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Meeting on creating federal all-seasons resorts

March 28, 2024, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Vladimir Putin held a meeting, via videoconference, on developing the Five Seas and Lake Baikal federal all-seasons resort project.

The meeting was attended by deputy prime ministers Marat Khusnullin and Dmitry Chernyshenko, Presidential Aide Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov, Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev, Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities Irek Faizullin, Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and Arctic Alexei Chekunkov, the heads of the Republic of Crimea, the Republic of Daghestan and the Republic of Buryatia, and the governors of the Krasnodar and Primorye territories, the Kaliningrad, Zaporozhye and Irkutsk regions and the cities of federal importance St Petersburg and Sevastopol, as well as representatives of investors and the heads of several tourism companies and organisations.

New resorts will be created as part of integrated seaside development projects in nine regions, namely, the Krasnodar Territory, Crimea, Dagestan, and Zaporozhye, Kaliningrad and Irkutsk regions, as well as St Petersburg, the Primorye Territory and Buryatia.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

Based on the priorities outlined in the Address, today we will discuss specific decisions that will form the backbone of the revised national project Tourism and the Hospitality Industry. Its implementation should start early next year.

As a reminder, we started working on the national project in the sphere of tourism in conjunction with the Federation constituent entities and businesses back in 2021. The proposed system tools and approaches have proved their effectiveness.

Last year alone, the number of tourists visiting Dagestan more than quadrupled, and tourist traffic to the Altai Republic, Adygea and the Leningrad Region doubled.

Almost all regions now have itineraries that are of interest for families with children and people of all ages. Popular science-, event-, and the manufacturing industry-related tourism is on the rise. Special youth and school programmes are now available.

Just like in all other key areas of our development, we need to make advances in the sphere of tourism (both literally and figuratively), and to set and achieve new meaningful goals.

As I conveyed in my Address to the Federal Assembly, we will need to almost double the number of annual trips around the country to 140 million by 2030. To do so, we need to expand the number of affordable tourist services to suit any taste, so that our people can enjoy Russia’s unique nature, learn more about our great history and culture, and have fun at sea, ski, and health resorts, as well as at all-seasons theme parks.

And, of course, tourism opens up new prospects for the country and for all the regions to develop, create jobs, and expand entrepreneurial and creative initiative. These opportunities must be used more effectively. In this context, there is another critical task that was included in the Address: in this decade, domestic tourism’s contribution in the Russian GDP must double: up to five percent.

It is important that almost all national projects will contribute to boosting tourism to one degree or another. For example, the Infrastructure for Life project, under which the improvement of embankments, parks, squares, and historical centres will be carried out.

By the way, yesterday I was in Torzhok, as you probably saw, and my colleagues there also developed an entire range of proposals to develop this historical place. I have studied all the documents the governor presented and I would ask you to take this into account. This is an ancient, historical and iconic place in Russia.

City master plans and development programmes for over 2,000 towns must be implemented. As part of the environment national project, we will create infrastructure for tourism in all national parks of the country by 2030.

It is also critically important to synchronise our tourism programmes with transport infrastructure development plans. This morning, just a couple of hours ago, Mr Khusnullin and I spoke about this. We have built and continue building roads across the entire country, from St Petersburg to Moscow and further to the East. Of course, it is necessary to create all the necessary infrastructure along these roads so that as many people as possible can use them to get where they want and see tourist landmarks along the way.

I also mean the expansion of regional and interregional transport, including air transport, and upgrade of the road network, as I have said, and internal water routs, as well as construction of new high-speed railways and motorways.

It is necessary to actively use advanced technologies to plan trips around the country more comfortably and cheaply, as well as for tourism businesses to expand their activities and increase their effectiveness. It is necessary to create an integral digital platform in tourism and all key areas to consolidate all information about transport, hotels, restaurants and cafes, landmarks and museums, and the services of tour guides. Please organise this work using several national projects, including, of course, the Data Economy national project.

Colleagues, practical, targeted measures to develop the tourism industry must be included into a relevant national project. At least 403 billion rubles will be allocated from the federal budget to fund it in 2025–2030.

