In December 2006 the Republic of Buryatia became one of the competition winners and got the right to organize a special economic zone of tourism and recreation (SEZ). The final results of the competition were summed up on December 6 in Moscow at the sitting of the selection commission. Besides Buryatia, the territories to organize such zones are the Irkutsk region, the Krasnodar and Stavropol territories, the Kaliningrad region, the Republic of Altai and the Altai territory. Originally the number of regions was to be 4 to 6, and some applications were even planned to be joined before the final stage of the competition. But in the long run, according to German Gref, the Russian Federation Minister of economic development, “a political decision was taken to declare as winners all the territories which had reached the final stage of the competition”. The President of Buryatia Leonid V. Potapov and the Republic Minister of economic development Tatyana Dumnova were present at the final sitting.
It is a historic event for the republic which will allow it to start a new stage of its economic development. The republican government should urgently work out a plan of concrete activities to organize a tourism centre of international level. The total amount of finance invested into the tourism and recreation zone will be more than 45 milliard people, more than 10 milliard of which will be assigned by the federal budget which has increased its participation from 4.5 to 10.45 milliard roubles at the expense of its investments into the transport infrastructure of Buryatia (road construction and the second stage of modernizing the international airport of Ulan Ude). More than 2.6 milliard roubles will be invested by the republican budget and the local budgets. Private investments will make up not less than 34 milliard roubles. It will let the republic raise the tourism quota in the gross regional product up to 6.4%, and allowing for related fields (agricultural and industrial complex, power industry etc.) up to 26%. And it will be possible to compensate the increased ecological expenses of the regional economics where more than 80% of the specially guarding Baikal watershed territory is situated. The annual expenses are more than 10 milliard roubles. Besides, as Leonid V. Potapov remarked, the tourism zone organization will eliminate the threat of the so called “wild” tourism which is harmful for the lake.
The tourism and recreation zone at Lake Baikal in Buryatia will take up the territory of 700 sq. km 150-180 km away from Ulan Ude. It will include resorts, Alpine skiing and water tourism centres. According to forecasts, the first Alpine skiing track will be opened in 2008 in the Pribaikalsk district, on Bychya Mountain, several hotel complexes will be opened, too. Next year the automobile bridge over the Selenga River will be put into commission near the village of Treskovo of the Kabansk district. Now the road Ulan Ude-Kurumkan is under construction. The problems of electric supply, purifying facilities and other necessary objects are being solved as well. Much attention will be also paid to the Ulan Ude international airport where the first runway will be lengthened and the second one will be built.
The project of the special economic zone of tourism and recreation is a long-term one until 2026, but the allocated funds should be invested until 2013.
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