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Course on Kamchatka
Nikolai Pegin, General Director of Kamchatka Development Corporation JSC, tells why the course on Kamchatka will soon be taken by tourists, investors and captains of cargo ships
— Nikolai Anatolyevich, at the end of August it was decided to create one of the priority development areas in the Far Eastern Federal District in Kamchatka. What exactly and how are you going «work ahead of the curve"?
- The decision to create a PDA was preceded by a serious joint work of the government of the Kamchatka Territory, the Ministry of Eastern Development and direct residents, who expressed their readiness to implement this project. The total investment in the TOP will amount to 36,5 billion rubles. The project itself will be implemented in several stages, for each of which a specific amount of investment is provided. A third of them are from the treasury. In general, budget financing is 8,46 billion rubles: the federal budget is 5,73, the regional budget is 2,73. Later, for the second and third stages of the TOP, it is planned to allocate another 4,05 billion rubles from the federal budget. The main part will be private investments (28,1 billion rubles). Unlike other territories of advanced development of the Far Eastern Federal District, the Kamchatka TOP is formed according to the sectoral principle. The priority development area is based on areas that can become locomotives for the economy not only of our region, but of the entire Far East - tourism, transport and logistics.
- What about the fishing and mining industries?
- In the abbreviation "TOP" there is the letter "O", which means "advanced". But it is impossible to be ahead in all directions at the same time. Therefore, the choice was made in favor of those sectors of the regional economy that now especially need a powerful impetus for development and have a strategic perspective both for Kamchatka and for the entire country. The fishing industry of the peninsula received such a dynamic impetus. More than 16 billion rubles have been invested in it in recent years. The mineral and raw materials sector of the Kamchatka economy is also developing quite rhythmically. The last remarks, however, do not mean that the fishery complex of the peninsula and its mineral resources sector do not need investments, or the attraction of funds from Russian and foreign companies. The corporation is quite fruitful in this direction. Suffice it to recall the project of creating a mining and metallurgical plant for the development of deposits of the Ozernovsky gold-bearing deposit, the first stage of which is planned to be put into commercial operation in 2017-2018 years. The total investment in the first phase of the project will exceed 12 billion. The total target capitalization of the enterprise for 2019, when the start of the second stage is planned, should be about $ 1 billion. Tax deductions to the regional and municipal budgets alone for the estimated period of operation of the enterprise will amount to about 10 billion rubles.
But tourism, transport (in particular, the project for the development of the Northern Sea Route), port infrastructure, just like that, by themselves, without serious financial injections, the creation of a wide infrastructure network, dynamically a priori cannot develop. But these are industries that are able to "pull" the entire economy of the region, including fishing and mining, reduce transportation costs, and ensure constant budget revenues. The latter means that funds will appear for social development, to improve the standard of living of the inhabitants of the peninsula. That is why these areas require not even efforts, but a real "breakthrough".
The forms of state participation in the proposed projects may be different. The task of the Corporation, in close contact with other interested structures, is to find the best options for breakthrough economic, structural and organizational solutions.
As of today, thirteen companies have expressed their intentions to be “anchor” residents in the Kamchatka TOP, while 4 companies have actually submitted applications to the KRDV for 7,3 billion rubles, 9 more companies are expected, all local companies. They have already signed agreements with the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and are ready to move from protocols of intent to business. But a TOP resident can be any company that decides to create its own business in the territory of advanced development.
- What can Kamchatka offer to tourists? How are you going to attract them to yourself?
- We are already attracting them. Kamchatka is quite popular with Russian and foreign tourists. There are seasons when the hotel fund of the agglomeration of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Elizovsky District is hardly enough to accommodate everyone. It will be difficult for you to check into any hotel with 20-x numbers of March to mid-May and from June to September - because "everything is booked and bought."
- And who are these people filling the hotel rooms?
- In the spring they are freeriders, lovers of extreme mountain skiing on "wild" tracks. And ordinary skiers too. There are about two and a half - three thousand people, which is already a significant number for Kamchatka. Different tourists come with different needs. Among them there are rich people for whom the main thing is to find a suitable mountain, as for surfers - to catch a wave, and the costs do not scare them. There are also economy class tourists. Comfort of living is important for this category of guests, but the main thing is our mountain slopes and the rapid Kamchatka snow.
Another group of tourists are hunters and fishermen. Kamchatka has excellent conditions for sport fishing; lovers of hunting for serious game strive to us. The coveted trophy of our guests is the Kamchatka brown bear, one of the largest in the world. Hunting him on the peninsula is legal and does not harm nature. Our region is closed, anthropogenic pressure on it is not great, and the Kamchatka brown bear population is flourishing. Hunters from all over the world come to Kamchatka twice a year, in spring and autumn.
In summer, our guests enjoy the natural beauty, are treated with thermal waters, get acquainted with the unique culture of the indigenous population of the peninsula. The flow of this category of tourists does not diminish from July to September. But there are still less of them than we would like. The main problem of domestic tourism is its seasonality. People only come at certain times. There are not enough hotels at this time. The rest of the period, hotels and guesthouses are empty or almost empty. The reason is simple: the tourist infrastructure is poorly developed. The segment of expensive vacations is already relatively formed. And we need to create a hotel fund of the middle price category as soon as possible, offer people new accessible tourist routes and services so that our guests have the opportunity to see Kamchatka not only from the hotel window. This is especially important since the popularity of domestic tourism is growing in Russia now.
