Russian Olympic Committee vice-president planning multi-billion dollar ski resort
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year
December 15 - A new multi-billion dollar ski resort that hopes to capitalise on Sochi hosting the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 2014 is being planned by Akhmed Bilalov, the vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee.
The resort, named "Peak 5642, in Russia's Northern Caucasus is estimated to cost 450 billion roubles (£9 billion/$15 billion) but is already attracting considerable interest from foreign investors, including Credit Suisse and Invest AD of the United Arab Emirates.
The new resort will include five resorts and is expected to take up to 10 years to complete.
An Austrian firm has been employed to begin the masterplan and building is due to begin in 2012.
The resorts will be located in the republics of Dagestan, North Ossetia, Karachay-Cherkess, Adygea and Kabardino-Balkaria.
Earlier this year Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the project to be developed.
The Government is expected to provide funding of up to 60 billion roubles (£1.2 billion/$2 billion) that will be mainly for infrastructure costs and is hoping the tourist flow to the region to increase to up to 10 million people a year, a ten-fold increase on the amount of visitors who currently travel there.
Bilalov, a 40-year-old from Dagestan, worked on Sochi's successful bid to host the 2014 Olympics and is hoping the Games will give a massive boost to Russia's winter sports tourism industry.
"Without Sochi it would have been impossible to have come up with a project like this," Bilalov (pictured) told insidethegames.
"The success of the building project in Sochi means that people now trust we can do a major like this to an international level.
"It is very different to change stereotypes in people's minds but with Sochi we are already changing people's minds.
"We are showing what we are capable of and that Russia can compete at an international level."
The Government will hold around 98 per cent of shares in the North Caucasus Resorts company, which will be responsible for the construction of the resorts.
Russian state-run banks Vnesheconombank and Sberbank will be minority shareholders of the company, which will help investors to attract investors.
Moscow has been fighting violence and corruption in the volatile North Caucasus region since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Two bloody wars in the 1990s and regular terrorist attacks have stifled the region's economy and deterred tourists.
Medvedev insists that improvement of the social and economic situation in the region is the key to the solution of the problems there.
Bilalov, a graduate in Management, Economics and Construction from the Moscow State Academy of Management, claimed that the new project will help create 150,000 new jobs in the North Caucasus region.
"This is an important social, as well as economic, project for the region," he said.
"It is an ambitious project but a very exciting one."