Sochi Aims To Become World-Class Tourist Resort Following 2014 Winter Olympics
The "eye-watering" $51B spent on the 2014 Sochi Olympics is "justified by Russian authorities as an attempt to put host city Sochi on the world tourism map," according to Alexey Eremenko of RIA Novosti. Experts say the Soviet-era resort "will face a tough and uncertain struggle in its battle for visitors’ money, however." Russian Union of Tourism Industry Deputy Head Yury Barzykin said, "They think in Sochi that everyone knows them now. But knowing does not mean coming to visit." Sochi was "once deemed something of a Soviet Florida in terms of popularity and for the palm groves that lined its streets." It "suffered something of a decline since its heyday, but has now been rejuvenated with the addition of world-class sports venues, skiing resorts and dozens of hotels." The construction binge "was no accident." The government has demonstrated in recent years that it sees epic projects "as a major boon for development." Russia "pumped an unprecedented" $20B into preparing for the 2012 APEC summit in the Far East city of Vladivostok. It is estimated the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will cost another $20B (RIA NOVOSTI, 12/19).