Russian Government plans to spend $15B to build 5 Ski Resorts in the Caucasus region

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Apparently Russia is trying to strike gold with a rejuvenated ski industry, President Dmitry Medvedev sees "great potential" in the Caucasus area with its good infrastructure and an array of airports. A total of 450 billion rubles ($14.9 billion) is proposed to build 5 resorts in different areas.

They're obviously going big:

".. the ski resorts would be competitive with the best ski resorts in Austria, which "gets billions of dollars" from the tourist industry.

Murzagulov said 175.6 billion rubles will be spent on constructing new hotels at the five locations and as many as 5 million tourists a year could visit the resorts.

The mountains in the Caucasus are attractive for two types of tourists — skiers and alpinists — and provide skiing year-round, said Marina Smirnova, senior vice president with consulting company Jones Lang LaSalle, which is not involved in the resorts project."

An interesting caveat of this project is that the Russian government's thought process is to pump money into the region to quell the almost daily terrorist attacks and skirmishes. Will tourists come to an already troubled region to ski and vacation? Can a ski industry created and financed by the Russian government promote peace in a region troubled by bitter disputes between ethnic groups? Sound off in the comments...

The Moscow Times via First Tracks Online

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