Agenda: Measures to develop domestic and inbound tourism in the North Caucasus Federal District.
Excerpts from Dmitry Medvedev’s opening remarks:
There are many opportunities for recreation in the Caucasus. Quite modern and comfortable conditions for tourists have been created in a number of cities and towns. But this is not the general rule yet.
The share of the tourism industry in global GDP is almost 10 percent. This is one of the most profitable sectors of the economy, which accounts for almost every 11th job. Additional sources of economic growth and new jobs – this is what the North Caucasus really needs. And the region has everything necessary for this: historical monuments, unique nature, beautiful mountains and ancient cities offer interesting and diverse recreation opportunities, and the health benefits of mineral springs are available year-round.
Three of the four most popular tourism types – mountain, spa, and cultural- historical – can be developed in the North Caucasus. Along with beach recreation, they account for 80 percent of the world tourist flow. In recent years, we have been persistent in creating alpine ski and health clusters here. We are implementing relevant federal targeted programmes and sections of state programmes, and establishing development institutions there, including the North Caucasus Development Corporation and Resorts of the North Caucasus. We have achieved some results. Last year, almost 1.5 million tourists visited resorts in the region. The alpine ski segment has seen the most significant growth – 50 percent (up to 500,000 people) in the past two years. However, according to experts, the North Caucasus is capable of hosting many more tourists – up to 10 million people a year.
To address this task, we need to broadly apply the project approach, with clear deadlines and target indicators, so that private investors understand the horizons of business planning. We should also focus on projects capable of improving the situation in the neighbouring regions. Speaking about alpine ski tourism, there are three projects: Arkhyz and Elbrus in Kabardino-Balkaria and Veduchi in Chechnya. Arkhyz is approaching the indicators of a good model ski resort.
The competition in alpine ski tourism is high, and the service standards are constantly improving. We must not be left behind in terms of quality, so we need qualified personnel and therefore must focus on their training and certification.
There are also some problems with life and health insurance for tourists.
There is a range of structures, including metal structures for chairlifts, which we order and purchase from abroad for a lot of money. It is quite possible to produce these structures inside the country or to agree with some major producers to establish some production sites in Russia.
The key project in spa tourism is the health cluster in the Caucasian Mineral Waters resort. This is a unique resort region, which has some infrastructure, but it is far from perfect. We need to improve the infrastructure in terms of services and treatment. Our goal is to make the Caucasian Mineral Waters resort a driver of developing health tourism.
Some 3,500 historical and cultural monuments and unique nature complexes are located here. We should involve them into the tourism industry, so that tourists are able to get necessary information about them and visit them.