“Leave tourists’ bottoms alone” – Putin to North Caucasus

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered men in the North Caucasus to refrain from pinching female tourists’ bottoms.

Such behavior, the prime minister said, does the region’s image no good.

Putin also said that locals should work on dispelling the stereotype of Caucasian men as born worriers who will not condescend to serve visitors.

He pointed out that this had nothing to do with the local mentality, but was rather a sign of poor cultural standards.

Approximately 900 billion rubles ($30 billion) have been allocated to turning the restive Russian region into a major tourist destination.

The federal government is planning to turn the North Caucasus into a haven for skiers.

Five ski resorts will spring up in the Caucasus mountain range with investment help from Caisse des Depots et Consignations, a French state bank.

The project will be carried out over the next decade. It is expected to create about 300,000 jobs in the region.

Tourism specialists say the region has the potential to give even the most popular European resorts a run for their money.

“The skiing season there lasts longer than in Europe – sometimes till the end of April. It has slopes for different categories of skier, from beginner to professional,” Maya Lomidze, executive director of Tour Operators Association, told RT. “But the complete lack of infrastructure makes quality tourism there impossible. If the French manage to recreate here at least half of what attracts tourists to the French Alps, the demand will be huge. The only condition required here is to provide safety for the tourists.”

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