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Russia rates its sea and river resorts
June 23, 2006 16:51

Youve probably heard about cold and snowy Russian winter. But not only freezing winter is an extreme season. Russian summer particularly in urban areas and southern regions might be a broiler. Although if youre not only about sightseeing, you always have a chance to see another Russia and have a pleasant vacation at Black sea coast or combining culture and relaxing in towns at Volga-river.

But sadly even in the most famous sea and river resorts where brand new hotels are built, one might run at a piece of broken glass in the sand or find a rusty metal pipe in water. So far poor quality and absence of facilities was a significant obstacle for tourists to come. But soon the problem might be solved. Russian Federal Tourism Agency (Rosturizm) has approved a new system of beach classification, announced 21 June Rosturizm chief Vladimir Strzhalkovskij. New rules suppose that owners of beaches, whether at sea coasts or river banks, will apply for a rank to a special certification service, that will be chosen by tender in every region.

According Strzhalkovskij, the classification system will include three ranks with first as the highest. Rating criteria worked out by Rosturizm satisfy international standarts and take into consideration facilities, services given, cleanness of the beach itself and seabed, purity of water and other. Rosturizm based the ratings system on Bulgarian, Greek and Spanish experience. So far certification is not supposed to be obligatory, but owners will have to pay a fee to get the rate. Uncertified beaches will not be rated.

In Strzhalkovskij opinion, this classification will guarantee the quality of service and help tourists make a choice. In his opinion this system will be favourable for the owners as well. And competition will encourage beach owners to make the coast more attractive and improve services.

Classification procedures are supposed to start in July 2006. It is mostly important for regions, where many sea and river resorts are located, such as Krasnodar Territory, Saint-Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Moscow regions and Volga Region. Beach certification is not the first Rosturizm quality control initiative. In 2005 a unified hotel rating was approved, and now comfort level in hotels has to strictly correspond with unified demands and the star system.

And now another classification is under final elaboration. The Agency is going to systematize Alpine skiing resorts. Difficulty and danger of routes is supposed to be estimated and ranked: Green for beginners, Blue, Red and Black for the most difficult routes. Rosturizm also plans to thoroughly control correspondence of these resorts to international service and safety standarts. There are over 100 ski areas around Russia. While many of them are small, with equipment and resort areas that need updating, there are some brilliant exceptions in the Caucasus mountain area, in Southern Russia. The most popular mountain-skiing destinations are Cheget, Elbrus, Krasnaya Polyana, Dombai and Southern Ural.

Nastya Makryashina


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