I would like to draw the Government’s attention to the following: the funds for the implementation of this national project should be allocated not only in the budget for 2025 and the 2026–2027 planned period – we have talked about this and I mentioned this in my Address. It is necessary to draft a six-year forward financial plan for tourism and other industries. This will become an important benchmark for businesses that are building their investment programmes long-term.

I will note in this context that domestic companies should continue being key partners of the state in developing the tourism industry. All measures of support that have already proved their efficiency during the implementation of the current national project must be definitely extended.

Thus, last year we substantially expanded the programme of soft loans for large tourist projects. Special emphasis was made on the hotels of the most popular segment – 3–4 stars. We also included new trends in the programme, such as the construction of year-round amusement parks, aqua parks and ski resorts.

I know that such a tool as subsidies for the interest rate on loans is certainly in demand. Business people are actively using it to implement new tourist projects worth one trillion rubles. This is a big sum. It is certainly necessary to provide required assistance to the plans and aspirations of domestic business people. All relevant support measures should be envisaged.

I also suggest drafting a separate federal project on manufacturing domestic products for the tourism industry as part of the relevant national project. What are these products? We know them very well – these are ropeways, cabins, snow groomers for ski resorts, attractions for amusement parks and aqua parks, and so on. We need our own technologies and new production capacities for this. I hope the Ministry of Industry and Trade will launch some of its available specific support mechanisms.

I reiterate, promoting tourism should serve as a significant catalyst for the emergence of genuinely innovative solutions and products across industries, including construction and the creative sectors.

We all aware of the developments in our relations with Ukraine, we understand what they imply and what challenges are posed by an entire range of illegitimate sanctions against Russia. But nevertheless we continue to make strides wherever the Russian state seeks to reach success.

We must adopt the same approach here. While it is evident that purchasing certain items might be challenging at present and that some products may come with a higher price tag due to complex logistics, we should capitalise on opportunities for domestic production. We must support our Russian businesses in every way possible. This will not only create more job opportunities but also foster technological advancements.

I would like to use this opportunity to emphasise the importance of promoting domestic equipment brands and other tourism products within the framework of the We Made the Grade! competition.

Also, it is necessary to tailor work in the field of tourism to expand the potential of regions, where the level of socioeconomic development is still low. As I mentioned in the Address, the Government must prioritise these regions, fostering growth and supporting business initiatives, including in the allocation of subsidies for tourism projects.

In this connection, I would like to add that starting this year, all our regions will have the opportunity to co-finance the construction of campsites, car campsites, museums, small amusement parks, non-permanent visitor centres, and the development of tourist routes and recreational areas using available funds. Moreover, I urge regional authorities to arrange weekend trips for schoolchildren, college and university students, and families with children.

The initiative to construct prefabricated modular hotels has garnered significant interest from both regions and the tourism industry, and this programme will continue.

Overall, it is essential to expand the active tourism infrastructure across the country, considering its crucial role in promoting healthy lifestyles, especially among the younger generation. To achieve this, I propose restoring a unified system of student tourism clubs, organising sports competitions in this field, and exploring opportunities to incorporate it into school sports clubs and extracurricular activities for children.

Colleagues, I would like to turn our attention to the Five Seas and Lake Baikal resort development programme, of which I spoke in the Address to the Federal Assembly.

Within this decade, we aim to put into operation new, modern hotel complexes along the coastal areas of the Krasnodar and Primorye territories, St Petersburg, Crimea, Dagestan, and the Kaliningrad and Zaporozhye regions. As part of this ambitious project, we intend to build resorts along the shores of Lake Baikal in the Irkutsk region and the Republic of Buryatia.

To reiterate, the development of resort areas should go hand in hand with enhancing their transport accessibility and the development of associated infrastructure including utilities and other networks.

Let me remind you that the Address highlighted decisions to allocate additional resources to regions for infrastructure development purposes.

