News / Economy

What's Next for Sochi's $50 Billion in Facilities?

Sochi’s Morning After: $50 Billion In Infrastructurei
X
February 25, 2014 1:28 AM
Now that the Sochi Olympics are over, the future of the huge investments Russia made in them are a huge question. James Brooke reports from Sochi.
James Brooke
This is Russia’s semitropical southern corner, where you can ski in the morning and swim in the afternoon - in midwinter!
 
For the Winter Olympics, Russia spent $50 billion on an international airport, new docks for cruise ships, a railroad and highway from the sea to the mountains, four world-class ski areas and almost 50,000 hotel rooms - all for 17 days of sports competition.
 
Now the crowds are going home, jamming the new airport terminal, and residents left behind worry that the resort was overbuilt.
 
The press center next to Olympic Park - five times larger than Moscow’s Red Square - is to become a shopping mall
 
One Olympic rink is to be dismantled and shipped to Siberia. Other facilities will be kept intact, to train future Russian Olympic skiers, skaters and sledders.
 
A boon for sports enthusiasts
 
The new winter sports areas are a hit with Russian skiers and snowboarders used to substandard facilities.
 
Sasha Geraskovski, a skier from Moscow, paused to chat atop Gornaya Karusel, the only ski area open to tourists during the Olympic Games.
 
“I always used to go to Europe, to Austria or France,” for skiing, said Geraskovski, a marketing specialist. “Now I see Russia can give me all I need. I have good hotels, good food and good hospitality right here, and great snow. Next time, I will spend my vacation right here."
 
But is a 40,000-seat stadium too big for a resort city of 340,000?
 
An expensive trip for Russians
 
Russians accounted for an estimated 90 percent of all visitors to the Winter Olympics. But will they come back to Sochi without the Olympic Games as a draw?
 
City tourism officials complain that taxes make a flight from Moscow to here more expensive than a flight to Turkey.
 
Yulia Malorodnova, deputy chief of Sochi's tourism office, said high air fares account for 70 percent of the total cost of a typical package tour.

"Unfortunately, we feel, airline flights are very expensive," she said. "It's because of taxation... there is an 18 percent VAT on all domestic flights. But if the same company flies for example to Egypt, there's no tax on that flight."
 
Stalin's dacha a hotel?
 
Anatoly Pakohomv, Sochi’s mayor, said market forces will solve the problem of too many hotel rooms.
 
"The most important regulator is competition, and competition is very tight right now,” Pakhomov said. “The problem of high prices that we've had, I think the market will even that out.”
 
Exemplifying Sochi’s preference for market-led solutions, local authorities have a novel plan to finance a museum at the hillside dacha that Stalin once used. Next year, they will open a boutique hotel in a wing of the dead dictator’s Black Sea retreat.

  • The Bolshoy Ice Dome illuminated at night in Sochi.
  • An aerial view from a helicopter shows the Olympic Park in the Adler district of the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.
  • The Iceberg skating arena and Fisht Olympic stadium in Sochi.
  • An inside view of the Adler arena speed skating venue in Sochi.
  • The RusSki Gorki Jumping Center in Sochi.
  • The Rosa Khutor ski resort, of Sochi.
  • An aerial view from a helicopter shows hotels and residential houses constructed for the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Adler district of Sochi.
  • The Bolshoy Ice Dome, Iceberg skating arena and the Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi.
  • The Sanki Sliding Center, east of Sochi.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
February 24, 2014 10:52 AM
At least 20 % of all the Russian are sure that the Sochi’s $50 Billion expenditure was an ill spent whim of the ruler, absolutely unrelated to more urgent and higher priorities’ needs of the country, predominantly northern and impoverished beyond the Moscow Ring Road. The most optimistic forecasts are that there will be just 0,3% boost to the country’s GDP: the mountain of all spent resources gave birth to… a mouse.

Although the huge country badly needed modernization of its substandard roads, logistics infrastructure instead. All of the Sochi’s facilities will soon be neglected and looted as volunteers leave the place. Even in-numerous prosperous Russians will certainly prefer to have their holidays and vacations in more civilized places like Turkey, Greece and Italy than in semi civilized Sochi.


by: Vladimir from: Russia
February 24, 2014 9:35 AM
Sochi will be looted by local criminal thugs... America mistake is in thinking that Putin controls Russia... but really Russia is out of control. Putin controls Moscow. and he tried to control other regions but really Russia is out of control. it is criminal gangs who are in control in Russia. someone called Russia a "mafia state" - that is very true.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7768
JPY
USD
108.84
GBP
USD
0.6124
CAD
USD
1.0999
INR
USD
61.042

Rates may not be current.