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6 Jul, 2007 13:15

Sochi developement plan fleshes out

Sochi’s victorious Olympic bid team returns to Russia from Guatemala as massive construction work on the venues for the 2014 Winter Games gets underway. Sochi has to construct from scratch the majority of the 11 sporting complexes needed for the games.

Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref, who also arrived at Vnukovo airport says Sochi won the bid due to the support of 115 MLN Russian people.
“This is our common victory. No one person could have won such a hard race. I’d like to thank everybody who participated and those who supported us. One of the decisive factors was that 115 MLN people supported the bid. Their support has affected the IOC members’ decision and gave strength to those who dealt with this project,” Mr Gref said.
$US 12 BLN dollars have been allocated by Russia’s government for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. In order to keep a close eye on progress, the organisers are providing live online monitoring of all the construction sites. That way the IOC members will be assured preparations are on target for 2014.
There is already an international airport, several hotels that's started renovation and dozens of other sites where construction is already underway. Billions of dollars will be spent on transportation, infrastructure and communications. For both the federal and local authorities it appears to be very important to make the future Olympics an unforgettable experience for over 200,000 sports fans.
It is expected that Sochi’s tourism industry will boom when the new facilities are built. In the summer millions of people come to the Russian Black Sea resort, but during the winter time the number drops by 90%.

“We are learning by visiting the best resorts of the world and I think that in time, in about five years Sochi will become the best resort in the world,” Viktor Kolodyazhny, the Mayor of Sochi, claims.

And the Deputy Mayor of Sochi, Irina Badayan, believes, “Economy of our town will develop and that means it will become richer and have bigger budget. Of course living here will become more expensive. But, as a person responsible for the social issues in this region, I am sure that having considerably richer budget, we will have means to support old and disabled citizens of our city.”

Meanwhile, bordering republics of North Ossetia and Abkhazia, and many CIS states – the former members of the Soviet Union – have offered support and help in developing the region.

Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, believes the Olympics should lead to improved security in the region.
“There'll be a need for quite a lot of investments to secure that the arenas and the whole area is suitable for good sports. But of course it is essential to ensure that security is protected. That will be one of the key challenges for the authorities. Of course people that are interested in terrorist acts see the Olympic Games as one of the possibilities for them to strike. That has to be prevented certainly,” Mr Hammarberg said.