First, this includes an additional allocation of infrastructure budget loans totalling 250 billion rubles annually. Furthermore, as we agreed earlier, funds returned to the federal budget from the repayment of these loans will be reinvested in the regions.

Second, two-thirds of the debt owed by the Russian regions on previously issued budget loans will be written off, provided that the saved funds are utilised for infrastructure development and investment support.

As the establishment of large year-round seaside resorts stands as a top priority for the regions, I urge the regional heads to use all available funding mechanisms for these projects.

Today, regional heads and business representatives involved in the implementation of the Five Seas and Lake Baikal programme are taking part in our meeting. I invite them to share their insights, present their plans, and specify the assistance required from federal ministries and departments to kickstart promising projects.

To begin, I would like to invite Maxim Reshetnikov, the head of the Ministry of Economic Development, to provide some opening remarks and set the stage for our discussions today.

Please, Mr Reshetnikov, take the floor.

Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov: Mr President, colleagues,

We are diligently solving the task of increasing tourist traffic that you set.

Last year, our residents made 78 million tourist trips, I mean domestic tourist trips, which is 21 percent more than in 2022. Our investment activity is growing; businesses invested more than 800 billion rubles in the industry last year, which is a third more than in 2022. The hotel room capacity increased by 12,500 rooms, or 10 percent. The number of classified rooms increased by 18 percent. This means that business is being legalised dynamically.

The growing number of rooms is directly related to support measures. Thanks to your decision to allocate an additional 11 billion rubles, which you announced last year at the St Petersburg Forum, to subsidise modular hotels, we managed to double the scale of the programme. The year 2022 included, the creation of 18,000 rooms was supported in 66 regions, 4,500 were commissioned, and the businesses will complete the remaining projects by the end of the year. This is our priority task for the summer.

Support for the hotel industry is also growing through other national projects, including the national project for small and medium-sized businesses. Last year, tourism entrepreneurs and SMEs attracted almost twice as much loan funds under this programme.

The decision you just mentioned to expand the soft loan programme will allow us to support 167 large hotels in 55 regions. Increasing the programme’s hotel room capacity from 48,000 to 59,000 rooms will support the construction of all projects that meet the minimum criteria, announced by investors.

Increasing the number of tourists visiting ski resorts and water parks from 10 to 23 million people per year will help us create additional points of attraction. These include cable ways and chairlifts at nine ski resorts in Karachayevo-Circassia, Kamchatka, the Perm Territory, the Krasnodar and Altai territories, the Chelyabinsk Region and Yamal; 10 water parks in Moscow, the Moscow, Leningrad, Vladimir, Chelyabinsk, Ulyanovsk, and Tambov regions, the Krasnodar and Perm territories, and the Republic of Tatarstan; and three year-round amusement parks in Moscow, the Leningrad Region and the Altai Republic.

For these facilities, banks have submitted applications, investors have prepared all necessary documentation, and the regions await the outcome. This is why your today’s decision is very important, as it will determine the fate of trillions of rubles’ worth of investments. Let me emphasise that these are not just applications; these are real land plots, real shovel-ready projects that have successfully undergone the credit selection process. So, this is very important to us as it can saturate our market supply for the years ahead.

Furthermore, these local points of attraction are easily accessible to residents of neighbouring regions. Families and friends can simply hop into their cars and embark on journeys to these sites.

Support for such projects, along with the subsidy you mentioned for small locations, will help us promote tourism across the entire country, spanning every region.

At the same time, the establishment of new major points of attractions – national-scale tourist magnets – is of great importance. This is precisely the issue that the Five Seas and Lake Baikal project, initiated by you, aims to address.

These ambitious projects involve the comprehensive development of coastal territories across nine regions of the country. They envision the creation of modern and comfortable recreation environment for every taste and budget: hotels, restaurants, swimming pools, children’s and sports facilities, parklands, and, of course, beaches.

All of these developments must be accompanied by the necessary transport and utility infrastructure. Many longstanding issues, particularly regarding water supply and wastewater disposal, storm drainage along these coastlines and a lot more need to be addressed.