- Only an air ticket to Kamchatka is much more expensive than to Europe ...
- This problem, paradoxically, will help to solve ... the influx of tourists. We strive to make the Kamchatka Territory attractive all year round. The stable passenger traffic also includes a mechanism for a gradual reduction in airfare. Now the Kamchatka air route is in maximum demand in the summer period - the vacation season, when residents of the region go on vacation in droves, and tourists tend to us. For airlines, the peak season “feeds the whole year” in the truest sense of this expression. This leads to high prices for air tickets, hotels and much more. In fact, it prevents the development of tourism as a highly profitable sector of the economy. The rest of the time, from about September 15 to May 15, ticket prices are low, but there are almost no passengers. The creation of tourist products that are sold year-round will allow the establishment of affordable air fares, without seasonal fluctuations.
The implementation of TOP projects will allow us to make Kamchatka tourism an all-season one. The resorts of the Paratunskaya zone, on the balneological thermal springs and some other destinations will attract tourists to us all year round. For this, a qualitatively more developed infrastructure is needed. And there is something to your liking in Kamchatka all year round.
See what you can fill your winter tour to Kamchatka with. Tourists arrive, for example, on the peninsula for five to seven days - the optimal time, especially in winter. They live in the same Paratunskaya zone, plunge into a warm pool - and then dive into the purest snow, into fluffy snowdrifts. This is an indescribable feeling - it is as if millions of needles penetrate you at once! The next day - a snowmobile trip along the slopes of one of the volcanoes. Having enjoyed its pristine beauty, tourists on the way back get the opportunity to ride a dog sled and get acquainted with the cuisine of indigenous peoples in an ethno-restaurant.
We will spend the third day for rest and a trip to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky - the only regional center in Russia located on the ocean coast. The history of the regional center, which recently became a city of military glory, is also interesting. By the way, the possibilities of historical and educational tourism are not fully used in the region. On the heroic events of the Peter and Paul defense in 50-e During the XNUMXth century, people outside the region know very little. And it would be worth it. This is one of the brightest pages in the history of Russia.
And then - to the shore of the ocean, to the beaches covered with black sands. You stand and look at the Pacific Ocean, where endless waters merge with heaven. And you understand that you are on the very edge of Mother Russia. Ahead, across the ocean, there are only other countries and continents. And you still managed to visit this edge ...
The next day, for example, can be devoted to a trip to the ice waterfalls. And then go fishing or skiing. It's amazing when in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, skiing down the mountain, you see the ocean expanse in front of you. There is a complete feeling that you are rushing into the ocean.
The days of such a tour will fly by unnoticed and will cause an obligatory desire to visit Kamchatka, at least once again.
- You mentioned several times about the Pacific Ocean, on the coast of which Petropalovsk-Kamchatsky is located, as a factor in attracting tourists ...
- There is no need to prove it. Sea spaces are ideal for those who are fond of yachting tourism, motor or sailing. There are a lot of lovers of waves, wind, and the feeling of that freedom that can only be experienced among the ocean expanses. The project that the Corporation is currently working on in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is addressed to them. We intend to create a yacht port, which will include not only a yacht berth, but also technical and recreational facilities. It is planned to extend a cable car from the yacht zone to the hills surrounding the city. From them on the outskirts of the regional center, the ridge of volcanoes, Avacha Bay and the Pacific Ocean, an amazing view opens up.
To date, about 5 thousand small boats have been registered in the regional center. About a thousand of them fall under the category of sailing and motor yachts. The owners of only a few of them provide tourists with some kind of services during the six-month navigation of small vessels. Yachts of the ocean class, in the non-freezing waters washing Kamchatka, can cruise all year round. The creation of a yacht port will open the main road for small businesses in organizing cruise and fishing trips. And this is money, investments in the regional economy, new jobs and much more.
By the way, cruise ship tourists will not be forgotten either. We intend to seek to expand the opportunities for their acquaintance with Kamchatka. Cruise ship tourists are demanding, but the rewards are great. It is quite possible for them to be offered a trip along the coast of the peninsula with the organization of short-term trips to the peninsula.
The shores of Kamchatka, indented by many beautiful bays, are very picturesque. Near them, yachtsmen, no doubt, will meet a huge number of sea animals and birds. In August, whales follow the shoals of salmon to the shores of Kamchatka. Who, even once heard their songs, will never forget.
The coastal waters of Kamchatka provide unique opportunities for amateur fishing. In them you can fish for flounder, halibut, greenling, cod - just like in Norway, only our fish is larger, and the ecological situation is better. The transfer of tourism from the seasonal to the year-round category, the development of tourism infrastructure will allow, according to our calculations, to raise the number of tourists in Kamchatka from 5-6 thousand people a year up to 820 thousand tourists, including 360 thousand due to cruise liners. And this is new billions in the regional budget, new jobs, a qualitatively new level of social infrastructure. After all, not only tourist buses, but also cars of the inhabitants of the region will move along the same roads.
