to get acquainted with health resorts and tourist infrastructure of the peninsula and to assess themselves the overall potential,” Zelinsky said.

“Participants in the forum have agreed to develop air and ferry transportation across the Kerch Straight (connecting Crimea and Russia’s Krasnodar Region). The round-trip airfare should not exceed 5,000 roubles (about 140 dollars),” he said. “There are two airports on the peninsula - in Sevastopol and Simferopol. They are in normal conditions and can deal with the flow of tourists.”

Russia’s regions also signed separate contracts with Crimea’s health resorts, Zelinsky said. There are plans to actively promote the Crimean itinerary in Russia as a tourist destination.

The Crimean authorities have promised to ensure comfort and security of guests on the peninsula that has been a top-rated cluster of seaside and mountainous resorts since the beginning of the 19th century.

According to official data, about six million tourists travel to the Crimean Black Sea coast annually. Market operators estimate that about two million of them are Russians. There are about 15,000 restaurants and caf·s in Crimea today, 825 hotels and health resorts and about 4,500 private lodging facilities. The tourism industry generates almost 40 billion Ukrainian hryvnias ($4 billion).

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