Mayor of Sochi Alexey Kopaygorodsky - “Investors will restore 11 health centres in Sochi”
Alexey Kopaygorodsky
Mayor of Sochi

Mayor of Sochi Alexey Kopaygorodsky - “Investors will restore 11 health centres in Sochi”

The holiday season has started in Sochi. Over the summer, the city expects to receive over four million tourists. The mayor of Sochi, Alexei Kopaygorodsky, speaks about how the main Russian resort will welcome the guests.

- The first question is about prices. There are many reports on social media that the charges for room&board and services in Sochi have grown dramatically. What advice can you give to those who are afraid of going to Sochi for their vacations because of the rising prices?

- If we talk about 2-3-star accommodations, the prices have risen by 10-15 percent. This is the traditional seasonal price fluctuation. The prices at the 4-5-star hotels increased most significantly, by 70-90 percent. Most of them are run by international operators and use dynamic pricing. We understand that the price rise is explained by certain restrictions, and by the fact that today, the demand for vacations in Sochi at high-class hotels exceeds the supply. It is very important for us that the price rise is accompanied by ensuring the quality, we have already advised all the owners of hotels, cafes and restaurants to increase the number of free items for their guests in order to ensure maximum comfort and level of service. To improve the situation globally, the governor of the Krasnodar Territory has already set the task of creating new accommodation facilities in Sochi. Today, the city has 2,419 hotels that can accommodate just over 200,000 guests. According to average figures, about 400,000 people should be accommodated in the city. We have the hotel buildings inherited by the city from the Soviet Union, and which are not used for various reasons. We have 26 such hotels. The investment agreements have already been concluded for 11 of them, there are investors who will renovate and improve these buildings and revive these hotels, and thereby ensure a higher hospitality bed availability in Sochi. Certainly, thanks to new emerging holiday centres and hotels, the accommodation prices will be better balanced.


- This year, the federal territory of Sirius in the Imeretinskaya lowland where gorgeous beaches are located was separated from the city of Sochi, and a large up-to-date guest room stock has been created there. How will this affect the city’s revenues?

- Today, we are in a transitional period and work in close contact with the administration of the Sirius federal territory and the Talent and Success Foundation. Now, much work is underway to transfer the complex of buildings, facilities located in the Sirius territory. While the functioning of this federal territory is ensured by our city, a working group has been created under the auspices of the governor, and the Ministry of Finance of the Krasnodar Territory, the financial departments, and tax authorities distribute the budget between the two subjects. At the same time, ordinary residents of Sochi and Sirius, as well as tourists will not notice any changes; the transport will keep on going between the districts, and the infrastructure elements will keep on working as before, there will never be any “fences” or “borders”. If we see any failures, they will be corrected by the administration of the Krasnodar Territory, and the investment projects being implemented in the city will not be affected. Over time, the two budgets will get balanced and everything will work smoothly.

- The last May holidays have shown that many people want to come to Sochi by cars. But the city, unfortunately, cannot cope with higher traffic and there are many traffic jams. Will you take any measures to solve this problem? Will the nonresident transport be banned to enter the city, are there such proposals?

- We will not impose any closure on the city, barring the visitors from entering Sochi, and according to our legislation, this is forbidden. It was just an expert opinion that was discussed. Today, several qualified working groups are looking for possible solutions to this problem. Under the Ministry of Transport and Roads of the Krasnodar Territory, a special working group has been set up to provide the calculations and modelling of the territory. Most of the Sochi’s roads were built during the Soviet period and were designed to the traffic level of that time. Now, the traffic is constantly increasing, so we do our best to expand the road network with the support of Federal Road Agency and our city’s enterprises. It is planned to make U-turns in the Adler direction towards the airport, and the construction of highways is being considered to unload the city traffic, as well as the possibility of building several overpasses. The work is colossal, and significant changes will begin when the projects are completed, the appropriate examinations are carried out. But this year, with the support of the Governor of the Krasnodar Territory, the Ministry of Transport of the RF, it was decided to create overpass for pedestrians and pedestrian underpasses in the most difficult Lazarevsky District where the traffic is a two-lane one and people walk uncontrollably. The construction of three overpasses for pedestrians and two pedestrian underpasses will soon be completed, they will alleviate traffic in the city. At the same time, air companies are launching additional flights, as well as more pairs of trains are added and commuter services are improved. Also, work is underway on the mathematical modelling of the intra-city space, including traffic lights.


