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DAVOS: Russian Government Calls for International Partners in $15bn Development of Ski Tourism in North Caucasus

by January 26, 2011 Affairs

AsiaNet 42987

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ —

– North Caucasus Resorts Company (NCRC) incorporated to manage $15bn public-private investment in five new ski resorts in the Caucasus

– President Medvedev: “Peak 5642 is going to transform the Caucasus.”

– Akhmed Bilalov, Vice-President of the Russian Olympic Committee, appointed Chairman of the Board of NCRC: “Terrorists achieve nothing – We won’t consider for one moment pulling back from our project”

– First phase of plans to be presented at Davos event tonight

The North Caucasus Resorts Company (NCRC), the newly-incorporated state enterprise charged by the Russian Federal Government with implementing a $15 billion programme called Peak 5642 to develop mountain resorts in the Caucasus, will tonight present the first phase of its plans to investors.

At an event taking place at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Akhmed Bilalov, Vice-President of the Russian Olympic Committee, appointed Chairman of the Board of NCRC, will speak about the benefits the developments will bring to the Caucasus, and reveal the Company’s plans, which will see five new ski resorts ready to receive first visitors as early as 2014.

“Peak 5642 is going to transform the Caucasus,” said President Medvedev who delayed his visit to Davos after the bombing at the Moscow airport Domodedovo. “It will show how we can beat poverty and terrorism with tourism. In 2014 the world will descend on Sochi, and we want the world to keep coming back.”

Parts of the Caucasus have endured years of armed conflict and terrorist activity, which have led to under-investment in the region, unemployment and emigration. It is hoped that Peak 5642 will significantly contribute to a turnaround in the regional economy, which will bring about social benefits, including deterrence against terrorism.

The project aims to turn the largely-undeveloped Caucasus mountains into a world-class tourism destination. The region’s proximity to Asia means it is increasingly accessible to a large and fast-growing market of skiers, while its 240-day winters, plentiful snow, natural spas and stunning scenery can offer strong competition for both Russian and EU holidaymakers in the crowded and expensive resorts of the Alps. It is also expected that the investment will encourage more Russians to take up skiing. Currently only 2% of Russians practice the sport.

Following Monday’s terrorist attacks at Moscow airport, Akhmed Bilalov said: “‘The events in Moscow have been a terrible reminder of the dangers of militancy. NCRC and its partners won’t consider for one moment pulling back from our project. What do terrorists achieve for the Caucasus by blowing people up? Nothing – they are nihilists. NCRC, on the other hand, carries an ideal to improve the lives of the people of the Caucasus.”

NCRC’s role is to attract and manage investment in infrastructure and businesses in five resort areas, including at Mount Elbrus, the tallest mountain in Europe, where the second highest ski resort in the world will be constructed, at 4,164m. The other four resorts will be at Arkhyz (3,071m) in Karachai-Circassia where construction began this month, Lagonaki (2,450m) in the state of Adygea, Mamison (3,732m) in North Ossetia, and Matlas (2,767m) in Dagestan.

The NCRC targets five million visitors a year to the region by 2020, up from one million currently. The new resorts will accommodate up to 150,000 people a day, with hotel accommodation for 90,000 people, priced competitively at an average $50 a night. A ski pass allowing access to all the resorts will cost approximately $20-30 per day.

At tonight’s event, Bilalov will detail NCRC’s plans to short-list and select international partners through 2011 to investors. Partners are sought in the following categories: Investment banking, Audit, Global marketing, Infrastructure, Environmental sustainability, Public transport, Hotels and hospitality, Retail, Ski and winter sports infrastructure, Summer sports infrastructure.

Bilalov said, “There are plenty of examples from around the world of how tourism can successfully be developed in areas with high security risks. Look at Turkey, Egypt and Israel. We are also offering very attractive guarantees on investments.”

The Federal Government has established the region as a Special Economic Zone, with a preferential tax, customs and visa regime for foreign workers.

Source: North Caucasus Resorts Company