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16 Feb, 2009 09:14

Spare your holidays for the homeland

With the rouble falling, Russians are expected to avoid foreign holiday destinations during the summer tourist season this year, and small family-run hotels in the Russian Black Sea resorts are hoping to cash in.

Most of the hotels of the Black Sea resort of Anapa are empty in the winter season, so staff mostly clean and redecorate.

“We are giving additional training to our staff, everyone from waiters to cooks. We try to catch up with the world’s best standards of service,” says hotel director Dmitry Pastushenko.

Anapa is a resort on Russia's Black Sea coast, famous for its mild climate. The city has an average of 286 days of sun a year, which draws in crowds of Russian tourists.

Anapa's pride is a 42 kilometre-long-beach which is, according to many, an ideal family vacation area. It is crowded by mid-summer and the locals must do a lot to prepare for the high season.

Anapa’s 800 travel agencies prepare for a different summer season this year. As the rates of the dollar and the euro continue to climb, the industry has high hopes for domestic resorts.

The acting mayor of Anapa says the city is well-prepared to compete with neighbouring Turkish and Greek resorts, and hopes foreign visitors will flock to taste what it has to offer.

“We offer comfort first of all, from 5-star to economy class hotels, and it suitable for just about any visitor,” says Anapa's acting mayor Tatyana Yevsikova.

By early May most small hotels will complete all building and renovation work.

With rates starting from just $US 20 a night, and a serious attempt to improve the quality of service, people are determined to put Anapa on the global travel map.