Bolgar seeking a capitalist: tourism cluster to obtain subsidies if signs agreement with private investors
Rosturizm names priority projects in its field
The Republican Vozrozhdenie Fund terminates its funding with the completion of the project ''Cultural Heritage: the island-town of Sviyazhsk and Ancient Bolgar'' and hands the tourist pearl over the state. Meanwhile, it has become known that the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation (Rosturizm) has reserved 331 million rubles of subsidies for the construction of tourist infrastructure of the cluster Volga Bulgaria — but subject to the signing of an agreement on public-private partnership with investors. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
Volga Bulgaria has been included in the reserve of Rosturizm
On 4 February, on the official portal of the government of the Russian Federation there was published a decree on the distribution of subsidies among 24 tourist clusters of Russia, which are to become magnets for domestic and inbound tourism. The list is very long: well-known since childhood Black Sea attractions 'Abrau-Utrish' and 'Gurzuf' are competing for state funds with river fishing in the places with exotic names 'Volga Sea' (Tver Oblast) or 'Russian Coast' (Vologda Oblast). Moscow Oblast is promoting the traditional brand 'Sergiyev Posad — The Gate of the Golden Ring' and a little less traditional project 'Russian Palestine'. Pskov Oblast, which is promoting the cluster 'Spiritual Cradle' for the state support, partly joined in the religious craze.
In this sense, the Tatarstan tourist cluster 'Volga Bulgaria', which grew out of the programme for the restoration of historical and cultural heritage of Sviyazhsk and Bolgar, which for nine years had been carried out by the Republican Vozrozhdenie Fund, stands aside. As follows from the decree of the government of the Russian Federation, for ''the creation of the complex of providing infrastructure'' of this cluster Rosturizm is going to allocate 331 million rubles in 2021. Unlike most other applications, Tatarstan will receive state support at the lower border and with a delay of 2 years. For example, 1,1 billion rubles will be allocated to the same 'Spiritual Cradle' in 2019-2021, the nearest Chuvashia will be provided with 1,8 billion rubles for the same 3 years for the cluster ''Chuvashia — the Heart of the Volga River'', the Salt Lakes of Orenburg Oblast will receive 900 million rubles. In total, the Federal Agency for Tourism intends to spend more than 20 billion rubles for 3 years to provide the infrastructure of clusters.
Tourism clusters standing in line for government support
''It is the first money that the regions will receive as federal support for the development of domestic tourism,'' Rosturizm told Realnoe Vremya. However, the main condition is the signing of an agreement on public-private partnership with private investors, within which the three-channel financing of the tourism cluster 'Volga Bulgaria' will be provided.
According to the representative of the Federal Agency for Tourism, Tatarstan announced its readiness to sign such agreement only in 2021, so the state subsidies are reserved for this year. ''Why 2021? It was the proposal of the Republic of Tatarstan. That's not our story. The reason is that the cluster is not fully formed,'' the Federal Agency for Tourism said. The negotiations with investors are complicated by the fact that the validity of the federal target programme ''Development of domestic and inbound tourism for 2011-2018'' has expired, and a new one has not been adopted yet. During this budget ''shift change'', the government of the Russian Federation issued an interim document to allot the allocation of resources to the Federal Tourism Agency. ''Now there is just no sectoral federal target programme for this year. And in order to concretize [tourist] clusters, we have to make changes somewhere, where money are provided. Therefore, changes are being made in the part of details of clusters and the rules of distribution of subsidies,'' they explained to us in the Federal Tourism Agency.
Vozrozhdenie Fund says goodbye to Bolgar
Let us remind that the tourist cluster 'Volga Bulgaria' was formed thanks to the revival of the ancient city of Bolgar, included in the UNESCO list on the initiative of State Councilor of Tatarstan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Vozrozhdenie Fund Mintimer Shaimiev. Last Friday, at a special ceremony, the first president of Tatarstan announced the completion of the programme for the restoration of the ancient city of Bolgar and the island-town of Sviyazhsk. The programme lasted 9 years and was funded by donations from individuals and companies.
''In general, the largest joint project of the state, industrial enterprises, business and the public entitled ''Cultural Heritage: Ancient Bolgar and the island-town of Sviyazhsk'' has been completed. It was an interesting and creative experience, years of discoveries and insights, which I would call the process of self-cognition, the time of spiritual revival of the society,'' Mintimer Shaimiev said. According to him, over the years almost 62,000 names have been included in the Book of Benefactors, and the tourist flow to Bolgar has increased by 15 times.
''It is no coincidence that we held a big event on Friday: Vozrozhdenie Fund has completed its work and is not going to continue it,'' said Tatiana Larionova, the executive director of the fund, vice-speaker of the State Council of the Republic of Tatarstan. ''The historical landscape has been restored and now it is necessary to develop the tourist infrastructure to ensure a steady influx of tourists. We have offered several options. Now a very popular form of recreation is campsites. We would like to build such town near the tent camp — perhaps the money were allocated for it. There were several proposals, they were different, but what has been adopted in the end — I cannot say. Ivanov (Sergey Ivanov, the head of the Tatarstan State Committee on Tourism – editor's note) is to tell for what the money are going to be spent — it is very important. The federal money will be spent in 2021, not in 2019 and 2020, as the documentation has not been finalised. The rules were changed not only every year, but even repeatedly during the year. We offered so many things! But I am glad that since 2021 the funds will be — it's not scary, because we do not live in just one year. Now what has been done is enough to receive tourists. But the ministry of culture will have to allocate some funds for the current financing during these 2 years. But there is no need for large money,'' Larionova said.
How much money was spent on the restoration of Ancient Bolgar? ''We did not even do this calculation,'' answered Tatiana Larionova. ''Private investors, as a rule, do not advertise their participation and set confidentiality as one of their terms. The main thing is not how much money have been spent, but the result. What result we have after 9 years — see for yourself!''
No investors for Bolgar
The head of the State Committee on Tourism of the Republic of Tatarstan, Sergey Ivanov, whom Realnoe Vremya managed to get through, did not explain what the federal money are allocated for. We will remind that at a recent board meeting of his department, he complained that it was not possible to attract private investors to tourist clusters for several years. ''In 2018, we did not achieve the planned results for the investment project '5 winds'. Negotiations with potential investors are underway, but we have not yet started to implement specific proposals within the framework of this project,'' Ivanov said at the board meeting of the State Committee on Tourism.
The press service of the ministry gave Realnoe Vremya the following answer: ''The tourist-recreational cluster 'Volga Bulgaria', aimed at the development of domestic and inbound tourism in the Volga-Kama basin of the Republic of Tatarstan, is included in the draft concept of the federal target programme for the development of domestic and inbound tourism in the Russian Federation for 2019-2025. Negotiations are underway with investors for the implementation of projects of the cluster 'Volga Bulgaria' in 2021. It is assumed that several companies will be investors of the cluster 'Volga Bulgaria'. It is planned that this project will be co-financed by both the federal budget and the republican one.''