Sochi region enjoying tourism boost following Winter Games
While Sochi has long been one of Russia’s most popular summer holiday resorts, the region is now enjoying increased visitors in winter months following its successful staging of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
During the recent New Year holidays alone, more than 200,000 tourists visited the 2014 host region, with Alexander Tkachev, Governor of the Krasnodar Territory, predicting that 500,000 people will have visited the resort by April.
With memories of gold medal-winning performances by the likes of Tina Maze, Mikaela Shiffrin and Kjetil Jansrud still fresh in mind, holidaymakers have been flocking to Krasnaya Polyana – home to many of the Sochi 2014 Olympic venues – to follow in the snow tracks of their Olympic heroes, helping to make it the top holiday destination in Russia.
In just a 10-day period over the New Year, more than 182,000 people visited the mountains to ski, while 160,000 tourists spent time in Sochi, with 46,000 visiting the coastal Olympic Park.
“In the past, we used to have that many tourists only in summer, in August,” explained Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov.
In total, more than three million people visited Sochi during 2014 – a 28 per cent increase, year-on-year, according to Lilia Burangulova, a representative of Sochi International Airport.
In addition to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, new events such as the Russian Grand Prix have also helped to boost visitor numbers, with 65,000 fans attending the inaugural race in Sochi in October.
"All the spectator stands and all the hotels were filled to capacity and the consumption of services here at the Autodrom and in the Olympic Park even surpassed our forecasts," said Alexander Saurin, Vice-Governor of the Krasnodar Territory.
Sochi will also host the New Wave music festival in 2015, as well as several other major sporting events, while the city is set to become one of Russia’s most important conference destinations thanks to facilities such as the Sochi Convention Bureau, combined with the increased number of hotel rooms, which were built ahead of the 2014 Winter Games.
Indeed, with its palm-fringed seaside resorts, spectacular ski facilities and superb conference venues, Sochi is well-placed to become a year-round destination for both tourism and business visitors alike.