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Big business and leisure meet in Sochi

An international investment forum has officially kicked off in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Around 10,000 people from about 60 Russian regions and 30 foreign delegations from the CIS countries, Asia, the EU, China, and Japan are expected to take part.

For several days the city turns into the place where politics and business meet. Russia’s prime summer resort and the Winter Olympics 2014 Host City, Sochi is casting itself as a major business magnet. For the past five years it’s been playing host to what’s grown into the country’s top investment fair.

“This international economic forum in Sochi is improving from year to year, so it is very interesting for us to present out sport and tourism complex for investors, for the mass media,” commented Stanislav Korolyov, Gornaya Karusel project.

The Gornaya Karusel’s sports and tourism complex will be up and running by 2012. Hotels, ski lifts and a media village for the 2014 Winter Olympics are in the making. With a price tag of $US 800 MLN, it’s a part of the bid to turn Sochi into a world class international resort.

Investors are prepared to sign $US 10 billion worth of agreements at the forum, which shows that a fairly stable positive investment climate has been created in the country, and the recent dismissal of the government is not worrying investors.

German Gref
Acting Trade Minister

This is only one of the hundreds of projects on display there. The first Sochi forum six years ago attracted about 500 participants. Last year it broke all previous records – more than 4,000 attended, the worth of deals made was about $US 5 BLN. This year approximately 230 agreements are expected to be signed at the forum.

“It’s a very good place for having such business get-togethers. Sochi is the future Olympic capital and a well-known city. The weather is also great – you can combine work and leisure,” noted Aleksandr Remezkov from Krasnodar Region administration.

Moreover, it is the so-called ‘velvet season’ now – the intense heat is gone but the water is perfect. And with concerts and local cuisine and wine on offer, surely, it won’t be all about work.

Vladimir Ismailov from the Association of European Businesses in the Russian Federation says the forum will do much good in terms of allowing businessmen and government officials discuss developing the infrastructure in Russia’s regions: “This area – economical and social infrastructure – is very difficult to be developed by business alone. We would like to see the active role of the government supporting initiatives the business side and be a leader in this field,” he said.

“Our company participates in the forum for the third time. We are witnessing the positive changes in the city in general and the progress of the forum in particular,” notes Dmitry Shmelyov, Chief Commercial Officer of ST Grupp Region, one of the major constructors in Russia. The CEO of the company, Sergey Demin, says in his turn: “Taking into account 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the southern regions of Russia will be hot property right now.”