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Giorgio Armani's Russian resort
April 15, 2011 14:10

Giorgio Armani S.p.A., the investment vehicle of Italian designer Giorgio Armani is going to build spa resorts in the South of Russia. The company will start its first project soon in the Caucasian Mineral Waters, some sites for other resort centers are already seeking by the company in Karachay-Cherkessia region.

According to , the Armani Group is planning to build in the North Caucasus three spa-centers. Alexander Khloponin, the Deputy Prime Minister, presidential envoy in the North Caucasus Federal District says: "Well, what's happening now in Sochi? Russia is building a new European resort and noone will be interested in visiting it. New chalets and ski lifts are being built. The Armani Group already has it. Russia owns a beautiful place, Caucasus with its beautiful nature. Take a look at Alan temples, Alan observation towers and all you need is to build holets in the same style, then everyone will come here to see it".

The start of the first project of Armani Group will be announced soon, according to The project will be implemented in the Stavropol region, near Pyatigorsk.

At the end of January, Kommersant daily cited sources who claimed the Armani Hotels was to open a hotel in the Stavropol region’s mineral springs resort area. It was planned that the project would be presented at the international exhibition MIPIM in Cannes in March. But then the Armani Group categorically denied press reports that the luxury hotel brand was planning to develop a hotel in Russia’s Caucasus region.

However, the representative of the Ministry of Economic Development of the Stavropol region confirmed the joint plans of Armany and local government to develop the region. According to some sources, the representatives of RBS companies, a subdivision of Giorgio Armani's Office in Rome have already toured some sites and held some negotiations. It is known that the exact agreement of building a hotel is already achieved, but there is no final resort site chosen. The project will be headed by Italian architect Angelo Villa, who also have already visited the Stavropol region.

The local government will surely help the Armani Group, since it is not only an investment in the economy of the region and a way to attract tourists, it is also a sign for other investors, who will appreciate Armani's appearance in the region.

Stavropol resort hotel is not the only one project planned by Armani Group. Also some projects will soon start in the North Caucasus. In early February, Boris Ebzeev, head of the republic, met with Angelo Villa to talk about hotel chain. Eliseev promised the Italian guests to provide them with all possible support, including tax benefits: "Your will to cooperate with the North Caucasus and Karachay-Cherkessia is a wise decision. I would like to show you the Arkhyz gorge and other resorts. You can do your business in any place of the repulic", — said Ebzeev to the representatives of the Group.

Unfortunately, the North Caucasian region is not a perfect place for the investments due to its past military conflicts. According to some experts, the projects will have a low payback. Alexander Gendelsman, CEO of Azimut Hotels Company says: "If we achieve at least 70% of hotel sales in summer time, the payback will come in 10 years, with less sales the payback may last for 15 or 20 years". Gendelsman suppuses, that there is no domestic tourism in Russia and foreigners also have no desire to travel to the region alone in the next ten years.

Unfortunately, a great problem of the North Caucasus is safety. But there are some ways to solve this problem. Some experts say the best way to do it is to establish a kind of private resort, a reservation. There are already some examples of such kind of resorts, for example in Turkey. There is a resort city located near Erzurum, not far from the Kurdish settlements. If tourists wish to go to this resort, they may take a taxi and go there under the supervision of police. The resort itself is absolutely safe. As for Russia, apparently this option is still not suitable for the country: tourism is considered as important as to justify the investment in tourists' safety.


Tags: foreign investment in Russia Russian travel industry luxury travel in Russia   

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