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Bilalov predicts bright future for tourism2012-05-12 18:05
By the Olympics in Sochi, Russia must abolish visas for the Europeans, and then tourism would become a gold mine for the country's GDP. This was announced on the eve at the Public Chamber by the head of "Resorts of the North Caucasus" Ahmed Bilalov. In his opinion, the tourism industry can provide the country income comparable to the oil revenue - about $ 50 billion a year. Representatives of the tourism circles believe in the industry's potential and call on to develop this sphere. But it's not the fact that the lifting of visa regime with the EU will play a significant role in the prime of Russian tourism.
International Student Games in Kazan in 2013 and the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014 - this is a good Russia's bait for European tourists. But only if getting visa ceases to be a trial for foreigners. "Hopefully, by this time they will abolish visa regime with Europe - at least, and maybe with the "Big Eight" and even the "Big Twenty", the representative of the Board of Directors of "Resorts of the North Caucasus" Ahmed Bilalov said yesterday at a roundtable in the Public Chamber. He added that tourism can replenish each year country's GDP by $ 50 billion and take the second place after the oil sector.
Vice-President of Russian Union of Travel Industry Yuri Barzykin said the tourism now brings 3.3 percent of GDP (and this is more than $ 50 billion even now - Ed.); with the multiplier effect, economists count up to 6.5 percent. "The average (tourism revenue) for Europe amounts 10-15 percent, although there are countries where this figure is much higher", Barzykin said.
For comparison, Russia's oil revenues amount about 17 percent of GDP, and together with the gas - more than 20 percent. Russian tourism revenue is far from this figure. "There is folk wisdom: fine words butter no parsnips. The same story with our historical, cultural and natural potential: Russia is among the absolute leaders in the world on their number", Barzykin told GTimes. "For some reason, only one tenth, that is two million three hundred of the nearly 23 million foreigners, come here as tourists. The state and business must do much. First of all, they must create conditions for tourism development, to provide advancing of our capabilities in the domestic and international market, to ensure transport availability of the areas. All the problems are known and they are being solved, but not as fast as in any other country that is going to develop tourism. Vladimir Putin has once said that we use only 20 percent of our potential. When we will use 60-70 percent, tourism won't catch up the oil industry, but it would become the impetus for the development of Russian regions. For example, Karelia now receives from tourism more revenue than from the traditional timber industry".
According to Barzykin, "tourism development is not alternative for North Caucasus" since it solves a lot of issues of unemployment, stabilization and development of the region. But would foreigners go there? "If the security measures are met, it is finished tourism product, and then they would understand why they go there; not because Bilalov or someone else told them", Vice-President of the RTU. "Historical and cultural, original, natural ski potential may become the tourist product. And then, not only Europeans, but the Russians will travel there".