Krasnaya Polyana Shuts Down as Demand for Dombai and Elbrus Region Drops

Vladimir Savelyev, 27.01.2014 13:35
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Tour operator ‘Delfin’ focuses on Krasnaya Polyana in its Russian ski resort sales, the place that accounted for 90% of the last year’s sales.

Delfin’s General Director Sergei Romashkin told TRN: “In Krasnaya Polyana this year’s season started in mid-December, and already during the first ten days of January all the pistes in the four skiing zones were closed, which means that the sales were going on from December through the New Year holidays. Compared to the last year the tourist flow decreased threefold.”

According to him, as of yet there are no bookings for the end of March, when the Paralympic Games end.

I realize that the ski runs have been closed down for safety reasons, but it is not too considerate of tourists. For instance, before the Olympics in Vancouver some pistes were still available for skiing,” he said.

Romashkin expects booming sales for Krasnaya Polyana next year.

The expert believes that currently there is no equal substitute for this resort in Russia, which is why Delfin’s clients are now looking into holidays abroad.

The sales for Krasnaya Polyana are no less sluggish for ‘Roza Vetrov’. According to Deputy Domestic Tourism General Director Yelena Savchenko, they are all but non-existent.

The construction for the Olympics prevented tourists from coming in December, and during the New Year holidays hotel prices were too steep,” she said.

Yelena Savchenko added that the majority of big hotels in Krasnaya Polyana have four or five star rating, with only two or three 3* hotels in the locality. There are also small private hotels, but currently they are filled with Olympic construction workers.

Krasnaya Polyana holds a great deal of promise, it is truly a world-class resort,” says the deputy general director of Roza Vetrov. “However, there are so many four and five star hotels that they can be left without clients – few tourists can afford such expensive accommodation.”

Savchenko also said that the sales for the Elbrus Region and Dombai have been dropping 10-15% each year. This has to do both with terrorist threats and expensive air tickets. However, skiers from Krasnodar Krai and Rostov Oblast are very frequent visitors of these places.

Last season Roza Vetrov was selling tours to ski resorts of the Southern Urals, but this year it refused to do it again.

The reason for that is the policy of the local hotels. Their commission is too low – 7-10%, which requires us to either give 5% to agents or charge more for the hotels, and both of these options are contrary to our interests,” said Savchenko.

Director of SNP Ltd. Andrey Golovin, who sells tours to Dombai and the Elbrus Region, told TRN that in comparison to the number of skiers that used to come here five years ago, the tourist flow to these resorts is now three times lower. He attributes this drop to the terrorist threats that have been plaguing the North Caucasus.

There are plenty of housing options both in Dombai and in the Elbrus Region, but there is a pronounced shortage of ski lifts – no new ones have been built during the last 5-6 years. Even if the situation in the North Caucasus were stable, people would have to deal with long lines.”

Arkhyz, which is located in the Republic of Karachay–Cherkessia, is enjoying a strong demand this season, and it has had the first ski complex opened: 4 ski runs with the total length of 7.3 kilometers.

According to the General Director of JSC ‘Northern Caucasus Resorts’ Sergei Vereshchagin, 14.7 thousand ski passes have been sold in less than a month, which far exceeded the expected mark of 4-5 thousand. The bulk of the tourist flow is made up of tourists from the nearby regions.

Skiing in Arkhyz is 1.5 times less expensive than at the other resorts of the North Caucasus.

Seven ski resorts are slated to be built in the North Caucasus by 2020: Arkhyz, Elbrus-Besengi (Kabardino-Balkaria), Lagonaki (Krasnodar Krai, the Republic of Adygea), Mamison (the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania), Matlas (Dagestan), Tsori and Armkhi (the Republic of Ingushetia).

During the New Year holidays the record number of tourists was registered at the ski complex ‘Sheregesh’ in the south of Kuzbass. All hotels, along with the private sector, were sold out, and the rest of the tourists had to sleep in their cars.

Not only holidays yielded great results. The total number of tourists that were serviced since the beginning of the season (November 15) exceeded 400 thousand people. “This is the first time in the history of Tashtagolsky District that so many tourists came here,” say the representatives of the administration.

During the whole 2012-2013 season 512 thousand skiers were registered at the Shoriya ski resorts.

The calculation process consisted of multiplying the number of skiers who visited the pistes each day by the number of days.

According to Natalya Aylarova, Director of the Tour Operator ‘Shoriya’, the flight to Kuzbass still remains a pretty expensive affair for the tourists from the European part of Russia, but it has not prevented a great number of them from coming to Sherengesh.

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