Mineralnye Vody Airport to be modernized for N-Caucasian tourist cluster

PYATIGORSK, August 2 (Itar-Tass) —— 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, a source at the North Caucasian Resorts Company told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

Any types of domestic and foreign aircraft will be able to use the airport, which will provide worthy aero-navigation and telecommunication services.

It will be possible for tourists to use airports in Krasnodar, Vladikavkaz, Maikop and Makhachkala, which will be modernized, as well.

The construction of new airfields in the direct proximity to the future resorts is under consideration.

At present, the Mineralnye Vody Airport provides flights to and from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk, Murmansk, Novosibirsk and Khabarovsk, as well as Germany, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia.

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 North Caucasian Resorts State Corporation was formed for implementing the project, and Akhmed Bilalov was put in charge. The investments may reach one trillion rubles within ten years, and about 300,000 jobs will be created.

An environmental council of Russian and foreign environmentalists and the public will be formed by this September to ensure efficient public control over the compliance with ecological norms in the development of the tourist zones, Corporation Deputy General Director Rostislav Murzagulov said earlier. “We invite everyone who cares about this issue to take part in the council activity. The Caucasus needs this attention. Unorganized tourism may cause an environmental catastrophe while we are finding out who is right and who is wrong,” he said.

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.

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 North Caucasian tourist cluster will become a good example of public-private partnership, she said. “Private capital can and must come to the tourist industry,” she added.

A decision to form the Russian-French joint venture developing North Caucasian resorts before the end of this year was made a week ago at a meeting of the bilateral working group of the North Caucasian Resorts State Corporation and the French State Holding Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDS).

“The sides confirmed their intention to choose the organizational and legal form of the joint venture and its key areas by September 2011. The joint venture will be formed by the end of this year,” a source at the North Caucasian Resorts Corporation told Itar-Tass. The permanent representative of the French company has started working in Russia, he noted.

The Russian corporation and CDS signed the cooperation agreement at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 17. Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy adopted a joint declaration on the development of the North Caucasus at the G8 Deauville summit earlier.

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