- And what about the sea transport? This season, it was planned to launch a “sea taxi” between the districts of the city ...

- Sea traffic is actively developing. We have a powerful cruise ship “Prince Vladimir”, which runs between Novorossiysk, Sevastopol, Yalta and Sochi from June. Simultaneously, the “Griffon” ship (137 passengers) connects Sochi with Novorossiysk. One more ship, “Kometa” (120 passengers) started cruising. For various reasons, sea transportation has not been in demand for a long time, this market is just beginning to revive, I am sure that it will gradually grow. Work is also underway to launch the “sea taxi” between the districts of Sochi. A contract has already been signed for the manufacture of small floating craft, and port sites are under construction. This is a global problem requiring much work to be done, and the main thing is safety. I personally consider all the proposals and follow the stage of the work, and I think we will see a big progress in this in the near future.

- How will the security of the people be ensured during their vacations?

- The security of tourists and townspeople is perhaps the most important task that we face. On behalf of the Governor, an Interdepartmental Regional Operations Centre was set up to carry out serious joint work by all the city’s law enforcement agencies, public organizations, private licensed security companies. Prior to the start of the holiday season, the beaches and accommodation facilities undergo safety certification and are checked by the city’s anti-terrorist commission. This allows a comprehensive approach to the mass security. 1,500 cameras have been installed around the city, they are at all accommodation places, all 200 beaches, and all the information comes to the Situation Centre. There are checkingrooms with lockers on the beaches where tourists can keep their personal things while they are having rest. Compared to last year, the number of thefts on the beaches decreased by 47 percent. Security inside the city and in the adjacent territory is ensured by a highly professional team of the law enforcement agencies. Sochi is unique in that it has an air, sea, river and land borders and this provides additional security.

- What about the safety of the sea water? Every year, there occur the rotavirus outbreaks at the resorts ...

- The state of water in Sochi is monitored by a very strict organization, Rosportebnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Human Welfare). Starting from March, as soon as the temperature permits, seawater samples are taken every ten days at a distance of 10 metres from the coast. To date, more than 70 samples have already been taken and we can confidently say that the beaches of Sochi are safe. This year, 33 Sochi beaches obtained the international ecological certificate “Blue Flag”. It confirms not only the good state of the beaches and the availability of the required beach facilities, but also the good ecological and bacteriological state of water in the sea. The city also organized monitoring of unauthorized discharges into rivers and the sea. This work is carried out on an ongoing basis.


- What is the situation in the city in terms of providing medical care?

- Today, 32 organizations of the Krasnodar Territory healthcare system operate in Sochi. They employ 1,700 doctors and about 3,000 paramedical personnel. All our health resorts and medical institutions have highly qualified personnel. Today, healthcare facilities are not overcrowded, and in this regard, the city is ready to receive guests. We have a stable Covid-19 epidemiological situation as over 50,000 people have been vaccinated (as for the beginning of June), over 20 vaccination points have been opened. Both the residents of the city and the guests staying for more than 21 days in Sochi can get vaccinated. The Rosportebnadzor’s inspections showed that all the accommodation places, outdoor and indoor areas, beaches, cafes, restaurants, and transport comply with the relevant requirements. A special group was set up to monitor their state. So far, we have enough hospital beds, but if necessary, two more hospitals can be deployed within two days to admit patients with coronavirus.

- How prepared are the public utilities for the large influx of tourists?

