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Invest into the Crimea!

 

Yalta is a resort town located on the southern coast of the Crimean peninsula. Administratively, Bigger Yalta includes several other small towns strewn along the coast for several dozens miles. Excellent geographic location, scenic natural setting and wonderful climate make Bigger Yalta a magnet that draws hundreds of thousands of tourists and holiday makers from Ukraine and from abroad. In fact, there are only two other places in Europe which provide a similar combination of sea, mountains and subtropical climate  Nice in France and Montenegro in the Mediterranean.

 

Bigger Yalta has ideal natural conditions for rest and health improvement practically all the year round. The salubrious air which is permeated both with iodinated sea vapors and volatile anti-bacterial substances produced by the plants some of which are not to be found anywhere else except for the Crimean mountains, is particularly beneficial for improving health, strengthening the nervous systems and giving vital energy. The scenery itself is healing in its effect on the beholder. Unfortunately, there is one important thing lacking  a tourist infrastructure of a European level that would allow to receive tourists from the West in greater numbers and provide services they are accustomed to.

In recent years, things have begun to change for the better. At present, the revenues from tourism make up 40 to 50 percent of the budget of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Investors are taking a closer look. On January 1 2000, a programme of encouraging and attracting investments for a period of 30 years was introduced in Bigger Yalta which was given a priority development status. The main aim of the programme is to create most favourable conditions for attracting investments, both Ukrainian and foreign, which are to be channeled into the development of the most prospective spheres of the local economy: health-improvement and rest centres; entertainment, culture and sports; construction; film making; electric power production and distribution; transportation infrastructure.

In compliance with the Law of Ukraine On the Special Status of Investment Activity in the Territory of Priority Development in the Special Economic Zone Port Crimea, the business entities registered in the Bigger Yalta priority development territory, have been granted a number of customs duty, tax and other privileges:

a five-year exemption from customs duties on import of raw materials and equipment together with ancillary items, and no value added tax on equipment together with ancillary items which is imported exclusively for the needs of realization of an investment project;

a three-year exemption from taxes on the profits gained from the realization of an investment project; in the next three years, profit taxes are levied at the rate of 50 percent of the existing tax rate; the sums of investments in the form of monetary funds, material assets and intangible assets will not be included into the gross revenue;

exemption from the rent on land for the period of the development of the rented plot of land, but no more than for five years;

exemption from the obligatory sale of foreign currency gained as profits.

 

Since the time the special status was introduced in the Bigger Yalta priority development territory, investment projects worth more than 120 million US dollars have been approved and their realization has begun.

The first tender in the Crimea for the realization of investment projects was held in October 2003, with 6 investment projects worth 30 million dollars offered for sale. This price was set as a starting point by the Yalta Executive Committee, but eventually, the tender fetched 40 million dollars. The tender was won by four companies from Kyiv and one company from Moscow. Every project drew at least three applications. All the projects are to be realized within the Bigger Yalta priority development programme.

Says Yalta Mayor Serhiy Brayko: We are satisfied in the whole with the results of the tender, and of course its a good start. We are planning to continue to hold tenders. We put all the prepared investment projects on our website and all the details can be found there. We concentrate our efforts on attracting investments into the entertainment sphere. We have minimized all the bureaucratic procedures at the local level, and the investors must have felt that at the recent investment tender. Nevertheless , there are still problems to be dealt with, and those who want to develop their business in Yalta should be aware of them. The main problem, ahead of all others, lies in deficiencies of the investment laws. The situation here has been worsening for the investors rather than improving. The main investments came in the years 2000-2001 when the Special Economic Zone Port Crimea was set up. It was then that most of the 200 million dollars were obtained in investments and ninety percent of these investments were used in Bigger Yalta. But since then, the rules of the game for investors have changed several times. It causes caution on the part of investors and slows down the investment process, but it does not stop those who come to realize long-term projects and believes in the future of the Crimea. No one has any doubts as to the future of the Crimea as a resort area of a world standard. Its only a matter of time when well attain this standard. While potential investors are vacillating about investing or not investing, the demand for the real estate and land in Yalta keeps growing  in the past few years the price has gone up several times. Most of the investments that do come are Ukrainian or Russian. They have been joined recently at the Crimean market by Italian and Turkish investors. The number of successful investments is growing with every passing year. At present, in the territory of Bigger Yalta we have recently renovated or built establishments of the tourist-resort branch such as the four-star Oreanda hotel complex in Yalta; the Blue Bay Aquapark in Simeiz; the Terletsky Rest Home in Foros, to name just a few. The international childrens centre Artek in Gurzuf is under comprehensive reconstruction; new comfortable rest homes Glitsiniya-2001 and Palmiro Palace are under construction; Hotels Vremena Goda (Seasons of the Year), Bristol, Levant and Leto (Summer) have turned out to be successful projects.

As far as taking risks is concerned, it is worthwhile to mention here the National Reserve Bank Ukrayina, the biggest investor in the Crimea as an example. The bank has already invested 50 million dollars and is investing another 25 million. Says Vyacheslav Yutkin, the banks president: To build or not to build in the Crimea is not the question for us any more  we are going ahead with investments since the Crimea is doomed to flourish. If not next year, then in five, ten or fifteen years. And then, as they say, Those who have missed it, are late. That is why one should be patient, optimistic and save money for investments  and taking decisions remember a dictum of a French philosopher: The world is ruled by those who get up early  until the moment when others start getting up.

Bigger Yalta stretches along the southern Crimean coast for 70 kilometers (over 40 miles) from the town of Foros to the town of Gurzuf. The 59 kilometers of beaches on this stretch cover 600,000 square meters.

Bigger Yaltas health-improvement centres and rest homes can accommodate up to 40,000 people at a time. In 2003, 4.5 million people came to the Crimea for rest, health improvement and recreation, and 700,000 of them stayed in Bigger Yalta.

There are over 11 thousand architectural, historical and cultural landmarks in the Crimea dating from various epochs and civilizations. Among the most impressive natural landmarks in the territory of Bigger Yalta are the 3-kilometer long and 320-meter deep Grand Canyon of the Crimea; the Uchan Su waterfall, 98 meters high; the Karadag Mountain Range.

Among man-made wonders of the Bigger Yalta area, the Nikitsky Botanical Gardens, with its thousands of species of plants from all the continents, is a major tourist attraction.

Within the Bigger Yalta territory we find the Livadia Palace, built in the early 20th century for Russian Emperor Nicholas II, and later the venue of the 1945 anti-Hitler coalition conference; the magnificent 19th-century Vorontsov Palace in Alupka; the Massandra Palace of Alexander III, Russian Tsar in the famous wine-making district of Massandra, and many museums devoted to prominent writers and painters who used to live in the Crimea (Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Alexander Pushkin and others).

A consular facility for citizens of the EU countries, Canada, Japan and the USA functions at the airport of Symferopol, the capital of the Crimea; visitors from these countries can obtain visas right at the airport for up to eight days on producing papers that confirm their arrival in the Crimea in the capacity of tourists.

Further information at: www.Yalta-invest.org

 

By Valeriya Bondarenko

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