Russia's Sochi moves to attract more Chinese tourists

Updated: 2015-01-24 17:22


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Ruslan said that the valley has included many Chinese elements, such as Taichi classes and Chinese-style health care services, as more and more Russians are getting interested in China and Chinese culture.

Natalia Likhobabina, the sales director of Rodina Hotel in Sochi, believes the city needs long-term cooperation with China.

"Chinese people still have a limited knowledge about our city. China and Russia need to work together in various spheres and communicate more. Still, the situation may take years to get better," Likhobabina said.

One of such efforts was made at the end of last year, when a Chinese delegation consisting of 30 tourism agency representatives visited Sochi. Sochi, in return, has sent its tourism professionals to several Chinese cities.

"I found the most attractive things in Sochi are the thermal springs and skiing. The city is also a great resort for health tourism," said Liu Weizhi, member of the Chinese delegation.

Nevertheless, Liu also pointed out some problems that might scare off potential Chinese visitors, like the poor city transit system and generally high costs of services. As Sochi sprawls for 145 km along the shores of the Black Sea, the trip through the whole city took too much time, Liu said.

Still, Sochi Mayor Pakhomov hopes that the city will become Russia's "third capital" after Moscow and St. Petersburg.

He passionately assured that Chinese tourists would prefer Sochi to the European resorts, adding that China's interest in Sochi has been growing rapidly.

The mayor said that some 600,000 Chinese visited Russia last year, and promised that Sochi is capable of accommodating 2 million Chinese tourists a year.

To support that, Sochi plans to open direct flights to China's capital city of Beijing and Changzhou city in east China's Jiangsu province in June, 2015.

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