Last year, almost every user of social networks had the opportunity to admire the photos of friends who spent their holidays in Dagestan. Impressive views of the canyon in Sulak, the beaches north of Derbent, the highlands and much more - all this is available today for tourist trips on a par with Dag Bary (one of the three largest defensive fortification systems in the world after the Great Wall of China and the Danube walls of ancient Rome).
What should you look at in Dagestan in the first place?
- Sulak Canyon. Its length is 54 kilometers with almost two kilometers of depth. You can inspect not only from one of the countless observation platforms, but also from the water surface with the help of a boat.
- Gunib. In this area there are unique architectural monuments and historical objects of the time of the conquest of the Caucasus: Chokhsky aul, Gamsutl, ghost village, shamil gate and fortification, as well as many other stunning antiquities.
- Kubachi. This aul was first mentioned in chronicles dating back to the V century. Since then, it has been famous for its masters of iron and silver embossing, stone and wood carvings, as well as excellent gunsmiths.
These are only the most obvious and interesting objects for tourists. And how many more? For the fifth year in a row, the number of travelers who choose Dagestan as their goal is growing by 10-20% annually. Last year there were more than a million of them.
The authorities are well aware that visits of this kind are a gold mine, and are making every effort to make their region even more attractive for travelers. The work is carried out in two directions: the formation of a tourist brand and the search for funds for the development of tourism infrastructure.
Legends of the Mountains
In order to create a single product from the mix of opportunities provided by Dagestan, the republic invests in the ring "Legends of Dagestan": it is designed to unite over a hundred objects in various locations together. According to the idea, it resembles the already existing "Golden Ring of Russia". The main advantage is that all objects are also of independent value, as well as the fact that you can turn on any fragment of the route, the integrity of the idea will not suffer at all. The full duration will be in the region of two weeks, but travelers who are not allowed to rest on a grand scale can choose a weekly route covering the north or south of the republic, as well as numerous local tours on the weekend.
Five tourism clusters
Traditional tourism in the republic now looks like this: travelers come to the region and settle in one of the hotels in Makhachkala, Derbent or Kaspiysk, after which they undertake short forays into interesting places.
After the commissioning of the "Rings", they will be able to stay anywhere, there will be no need to return to the base hotel, which, of course, will require the creation of a full-fledged and high-quality infrastructure at all points of the route without exception.
Work is already underway. Five clusters for tourists have been created:
- Achikol lakes (here it is proposed to engage in hunting, fishing and active recreation).
Projects within the clusters are implemented on the principles of partnership between business and the state. One of them is the creation of the tourist complex "Golden Sands" on the coast. The budget carried out the road and power grid, and private owners built an excellent hotel, water park and related infrastructure; now the complex brings to the budget several tens of millions of rubles in taxes monthly. To avoid fraudulent schemes, a certain minimum level for entry was established, both in terms of the number of new jobs and the share of their capital.
To meet the new conditions, the government of the republic in October last year adopted a program for the development of the tourism sector and folk crafts with a funding volume of over 3.4 billion rubles until 2025. With this money, a dozen tourist and recreational areas will be built, including one agricultural one in Hunzakh. Much remains to be done in Derbent; this is the cable car from Naryn-Kala to the embankment, and the arrangement of the historical center, which is now in an unfortunate state.
In the mountains, people began to rebuild ancestral homes into a kind of boarding house or hotels. The authorities are promoting these measures, are engaged in the installation of signs, equipping inspection centers, information centers, sanitary zones for trailers and similar things.
An important part of this work is the withdrawal from the shadows, the transfer of business to the official rails. Along with the fiscal stick, the authorities actively use carrots: officially registered guest houses can count on a half-million grant for the development of affairs.
The government and the Ministry of Tourism sets itself an ambitious task to double the tourist flow in 8 years. But for this there is little desire - you need infrastructure: hotels and routes, events. All this needs to be created, we need private initiative and its support from the republican authorities.
According to official data, there are only 22 thousand beds: there is a shortage. Of course, three more times so much works in the shadows, but even this offer does not satisfy the colossal demand from domestic tourists. 90% of them, by the way, come from distant regions, not only from Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also from the Far East (17%), and from the Russian North (7%). The average travel time is 6-7 days, which is very good for such poorly equipped places.
All these facts suggest that the republic is a real magnet for travelers, which is able to attract and keep them in the orbit of its influence for a very long time.