- The plans are ambitious, but when will their implementation begin?
- If we talk about the territory of advanced socio-economic development as a whole, then at the meeting of the Committee on Economy, Property, Budget, Tax Policy and Entrepreneurship of the Regional Legislative Assembly held at the end of October, in which employees of the Corporation also took part, representatives of the Kamchatka government named the starting point for the practical implementation of this broad program. It was announced that the first ASEZ facilities will begin work in 2017.
The regional government is now seeking funds for the creation of infrastructure facilities in the territory of advanced development, the implementation of which involves financing from the regional budget.
The Corporation also has practical experience in the creation of the international yacht port "Kamchatka". It will be built in the historical center of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the site of the bankrupt Freza shipyard. We are preparing the site for future construction. In the near future, the Corporation will begin lifting the ship that sank at the quay of the former shipyard, which made it impossible to operate a significant part of the port water area.
The construction project in the regional center of the tourist complex "Petrovskaya Sopka" is approaching practical implementation. To make this project a reality, we worked with our partners from Gefest and the West-Woods Consulting fund, meticulously negotiated all the conditions, and after that the administration of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky signed an agreement with the fund. The construction area will be 380 hectares. The complex provides for the creation of six ski areas, a funicular, a cable car, three hotels, a cottage village, mountain bike trails, shooting ranges, tennis courts, event grounds, trails and trails for trekking and cyclocross, summer tubing, bowling, billiards, sports platforms and much more. The complex will not be empty neither in winter nor in summer, attracting Russian and foreign tourists. Yes, and the residents of Petropavlovsk, I think it will bring a lot of joy.
- There is one more project, which the whole country “didn’t reach” for a very long time, but now the matter seems to have moved off dead center. I mean the revival and development of the Northern Sea Route. What contribution can Kamchatka make to this good cause?
- Strictly speaking, the Northern Sea Route does not reach Kamchatka, it lies in other latitudes. In addition, it is constantly changing depending on the ice or meteorological conditions. Nevertheless, the traffic along the NSR is gradually growing, and the state is determined to carry out this global project. The expert and business community considers it important to form a new Arctic transport line with reference ports of entry and exit. We believe (and find support in this) that the ice-free port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky should become such a fulcrum in the east. In the same way as in the west of the NSR - Arkhangelsk and Murmansk.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky has quite tangible advantages that are easily visible even on a geographical map. Cargoes that are formed in the Asia-Pacific region and go to America go to 150-200 miles from our port. It makes sense to create a port-hub here with a line of ice shuttles en route to and from Europe. Naturally, it will be necessary to create our own cargo base, developing two directions - container transportation and export of fish products and mineral resources. But the return on these investments will be enormous. Let us recall at least Singapore, the main sector of the economy of which is servicing the global traffic flow.
So far, unfortunately, this path is practically not used. And in general, if we talk about rapid and dynamic development, then it will require the creation of not only port structures, but also geometeorological information and rescue systems, many other necessary things. Now if a ship is sailing along the Northern Sea Route and someone from the crew is seriously ill, a whole rescue operation of federal significance is launched. There are not enough coastal services, nuclear icebreakers for the convoy. The business needs complete confidence in the transport system that it uses. He should know that a convoy of ships headed by an atomic icebreaker is being formed on the ice edge within a fixed time frame, that a reaction to any emergency situation will be quick, and information will be prompt, that the cargo is reliably insured against possible risks. So far we have just started to create such a system. But let it be slow, but the matter is moving off the ground.
- Have you managed to achieve any significant results after the Eastern Economic Forum? Can you compare it with similar business summits in St. Petersburg or Sochi?
- I very positively assess the fact that such a target investment platform as the WEF has appeared, that this forum took place in general, and most importantly, it has a great future. It is incorrect to compare it with the forums that are held in St. Petersburg or Sochi: each forum has its own purpose. St. Petersburg is a global strategic event of the world level, Sochi is rather an “investment forum of Russian regions.” And in Vladivostok we work at our Far Eastern investment platform, which is attended by businessmen from other regions of Russia and from abroad. The Far East is not too rich, and if you act alone, you will not get far. Efficiency increases when the efforts of the Far East are united on one site. That is why we can speak of the serious importance of the WEF for the entire Asia-Pacific region. In fact, it is one of the most important geo-economic instruments of Russia in the macroregion, our “gateway to the East.” At the forum held in September this year, there were not just “guests who came to the light”, but participants who seriously decided to establish contacts and business ties here. Kamchatka Krai signed a number of important and promising agreements, for example, on a project for the development of a ski resort and in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, on the creation and development of the Fish Exchange, etc. On which practical steps have already been taken to implement.
- How long is this?
- I think not very much. Events in the Far East business sphere are now unfolding much faster and more dynamically than we could have expected a year or two ago. And to be honest, this is encouraging. We, as a development institution, will try in every possible way to promote this “acceleration”.