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Islands await guests

Anton Zaitsev: Sakhalin Region is becoming more and more popular among tourists

In 2016, the number of tourists who visited Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands increased by 60% compared to the 2015 year. About why the tourist flow grows, and what attracts travelers to the islands, Izvestia correspondent Alexei Smirnov talked with the Minister of Sports, Youth Policy and Tourism of the Sakhalin Region Anton Zaitsev.

Islands await guests
- Anton Vladimirovich, why is the popularity of the region growing among tourists?
"It's strange that this did not happen before." After all, everything necessary to raise the industry was available. On Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, a huge number of natural attractions, objects of cultural and historical display. We have excellent opportunities for mountain skiing, diving, fishing, for organizing sea cruises.

The task of the authorities and business is to use this potential, create all conditions for a quality recreation of people. We set a goal - to 2020 year to increase the flow of tourists in the region to 600 thousand people. And we are confident about this indicator.

The Sakhalin Region has much to offer both to the domestic and foreign markets. Since 2016, we are creating a powerful tourist cluster within the territory of the leading socio-economic development "Mountain Air". Its basis is a sports and tourist complex with the same name.

This is a unique ski resort, which is located within the boundaries of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. It has 23 km of ski and snowboard trails, equipped with modern ropeways with a total length of 6 km. By 2020, the length of the trails will increase almost fourfold, to 85 km, 9 cableways will be built, modern hotels, groups of chalets for families, atmospheric restaurants, SPA centers will be built.

The volume of budget investments will be 10 billion rubles. They will go on creating the infrastructure of the STK "Mountain Air" - routes, lifts, access roads and so on. Thus, we will create conditions for attracting private investments, which, according to preliminary estimates, will amount to 6 billion rubles.

- How does “Mountain Air” attract tourists?
- There are a lot of advantages in the resort. This high quality of services, trails, ski lifts, the availability of a large package of proposals for fans of mountain skiing here meets world standards. As I said, the resort is located in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the administrative and business center of the Sakhalin region.

You can see it with the naked eye from almost anywhere in the city. And to climb the mountain - with the help of a cable car company "Dopelmayr" or by car.

Residents of the Sakhalin region love "Mountain air" and are proud of it. During the Soviet era the complex enjoyed great popularity. Athletes Olympians were trained here, international competitions were held. Unfortunately, in 90, he, like many other objects around the country, was abandoned. But not forgotten. And a few years later began to develop. And recently entered a phase of rapid growth.

For example, this winter for the first time a route for the mogul was built. On it, Russian athletes were preparing for the World Cup in Korea.

Cable cars were opened on the southern and northern slopes of Bolshevik Mountain, ski slopes with a total length of 3 km. The stationary artificial lighting system for the South-West Serpentine track, 4,2 km long, was launched.

Within this year, construction of the entrance group in the lower zone of the complex will be completed, construction of roads to the valley of the Elanka river, to the Dynamo site and a roundabout around the Spartak stadium, a stationary system of artificial snow making of existing and newly created ski slopes will begin. Also, a pond for a snowmaking system, a sports and tourist center on the upper platform of Bolshevik Mountain, as well as a summer holiday complex will be built.

In the near future - the construction of two mountain villages in the immediate vicinity of the foot of the slopes. One of them will consist of 20 chalet houses, each ranging from 130 to 200 square meters. They can comfortably accommodate up to 170 people at the same time.

The average site of “Mountain Air” will become the most equipped with various infrastructure. There will be built a seven-story hotel level "Three Stars" on 150 rooms, a restaurant, cafe-bars and a number of service technical facilities.

In addition, in accordance with the investment agreement concluded between OAU STC "Mountain Air" and JSC "Corporation for Development of the Sakhalin Oblast", this year will be built 2 new cable cars on the northern and southern slopes of Mount Krasnaya. For the construction of these facilities, as well as the necessary infrastructure, 2,3 billion rubles are provided. The first tranche of 169 million rubles has already been transferred.

Ride on the "Mountain air" can not only in the daytime. After sunset, two lighted trails are available: "West" and "South-Western serpentine".

- From what regions do tourists come to the winter resort?
- Now on the "Mountain Air" rest representatives of 38 Russian cities and 7 countries around the world. Most tourists from Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Blagoveshchensk.

It is important that the package of offers for those who like skiing and snowboarding coming to the region is constantly being improved. For example, this month the resort is holding the "February on Sakhalin" campaign. Everyone can purchase a package of services, which includes accommodation in one of 11 hotels in the city, unlimited ski pass, free transfer from the hotel and free excursions. Such tours are on sale from 17 Russian agents, including those from Khabarovsk and Vladivostok.

