Russian officials bet on IRs to increase Far Eastern footfall

Russian, officials, betting, IR, Far Eastern footfall
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The ongoing development of the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone will be an important contributor to increasing visitation to the region suggests Konstantin Shestakov, director of Primorsky Krai’s Department of Tourism.

The director of the Primorsky regional government’s Department of Tourism suggests that building up a casino cluster in the Primorye Integrated Entertainment Zone (IEZ) will be an important step in realising plans to boost visitation to Primorsky Krai in the Russian Far East.
At present Summit Ascent Holdings’ Tigre de Cristal is the only casino resort operating in the zone, with a second property to be operated by NagaCorp scheduled to open in 2020, and two further properties under development by Russia-based Diamond Fortune Holdings and Shambala CJSC.
“The IEZ is a very important project to attract more tourists to the Russian Federation, specifically to the Primorsky region,” said Konstantin Shestakov, director of the Department
of Tourism. “This is a vital project for us for several reasons: attracting foreign investment; engaging more foreign companies; diversifying our tourism offering; developing transport infrastructure; and increasing the number of hotel rooms.”
The number of visitors to Primorsky has doubled in recent years. The Primorsky region welcomed 643,996 visitors from overseas in 2017, a 13.3 percent rise on the previous year. More than 421,000 of these visitors came from mainland China.
“We are hoping to have seen an increase in the aggregate number of visitors for 2018,” Shestakov added. “We expect the biggest increase to be in the South Korean market, namely due to better accessibility to the region for Koreans, with better infrastructure, more flights from South Korea and promotional activities with South Korean companies.”
Alongside this, he confirmed that the Department of Tourism hoped to see a slight rise in Japanese tourist numbers in its full-year 2018 results. “We want to improve that, and we are working with companies and tourism bodies in Japan to promote our region in a more effective way,” Shestakov stated.
A new policy introduced in 2017 allowed tourists from 18 countries – including China and Japan – to obtain a visa on arrival at Vladivostok airport or seaport provided they file an application online at least four days prior to their visit.
“We are paying attention to other markets, especially to take advantage of the simplified visa regime for a total of 18 countries,” Shestakov continued. “Taking into account that we have two big tourist hubs nearby – in Seoul and Beijing – we can organise some interesting tours with transfers in these cities, when engaging further- away destinations.”
He added that the Department of Tourism is working closely with the gambling zone’s investors as part of efforts to further increase footfall.
“We have a close cooperation with the existing investors in the IEZ. We always invite them to take part in our promotional activities across Asia, and we collaborate to create a more enticing offering,” explained Shestakov.
“We hope to build strong cooperation ties with all the companies and bodies promoting tourism in the Primorsky region, but gaming operators have the opportunity to cooperate with other companies to boost the market, like junket operators, in order to attract some VIP customers,” he concluded.

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