Naturally, such projects require a concentration of resources, and significant funding has been earmarked for infrastructure. Under the national project, over 100 billion rubles will be allocated until 2030 for these specific purposes, in accordance with your instructions. Furthermore, if needed, we are prepared to allocate a portion of the proceeds from increased duties on wine imports from unfriendly countries to support seaside resorts. We have reached an agreement with the Minister of Finance to direct half of the increase from this source towards bolstering tourism and providing additional financing for the national project.

Nevertheless, the need for resources is great. We assume that major infrastructure, such as roads, railways, airports, and energy facilities will be built at the expense of the development programmes of industry-specific ministries and agencies, and the relevant facilities will have to be gradually included in these programmes. In order to build utilities infrastructure, the regions will have to make more active use of the tools you mentioned – restructuring of debts to the federal budget, infrastructure budget loans, and others.

We will also envisage privileges and preferences for businesses. Resorts in the Kaliningrad and Irkutsk regions, in Buryatia and Dagestan will become part of special economic zones. In the Primorye Territory, benefits will be provided to the areas of priority development and the Free Port of Vladivostok, in Zaporozhye and Crimea – to the free economic zones in these territories.

The regions now have a lot of organisational work to do. All the regions are different in this respect. For example, resorts in the Irkutsk Region and Buryatia are being developed on the basis of existing special economic zones. They have urban planning, residents, and engineering infrastructure in place. But the bulk of resorts will have to be created from scratch. Dagestan is the most advanced in this respect.

The Caucasus.RF regions started working on the resort project within the boundaries of a special economic zone a little over a year ago. They have already prepared a master plan, a development concept, a planning project, infrastructure design has begun, and the first residents will appear by the end of this month.

The other regions are now addressing land and property issues, and are working on town-planning documentation and transport support for the sites. My colleagues will tell us more about this.

It is important for regions to provide opportunities for local small businesses at the master plan stage. It is very important for us to ensure that these resorts are not some blessed territories behind tall fences, but that they are integrated into the local social infrastructure and, of course, into local businesses, and that they should be growth points that spread well-being throughout the regions.

Many regions are already looking for investors and working out projects with them. We are helping our colleagues in this regard.

Now, Mr President, I would like you to watch a presentation video about the project prepared by my colleagues. I think it tells a nice and attractive story.

Thank you for your attention.

Vladimir Putin: All right, go ahead.

(A video clip is being shown.)

Good. You showed it beautifully. Now we must turn it into reality.


Vladimir Putin: As for investors, I know that there are 17 people representing our companies, both large and medium-sized, at least those who meet the requirements for taking part in this programme, at the Government Coordination Centre. These are our colleagues working in their offices. You know, we did have unfortunate instances under the public- private partnership model when the state lived up to its commitments while businesses failed to deliver. There can be many reasons for that, as is always the case. That said, the first thing I am asking you is to carefully examine the situation and make sure that the required funding is available. You must take ownership of this process. How can it be that the state invests in a project but its funds get stuck somewhere while businesses struggle to make the next step?

I am asking Government officials to work on the legal aspects of our relations with business partners so that both sides have binding obligations to honour their commitments. This way, if any of them fails to deliver, including the Government, they would be held liable for failing to fulfil their obligations. Otherwise, we will face challenges here and there as we carry out our projects as grand and ambitious as they are. We need all the parties involved in them to be as disciplined as possible. This is the path to success.

There is no doubt that we are dealing with important, ambitious and grand undertakings, and I am certain that not only can they be fulfilled, but also generate returns. Moreover, they have the potential to consistently deliver, much like a ticking clock, in the long run. After all, people need to spend their vacation somewhere just as they need food – there is no getting away from it. All we have to do is ensure that we offer quality services at an affordable price. This is how it works. But for that we need to puzzle together all the elements contained in these projects to make them appealing from an economic perspective. We need to work on that, all right? Agreed then.

I would like to thank all of you and wish you every success in this major endeavour the country needs so much.

My best wishes to all of you!

March 28, 2024, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region