A large number of forums, roundtable discussions, fairs, and exhibitions took place in the Crimea recently. Dozens of projects aimed at bringing the Crimea to the level of the best resorts of the Black Sea region were presented there. The latest investment and presentation event, the International Resort Exhibit “Ukraine: All Year Round,” which took place in Yalta, hosted more than 250 representatives of Ukrainian and foreign tourism industry. The government and business are talking a lot about the reconstruction of resorts, transport infrastructure, public services, and agricultural sector.
Anatolii Mohyliov, head of the Crimean government, noted that the Council of Ministers had already been negotiating with potential investors. “Considering that this year the leading rating agencies improved the Crimea’s ranking, we are moving in the right direction. At the moment, entrepreneurs from 48 countries are investing in the Crimea. It would be desirable to increase the amount of investments, of course. That is why we are working on that. The negotiations are successful, and I am sure that we will be signing agreements soon.”
Investors may already start working on such projects as solid household waste management, transport and road infrastructure development, water supply to the Eastern Crimea, irrigated agriculture development, reconstruction of the Simferopol International Airport, and others.
“The Crimea Development Strategy until 2020” foresees that tourist flow will have reached 20 million by that year, that is, it has to triple. Let us remind that according to the data provided by the Crimean Ministry of Resorts, 5.5 million people have spent their vacations in the region since the beginning of the year. And Crimean resorts plan to host another half a million before the year end is out. According to the Soviet-time statistics, the existing Crimean resort facilities hosted up to eight million tourists during their best years.
Mykola KUZMIN, economic analyst, member of the Crimean Association of Political Scientists:
“The invertors’ trust in Ukrainian economy and government still remains low. We also have rather inefficient legislation on the matters of land assignation and investment involvement. It is not just irrational, but it creates favorable conditions for corruption. Investors notice it immediately, and it scares them away. That is why the primary prospects of implementation are not economic ones, but they are connected to the matter of how much the government needs them, and if there will be political will for that. At least, the Party of Regions’ government showed that if they needed something, they could achieve it: the legislation would be adapted and the benefits would be conferred, but it is not that easy to achieve that political will. So, the question of motivation still remains open.
“On the other hand, there are a lot of economic and even technological problems. For example, where is this additional flow of 20 million tourists going to come from? We are still oriented at the former Soviet space. Do the CIS countries have this additional resource of tourists we can count on? Also, the matter of short season, especially on the Kerch Peninsula, still remains unresolved. And it is not that easy to make the Crimea an all-year-round resort: this is not Northern Europe, after all. We had a very warm summer this year, but sometimes it happens that in September the water is cold on both the Western Coast and the Kerch Coast. There are no mountains and no snow, therefore, no resources to continue the tourist season. That is why a long-lasting season is a vague matter.”
Andrii KLYMENKO, head of the Tauric Institute for Regional Development, honored economist of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea, member of the expert council at the Council of Ministers:
“As far as I know, a preliminary research of the Crimean Antalya project was conducted by one of the world’s largest consulting companies. And a few days ago, Vice Prime Minister Borys Kolesnikov stated that a similar project was being designed for Feodosia. So, an alternative project is developed for the western Crimea, but the final decision has not been made yet, since the options are still being considered.
“Concerning the projects of creating resort complexes on the Kerch Peninsula, the idea is not new, it has been brought up for 10 years now. I treat these projects rather skeptically. It is not reasonable to talk about the creation of new cities in the complicated conditions of the Kerch Peninsula – with saline land, harsh climate, and no fresh water resources. It is also hard for me to imagine the way in which a tourist project on the Kerch Peninsula would pay, since the high resort season would not last longer than one and a half or two months per year. We have an example of Shcholkino already: a rather popular tourist town with a lot of attractions, but all of them having a rather stagnant economics. Even though it is located on the Azov Sea shore, where the water is warmer and natural conditions are better, the tourist load is not satisfying enough to talk about economic effectiveness.
“In my opinion, it would be a much smarter decision to save the region of Feodosia at the moment. This is a rather large city, but it is quite depressed due to a very slow transition from military and industrial production to civil. But it has good prospects. It has railway access and a port, and there are rudiments of resort culture there. So, it would be more rational to bring that complex to perfection. The Feodosia General Plan, which is at the stage of approval right now, contains some very smart and ripe decisions. It is planned to transfer the port from the historical part of the city, and move the railway, which is basically running across the Feodosia beach and central sea-front street, placing it in the More Plant district in Prymorske. This would free a huge part of the coast territory from the Genoa fortress, and including the whole coast to the Golden Beach. That very General Plan provides for the Feodosia-Kerch highway to be brought outside of the city, since now it cuts through the Golden Beach, thus restraining its development.”