China's Dalian Wanda Group Corporation will invest up to $3 billion to develop Russia's North Caucasus resorts, Akhmed Bilanov, head of Northern Caucasus Resorts which operates the regional tourist cluster, said on Tuesday.
"Our [Chinese] counterparts visited the Dagestan republic and cities of Derbent, Sochi, and Arkhyz, and we have signed a nearly $3 billion investment agreement today," Bilanov told reporters, adding that the Chinese partners may also invest in projects in the Moscow and St. Petersburg regions.
The Russian government launched the project to create an up-to-date tourism cluster in the Northern Caucasus region in 2010. The deal stipulates construction of five new world-class resorts with service and technical levels comparable with the most popular sport resorts in the world in 2011–2020.
The project is estimated at 451.4 billion rubles ($13.6 billion), including 60 billion rubles ($1.81 billion) from the federal budget.
The overall area of the future five resorts, named Lagonaki, Arkhyz, Elbrus-Besengi, Mamison and Matlas, will amount to 2,500 square kilometers. The hotels will be able to host 83,500 tourists, while daily throughput of the cluster is scheduled to be 150,500 people.
Dalian Wanda Group Corporation Ltd. develops commercial properties, luxury hotels, cultural industries, film screens, and chain stores. The company was founded in 1988 and is based in Dalian, China.
Russia and China also want to raise bilateral touristic flows this is why Russia's Federal Agency for Tourism (FAT) and China's General Directorate of Tourism signed a cooperation agreement.
"The document determines strategic ways of our cooperation for the short-term. The main target for us is to raise tourist flow over 30 percent," FAT head Alexander Radkov said.
According to the FAT, number of Russian tourists in China grew seven percent to over 2.5 million in 2011. As for the Chinese tourist flow to Russia, it amounted to 845,000 people last year.