Chechnya is developing tourism

Vladimir Savelyev, 23.11.2013 22:48
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According Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, immediate attention is being paid to fostering tourism in the country. Local authorities have launched two major investment projects – ‘Veduchi’ and ‘Kezenoy-am’. In addition to that, the Chechen tourism committee is to hold a publicity event for travel agencies in the middle of November.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya, strongly believes that there are vast opportunities for developing tourism in the Republic. 

“I see no end to what our country has to offer travel-wise. Pristine nature, herds of goats and roe deer traversing mountainsides, majestic waterfalls several hundred meters high. We have our work cut out for us and we are up for it,” Kadyrov writes on his Instagram page.

According to him two promising projects – ‘Veduchi’ and ‘Kezenoy-am’ – are being realized right now.

“I am sure that soon the Chechen Republic is bound to become the tourist center of Russia,” stated the head of the Republic.

The high-priority investment projects for Chechnya are ‘Veduchi’ ski resort in Itum-Kalinsky district and sport and tourism complex ‘Kezenoy-am’, situated on the mountain lake of the same name. Also on this list are ‘Sernovodsk-Kavkazskij’ resort in Sernovodsk and ‘Vodolechebnicza’ recreation center in Grozny.

It should be noted that this month, on the order of the Russian government, ‘Veduchi’ resort got the status of a tourist-recreational special economic zone (SEZ), which in its turn formed a part of the tourist cluster in North Caucasian Federal District, Krasnodar Krai and the Republic of Adygea.

‘Veduchi’ had not been a part of this cluster, but in June of 2012 Dmitry Medvedev promised Ramzan Kadyrov to include Chechnya in the network.

‘Veduchi’ was a welcome addition to an already extensive range of the North Caucasus tourist cluster resorts, which include Lagonaki (the Republic of Adygea), Arkhyz (the Karachay-Cherkess Republic), Elbrus-Besengi (Kabardino-Balkaria), Mamison (the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania) and Matlas (Dagestan).
 
Tourism and recreation complex ‘Veduchi’ will take up 800 hectares. Its lowest point is 2.850 meters above sea level, the highest being 3.500 meters. The investment project plan includes creating 19 ski runs with the overall length of 46 km (the longest run will stretch for 12.6 km), building a hotel complex of 400 rooms, 20 chalets resembling old Caucasian towers and a number of other tourist facilities. 

The complex is projected to become fully operational in 3 years. It will be an all-year-round resort.

The inclusion of all-season tourism and recreation complex ‘Veduchi’ in the tourist cluster project is a momentous occasion for the Chechen Republic and for ‘Northern Caucasus Resorts’. Now the project spans all the regions of North Caucasian Federal District. It plays a great part in coordinating work on creating all-year-round recreational facilities that are united by a shared concept, development strategy and objectives,” said Sergei Vereshchagin, the CEO of OJSC ‘Northern Caucasus Resorts’.

According to him, putting the tourist cluster project into life can improve the socio-economic state of the North Caucasian Federal District regions and the welfare of their population.

After all ski resorts become operational the total length of all ski runs will amount to 1097 km, and ski lifts will be 228 km long. The daily capacity of the resorts will reach 172 thousand tourists.

Russian president Vladimir Putin is of the opinion that the main ‘selling point’ of the North Caucasian resorts should be ‘peerless service of the highest class.’

We should note that the building of ‘Veduchi’ is a stepping stone in the program for advancing Chechnya that is being actively carried out by the Republic’s government. In addition, Chechnya offers investors lots of promising projects having to do with tourism.

The Chechen authorities are planning to renovate Grozny Airport and to renew the fleet of a carrier company called ‘Grozny Avia’, which at the moment consists of ‘Yak’ planes. For the domestic Russian flights the acquisition of CRG planes is planned for the near future, as well as buying a few airbuses.

The head of Chechnya considers spreading information an integral aspect of tourist-attraction process.

By way of response to his sentiment the Tourism committee of the Chechen government is organizing a publicity event for tourist agencies that is scheduled to take place from the 15th to 17th of November. The program includes a short tour of Grozny, visiting mountain lake Kezenoy-am, the Argun Gorge, and the ancient city of Khoy, as well as attending the conference ‘Chechnya: Sales peculiarities’.

The main expert of the tourism development department of the Tourism committee, Elina Bataeva, told TRN magazine that initially only 15 tourism insiders were slated for participation, but the interest for the occasion exceeded all expectations. 

We already have more than 100 applications from travel companies and agencies. Aside from that there are also about 80 applications from journalists and bloggers. In light of such high demand we have decided to raise the limit of participants to 30, but the price for additional 15 openings is 9.000 rubles each,” she said. Elina Bataeva told TRN that the Tourism committee was established this year in January, and before that there had been no one to gather information on tourism in Chechnya.

We were able to gather the country’s entry data for the past 4 years, and the statistic is as follows: 6.227 Russian citizens and 123 foreigners stayed in Chechen hotels in 2011, in 2012 this number grew – 16.368 Russians and 3.451 foreigners, and during this year’s first quarter the numbers were 2.532 and 93 respectively. How many of them were tourists is unknown, as well as which portion used the private sector for their stay,” she said.    

Another way one can get a sense of the tourist ebb and flow scope is by looking at the arrival statistic for mountain lake Kezenoy-am. According to a local checkpoint, 8.000 tourists visited the lake in 2012 and 20.000 in 2013.

We have asked experts on domestic tourism for their opinion on Chechnya as a place for mass tourism.

Maxim Igumensev, the manager of the company called Russian Discovery, had also applied for the publicity event in Chechnya. He thinks that the region has its problems, but at the same time holds a lot of promise.

“The tourism is still nascent there, so one will be hard-pressed to expect organized tours to the Republic being arranged any time soon,” he said.

The CEO of ‘Delfin’ travel agency Anatoly Romashkin had this to say to TRN: “As of yet, there is no demand for tourism in Chechnya, which is why we are not going to participate in promoting this destination. Naturally, there are plenty of opportunities for skiing in winter (although the skiing complex is still incomplete), but what is there to keep tourists occupied in summer? The overwhelming majority of Russian tourists are at a loss when it comes to finding entertainment in the mountains during summer, as opposed to Europe, where there has long existed a strong tradition of summer tourism.”
Страны, регионы и города: Russia
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