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Russian govt to consider prospects for development of Sochi resort cluster

March 31, 2015, 4:51 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 31. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is expected to chair a conference on development of tourist facilities and mountain skiing infrastructure in the Sochi area that will bring together a number of high-ranking government officials on Tuesday, the government press service said on Monday.

The list of participants includes Deputy Prime Ministers Arkady Dvorkovich, Dmitry Kozak, and Alexander Khloponin, Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi, Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev, and Krasnodar territory Governor Alexander Tkachev.

A week ago, President Vladimir Putin came up with support for an idea of expanding the Roza Khutor mountain skiing resort in the Sochi. He discussed the project at a meeting with Vladimir Potanin, the president of Interros holding company.

"It’d be important to provide good transports routes to the gorge," Putin said. "A road can be built right inside the gorge, a little bit upwards. It can be financed either by the federal or regional authorities and private investors can join in somewhat later."

Along with it, Putin said implementation of the project should follow a unified plan.

"The infrastructural base is already there and it should be expanded now," he said. "We plan its expansion towards the National Park and strictly in the framework of existing legislations, which means no ecological norms will be violated."

Putin said he had in mind the recreational territories of the National Park, adding: "This is fully legitimate and even reasonable from the point of view of the park’s development.

Vladimir Potanin said, on his part, the data he had indicated that the infrastructure of resorts making up the Sochi cluster stood in need of active development. The pistes of Roza Khutor alone were visited by 5,000 to 10,000 mountain skiers daily, he said in this connection.

"The pistes are overcrowded and hotels are booked up to full capacity," Potanin said. "A problem has cropped up this year, as we can’t service everyone wishing to get there and visitors had to queue up to get to the chairlifts. Crowds of visitors were noted on the slopes, too."

Putin proposed to introduce unified tickets for all the chairlift routes in the Krasnaya Polyana area. "Whatever the difficulties in making arrangements by various private companies, it’s important to give our tourists and holidaymakers an opportunity to use a single ski pass as they move from one resort to another."

Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov believes no less than 5 million holidaymakers will come to the Sochi areas this year.

In 2014, the local hotels and holiday centers accommodated a record 5.18 million visitors. Another 500,000 visitors were not accounted by the statistics as they stayed on private lodgings or with their locally residing relatives or friends.

According to Pakhomov, an average room occupancy rate at across the Sochi hotels and holiday centers was 71% at the beginning of January. The fact means that Sochi, the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, has turned into a resort functioning round the year, he said.

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