How adequately is it planned to spend the money?
State Corporation “Tourism.RF” prepared her own version of the passport of the national project “Tourism and hospitality industry”. Compared to the original version from Rostourism its total cost has increased from 629 billion rubles to more than two trillion, but experts again consider the economic effect of such investments not obvious.
Document (a copy is in the editorial office. – Ed.) was received for approval by the ministries on March 15. It still consists of three federal projects, but the amount of funding has changed significantly. As previously assumed, the most capital-intensive part has been removed from the area of responsibility of the Federal Tourism Agency: the Russian Tourism Corporation will be engaged in the Development of Tourism Infrastructure, in which it is now proposed to invest a total of 2 trillion 74 billion rubles (including from the budget – 400.6, and 1.67 trillion from “extrabudgetary sources.” Ed.). The head of the Corporation is designated as responsible – Sergey Sukhanov, previously supervising the preparation of Olympic venues in Sochi.
In the powers of Rostourism, two smaller projects are left: “Increasing the availability of tourist services” – with an estimated amount of financing of 59.5 billion and “Improving management in the field of tourism” – for 7.9 billion. This is all about grants for entrepreneurs, cashback for tours in Russia, training in tourism, etc.
The distribution of roles in the project is also secured by the financing of the Corporation itself – in accordance with the resolution signed by the Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, the government will allocate 6.3 billion rubles to it as a contribution to the authorized capital.
The money will be needed to develop master plans for the development of tourism in 12 “macro-territories” of Russia – this work will have to be done over the next four years. Judging by the statements of the Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko, supervising the national project, the first plans will receive the Crimea and the regions of the Far East.
The most controversial items that had previously caused criticism in the industry community, for example, the number of sanatoriums that have passed the classification, or the increase in the number of glamping sites, were removed from the targets of the national project. The remaining goals have been adjusted and supplemented. However, according to observers, this did not make the document more understandable.
For example, by 2030 the number of rooms in collective accommodation facilities (DAC) in Russia should increase by 38,000 units, which is only 3.8% of the DAC capacity in 2019 (992,600 rooms). According to the previous version of the document, prepared by Rosturizm, this figure was to be increased by 6.9% – up to 68.8 thousand numbers. Thus, the scale of the task has decreased, while the volume of investments, on the contrary, has increased. Moreover, the cost per room is comparable to the world’s leading resorts.
According to one of the experts, if we divide the 2 trillion of the estimated investments into 38,000 future numbers, it turns out that each of them will cost 54.5 million rubles, that is, more than $ 747,000 at the rate of 73 rubles per dollar. For comparison: the famous hotel Atlantis The Palm 5 * on a bulk island in Dubai cost one and a half billion dollars, that is, approximately $ 974,000 for each of its 1,539 rooms.
Of course, it is worth making an amendment that the domestic national project included the construction of expensive engineering facilities, including in hard-to-reach regions, as well as putting in order the centers of a number of cities, creating an accompanying recreation infrastructure, without which tourists simply will not come. However, even taking this into account, and adjustments for the climate and specifics, the prime cost of the room is still very high – the investment will not pay off soon. According to observers, the principle laid down in the national project, under which for every ruble of state money, at least four will be provided by “off-budget sources”, is unlikely to be observed. This means that it will be the other way around: the costs will directly or indirectly fall on the state.
In principle, there is nothing wrong with that. In order to receive taxes on income from domestic and inbound tourism, the state must create conditions for recreation. However, the list of projects that are proposed to be co-financed as “multifunctional tourist complexes” also raises questions. The appendix lists several hundred “announced for selection” investment projects of various sizes. Among them is a new ski resort “Valley Vasta” in Sochi with a capacity of 1.3 million people per year, a tourist cluster on Russky Island in the Kamchatka Territory (2 million people per year) and other facilities. At the same time, very tiny projects are also present: a modular hotel (glamping) in the Rostov region for 10 rooms, a guest house in the Perm region for five rooms, etc. The selection principle is not clear, but as observers suggest, most likely, the authors were guided by the bandwidth – it appeared among the target indicators. And small properties were added to the list to support small businesses.
However, this approach requires a clear selection procedure, otherwise questions arise. For example, why the list includes 24 projects of a development company “Azimuth”? And why for many applicants instead of numbers it is indicated “n / a”, no data? Judging by the document, a certain government commission will have to deal with the approval of the candidates. The fact that the working version of the passport of the national project already contains a motley list of applicants for co-financing, according to observers, may complicate the process of coordination with other departments. First of all Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Development…
In the fall of last year, both departments prepared devastating reviews of the previous edition of the national project, pointing out many flaws (a copy of one of the answers is also in the editorial office). Here is one of the quotes: “The provision of funds (the amount of support provided) at the expense of the federal budget cannot be the result of a federal project, since the support of any projects in itself will not affect the achievement of indicators.”
And more: “There is no financial and economic substantiation of expenditures of the federal and budgets of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, as well as reasonable calculations of the amount of financing to achieve the result”, “It is not possible to assess the feasibility of the declared indicators, as well as the possibility and feasibility of implementing all planned results.
The key drawback, according to experts, has migrated to the new version: spending is insufficiently justified, since the final effect for the economy is not clear. At a meeting with Vladimir Putin last September Dmitry Chernyshenko mentioned that the national project “Tourism” will triple the contribution of tourism to the country’s GDP. But this indicator, as before, is not among the target ones. So far, we can only talk about the social effect – according to the document, the number of jobs in the industry should increase to 4.7 million, and citizens will travel more often. However, judging by the statements of the head of Rostourism Zarina Doguzova, things are already going well in tourism: over the three winter months, 15 million Russians have been on tourist trips.