This season, 10 South-Sakhalin hotels located in close proximity to the "Mountain Air", significantly expanded the list of services. They provide an opportunity to store sports equipment, organize transfer and equipment hire, where you can buy and replenish your ski pass. These hotels also offer discounts - from 10 to 35%, and in some cases there are special offers with a reduction to the 50% of the cost of services from the original price.

The level of equipment and the quality of the tracks on the "Mountain Air" can be judged by the fact that this and next winter Russian Olympic athletes will hold the final training camps on the island for the 2018 Olympic Games in the Republic of Korea. And then the Sakhalin region expects to host the international sports competition "Children of Asia", this is the so-called children's Olympics.

- Fans of mountain skiing on Sakhalin will find themselves an occupation to their liking, and what to do for the rest of the tourists?
- It is interesting for opportunities and we have a lot to spend with health benefits. You can climb the mountains and go down into the caves, fly on a paraglider and windsurf. Hunting fans - to get a bear, as well as other animals and birds. We have an excellent all-season fishing. A lot of hot healing springs, mineral waters, therapeutic mud.

There is a balneological resort on Sakhalin on the basis of two sanatoriums. One of them is Sinegorsk Mineral Waters. It provides a unique wellness and rejuvenation program. As a result of a complex of procedures, which include, among other things, mud and mineral baths, not only stress and fatigue go away, but many diseases also recede. Residents from all over the Far East come to the sanatorium to improve their health.

In general, our islands have a rich arsenal of medical and recreational resources that are used and can be used for health purposes for all comers.

In the regional center you can get acquainted with the traces of Japanese culture - one of the Shinto temples that survived to this day, the building of the Japanese bank and the museum of the Karafuto governorate period, now the museum of local lore. They now have treasuries of Sakhalin history and culture.

In 20 km from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk there is an active mud volcano - in Russia there are such only on the Taman Peninsula.

On the territory of the region 150 volcanoes, of which 39 operating. On about. Iturup is one of the highest waterfalls in Russia - the "Ilya Muromets", a height of 141 m. Tourists can visit the world famous Cape Stolbchaty on the island. Kunashir, circumventing which, you can find yourself on the sea beach and see Japan.

There are a large number of rivers and lakes on Sakhalin and the Kuriles, the sea coast - all this creates great opportunities for active and relaxing holidays. A lot of positive impressions can be obtained from visiting unique natural sites, for example, Cape Velikan, the Three Brothers cliff, the Frog Mountain, which is considered a place of power. The pearl for tourists is Moneron Island, located in the southwestern part of Sakhalin. This is a great place for diving, because the coastal waters are rich in a unique underwater world. Near the island there is a bird market and a sea lion rookery, which are rare in the world.

In general, the Sakhalin region is an ideal place for alpine skiing, balneological, health-improving, recreational, extreme and other types of tourism. And every year the quality of services in this area is becoming higher.

- Nevertheless, a resident of the European part of Russia to decide on a trip to the Far East is not so easy - the path is not close, and the prices are scared off.
- Just the prices became available. Flight on a subsidized route from Moscow to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk costs the passenger at a minimum tariff of 13200 rubles. The issue of reducing the cost of air travel not only regional centers, but also other settlements of the Far Eastern Federal District is under consideration.

On July 1, last year, a program to reduce the cost of air tickets as part of tourist packages on the Sakhalin-Japan route came into effect. This measure is also intended to stimulate the development of inbound tourism to Sakhalin.

People are already actively coming to us, so we are one hundred percent sure: the number of tourists to the region will only grow. And we are preparing for this. Expanding support for the hotel business. We develop our airport. This year we are proceeding with the construction of a new modern terminal building with convenient large parking and a hotel. We make many other steps in this direction. I am sure that even more people can relax on Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands. And this is great, because we always welcome guests!

EastRussia help: As of January 1, 2017, 81 travel companies operate in the Sakhalin Region (5 more than in 2015), including 22 companies are in the Unified Federal Register of Tour Operators. The volume of paid travel services in 2016 amounted to 553,2 million rubles or 106,6% in actual prices compared to the results of last year. According to the Federal Tax Service of Russia for the Sakhalin Region, the volume of tax revenues to the consolidated budget of the region in 2016 amounted to 73,07 million rubles, which is 21,6 million rubles. (41,8%) more than in 2015. In 2016, hotel services were sold in the amount of more than 1,879 billion rubles, or 102% in actual prices compared to the results of last year. In 6, the flow of tourists to the region amounted to about 2016 thousand people. Up to 165% of tourists are Japanese citizens.
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