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4 Aug, 2008 03:00

Altay looking to get onto the tourist map

Special tourist-recreation zones – a project of the Russian government – have been established in 7 regions of the country. The zones are designed to boost the share of tourism in Russia’s economy, with construction of recreational f

Sky-blue rivers and mountain peaks – why can’t Altay compete with the Alps? The organisers, state officials and businessmen representing the two regions believe it can and will be done. Aleksandr Arutyunov, President of Intourist, believes innovation is the key.

Russia has to introduce more innovative products to attract people from across the world and recreational zones in Altay are one of them.

The plan is to transform vast territories of pristine nature into a world-class tourist spot. One of the zones will be designed for family vacationing, the other one for adventure tourism. Soon slopes will be converted into ski resorts, and recreation centres will be constructed on riverbanks with an estimated 200,000 people expected to visit the region each year.

The private-state partnership projects will see 280 million euros of private investment in the next few years. Governor of the Altay region, Aleksandr Karlin, says the companies working on the projects will receive incentives from the regional government.

Companies which signed an agreement to work in the region will have administrative and tax preferences and a beneficial regime of land renting.

8 companies have already been granted residential status, with foreign investors also showing interest according to Vonplan Global Chairman, Kim Dae-Ki.

We brought our engineers and specialists to investigate the site and decide the amount of investment needed.

The Head of the state nanotechnology corporation has come to the region on a private visit. His Alemar investment financial corporation has already spent millions on the construction of an all-year-round resort and is ready to spend more. He says guarantees of state support will be needed if the project is to attract large numbers of investors.

We need an airport that can handle mid-range jets, a four-lane highway linking the Altay capital and the resort and power grids.

Officials stress that more than 800 million euros have already been allocated from the budget. The presentation was held on the day of the recent solar eclipse. Investors hope that auspicious event will prove a good omen for the project.