Adygeya to supply gas to Lagonaki – prospective North Caucasian resort

MAIKOP, September 6 (Itar-Tass) —— The Adygeya authorities plan to build gas pipelines to the foothills where Lagonaki and some other prospective resorts of the North Caucasian tourist cluster will be built.

It is possible to lay a high-pressure gas pipeline to a town close to Lagonaki. Due to the complexity of the further laying of the gas pipe to the highland area, it will be better to bring gas to Lagonaki in cylinders, an expert from Adygregiongaz told Itar-Tass.

The final decision will be made when the boundaries of the new resort are specified. The North Caucasian Resorts Company said that it was coordinating the boundaries with the authorities of Adygeya and the Krasnodar territory. The company needs land to start the construction of tourist facilities, and these lands must not belong to nature parks.

Meanwhile, Karachayevo-Cherkessia has started the development of the Arkhyz resort, which may receive up to 1.5 million tourists per year. The total number of tourists visiting the North Caucasus may reach from five to ten million, Chairman of the North Caucasian Resorts Corporation Board of Directors Akhmed Bilalov said last week as he witnessed the installation of the first pillar of the Arkhyz ropeway earlier in the week.

“Hopefully, Arkhyz will become the best resort in Russia and in Europe some day,” he said, adding that the best construction technologies were being used. “Investments in the Arkhyz project are estimated at $3 billion. The project will double the gross regional product of Karachayevo-Cherkessia by 2020,” he said.

The most difficult job – the construction of power and gas lines and roads – has been done, and the development of alpine infrastructure and hotels will begin now, Bilalov said. The government makes investments in the infrastructure. A small airfield may be built near the resort; so far the closest airport is located 200 kilometers away, in Mineralnye Vody.

In addition, the corporation is establishing a joint venture with the French state holding Caisse des Depots et Consignations. The joint venture’s authorized capital may near $2 billion. It will acquire and assemble ropeways throughout the North Caucasian resorts.

“We will offer eco-tourism together with alpine skiing, beaches and spas to people visiting the North Caucasus,” Corporation Deputy General Director Rostislav Murzagulov told Itar-Tass earlier.

Three hotels, a ropeway and two alpine skiing tracks will open in Arkhyz this winter, he said. “By the end of the skiing season, we will offer eco-tourist routes to those who like to spend a summer in the mountains,” he said.

“The North Caucasus has unique nature. It is the tallest mountain ridge in Russia with five peaks exceeding 5,000 meters above the sea level. The most famous of them is the Elbrus. There are plenty of unique plants, animals and birds in Caucasian highlands and valleys,” he said.

Security of tourists is a special issue, he noted. “Tourism in the Caucasus is closely linked to security, and every decision concerning the tourist cluster is considered in this light,” he said. “The president and the prime minister said that security must be comprehensive in the development of tourism in the North Caucasus.”

Israeli specialists are developing the security concept for the North Caucasian resorts.

Israel was successful in the provision of security, Bilalov said. “What they are doing for the state of Israel really works. There was only one terror act in Jerusalem over the past seven years, while 42 terror acts happened within one year there before,” he noted.

“There is a whole set of measures, including security agents and technical means, such as drones and video cameras. It works [in Israel], so why can’t it work here. We will bear some of the expenditures, the state will bear some and law enforcers will make their contribution,” he said.

“Obviously, no one will come here if there is no security although the opinion that the crime rate is high in the Caucasus is mostly a stereotype,” he said. “For instance, the number of grave crimes committed in Dagestan is smaller than in some other regions in Russia. The media takes any killing in the Caucasus as news while a killing in some other region is regarded as nothing special,” he said.

Israeli specialists are ready to take active part in the development and installation of a comprehensive security system for the North Caucasian tourist cluster, Israeli police gen., ElbitSecurity Systems consultant Miki Levi told reporters earlier.

“We can guarantee security of tourists in the Caucasus. It takes a year, maximum 1.5 years, to create a security system for every resort,” he said. “It is insufficient to buy our equipment and technologies. Professional experience is very important”.

ElbitSecurity is providing comprehensive security solutions for state and private sectors in Israel and clients in Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa and South America.

The Corporation will reconstruct the tourist and mountain climbing routes that existed in the former Soviet Union. “It could be either quiet walks or horse riding to admire the nature and to learn more about people, the history and traditions of the region,” he said. “We can offer rafting, climbing or cave tours, as well,” Murzagulov said.

The construction of five alpine skiing resorts in the North Caucasus – Matlas in Dagestan, Mamison in North Ossetia, Arkhyz in Karachayevo-Cherkessia, Lagonaki in the Krasnodar territory and Adygeya and Elbrus in Kabardino-Balkaria – is a priority project of the federal authorities. There will be also modern spa and beach clusters.

The alpine skiing tracks will be 898 kilometers long. There will be 179 ropeways and hotels for 89,000 people. The investments may reach one trillion rubles within ten years, and about 300,000 jobs will be created.

The development of modern, well planned and environmentally friendly resorts will help preserve unique nature of the Caucasus, in the opinion of authoritative Russian environmentalists.

“The level of environmental awareness of residents of the North Caucasus is an important guarantee of nature conservancy,” head of the North Ossetian environmental organization, Green Alania, Kazbek Dzliyev said. “Our republic alone has more than 20 environmental organizations. They are rather active and have an influence on state bodies providing environmental monitoring and control,” he said.

Another important focus of the tourism cluster is infrastructure. France will contribute one billion euros to the joint venture developing North Caucasian resorts of Russia, according to Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina.

“That is a very weighty contribution. Hopefully, the joint venture will be a locomotive of the project,” she said. Nabiullina expects the joint venture to be formed before the end of this year.

The cluster will spur on the development of airports and other means of transport in the area.

It is planned to use existent railroad lines for transporting up to 60% of all tourists visiting the North Caucasus. It is also planned to build new railroad lines in the development of the regional tourism cluster. There are railroad terminals in Beslan, Prokhladny, Ust-Jegutam, Cherkessk, Khadzhokh and Alagir. These terminals will have special zones for tourists, as well as integrated information systems and links to the airports.

The Mineralnye Vody International Airport will be the main air hub of the prospective North Caucasian tourist cluster.

The airport will meet modern demands and have two runways, which will operate under any weather conditions with high endurance. Any types of domestic and foreign aircraft will be able to use the airport, which will provide worthy aero-navigation and telecommunication services.

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