- The “New Sochi” programme of social and economic development has started operating in the city. Our city has submitted its applications to the Ministry of Construction and Housing and Utilities for 206 objects, 23 of them are drainage facilities. The project engineering is already underway, the funds from the regional and federal budgets are allocated for upgrading the resort’s utilities. Recently, a commission of the Russian Ministry of Geology discovered rich deep freshwater sources in Sochi, so it is safe to say that we have sufficient fresh water supply. City cleanliness receives constant attention from the public authorities. During the peak periods, 1,300 tonnes of garbage are removed from Sochi per day. We understand that from January to mid-June, the garbage volume is 30 percent more, given the large number of tourists. Large public utilities enterprises operate in this sector, they have 131 units of equipment at their disposal that quickly and efficiently remove the garbage. The monitoring system is used that allows the online monitoring of the container sites’ state. The city deputies calculated that additional 357 pieces of sanitary facilities should be installed in the city so that they are located at a distance of maximum 100 metres from the residential buildings. At the same time, the “New Sochi” programme is very ambitious. It covers both the municipal services’ facilities and the development of infrastructure, a comfortable urban environment, parks, squares, the construction of schools and pre-school institutions, as well as the harmonization of all cultural sites and attractions in the city.

- Some people want to spend their vacations in Sochi and some people want to live here. Recently, a suspension of a housing construction was announced in the city and the real estate prices have risen significantly. When do you plan to restart the dwelling construction?

- Since September 2019, the suspension of a housing construction has been announced in Sochi. From 2009 to 2019, 4.5 mn square metres of housing were commissioned in the city. This is a colossal additional load on the resort. The mass building of new dwellings has caused a lack of kindergartens and schools, as well as a lack of public infrastructure, water supply, drainage systems, not to mention parking lots and the places where people can be comfortably spend their leisure time. During this year, we have not issued a single building permission. Sochi also has a problem of illegal construction. Therefore, I recommend that everyone who decides to buy an apartment in our city, first of all, should check all the official registers. The strategy is that everyone should live and develop according to the rules. This year, the development of a Sochi master plan begins and it will be completed within two years. A very thorough work is underway, and naturally, the master plan will determine the areas for housing construction. As soon as the urban planning policy is balanced, the price of the real estate will also be balanced.

- The suspension of issuing the permits was announced because the city needs new hotels and health resorts and centres. Is there much land left to make attractive investment sites?

- We began to form our land bank in September 2019. Today, priority is given to the construction of social facilities. According to statistics, we need to build schools for 20,000 children, kindergartens for 12,000 kids. Therefore, all available unoccupied land plots will be used for social purposes. Such grounds are located throughout the city. There are objects that were once illegally acquired, and today, they are returned to the city’s. For example, in the Central District of Sochi, there is a plot of 200 square metres between the multi-dwelling units, where it was planned to build a high-riser, however, a kindergarten will be built there. Our potential investment proposals also include the plots where ramshackle unsafe houses are located waiting demolition. So, the land bank keeps on growing from day to day.

- The opening of the season is a real fest. What surprises will be offered to the guests and residents of the city?

- First of all, various cultural events. For example, this season, an exhibition of Faberge was opened in Sochi in the seaport building, and an exposition of Nikos Safronov at the Art Museum. The renovation of monuments, squares, and fountains is in progress in the city. The renovated Riviera Beach has been reopened. This is the resort’s oldest beach functioning from the Tsarist times, but quite recently, it was impossible to walk along it, as there were many illegal kiosks and stalls. We try to make that people can have rest in every park, every square. This year, we have installed 1,500 benches, and the places for evening strolls are well lit. The beaches are improved as well as the Krasnaya Polyana’s facilities. In November last year, the Sochi administration signed an agreement with all the owners and the large nature reserves and resorts - the Sochi National Park, the Caucasian Nature Reserve, mountain resorts - to increase the number of excursions and tourist attractions. Today, there are 114 amazing sights in Sochi, which is a large number.

I should also mention the development of the promenade on the Mayak (Lighthouse) Beach. The rehabilitation and reconstruction of the embankment does not mean demolishing all the stalls and kiosks. This is a powerful structure, the development of which requires both the creation of utility systems and services and the work to strengthen the banks. In order not to reinvent the wheel, we addressed to the International Consortium, which has the experience in building the embankments in the largest cities in the world. Soon, the winner of the tender will be determined and it will take part in designing the new Sochi embankment. Both Sochi residents and the guests of the city will benefit from the construction of the embankment.