We met shortly after the lifting of the quarantine, which the Kuban authorities in connection with the pandemic was announced in late March. Almost three months Sochi sanatoriums and hotels were empty, and here they are again opened its doors to vacationers.

the Correspondent of “RG” witnessed in Sochi is literally flooded with tourists. Is the city ready to welcome many guests? What are the measures taken by the authorities for their safety? What are the characteristics of this season? This and many other questions we asked the mayor Russia’s main holiday resort of Alexei Kopaigorodsky.

Alex S., we can assume that after the lifting of the quarantine, the holiday season finally started?

Alex Kopaigorodsky: It happened much earlier. Despite the limitations associated with the coronavirus, the season in Sochi is traditionally opened with the beginning of the summer from the first of June. On this day began the work of the sanatorium with the medical license. And on the sixth of June, opened the first beaches in strict accordance with the requirements of the CPS. The season is always worked out in different ways. Because people go not just to live in a room with a view, but want to see something new and interesting. We work in close conjunction with all the hoteliers, resorts Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi national Park, the Caucasian biosphere reserve. The Sochi national Park this year marks 150 tourist routes. Work continues on large-scale tourism project “the Golden ring of the Bosporan Kingdom” in Sochi it will be interesting to those interested in history and archeology.

Note that after removing a number of restrictive measures, the resort is gradually returning to normal life. Opened pleasure grounds, Hiking trails and parks. Mountain resorts also gave a start to the season. Started working cable car, panoramic area, bike and skate parks. And in the snowpark, due to the unique climate zone, you can ride on a snowboard in June. And, of course, in the summer tourists come to the resort for the beach. His purity is our particular concern. I would like to thank the Governor of Krasnodar Krai Veniamin Kondratiev and the Ministry of the Russian Federation for the proposal to develop a comprehensive Federal environmental programme “Sochi – the pearl of Russia” and participation in its implementation. It will help to continue the modernization of systems of water supply and sanitation in the resort. Including thanks to it is created a centralized Sewerage system, which completely eliminates the ingress of wastewater into the Black sea.

it is No accident the best beaches of Sochi were awarded the international environmental certificate “Blue flag”…

Alex Kopaigorodsky: Is an international award, presented annually to the beachm coastal strip which meets the highest quality standards and the water is suitable for safe swimming. Environmental sign “Blue flag” this year has received 24 Russian beach, including the 21 in Sochi. Our beaches have started to participate in this competition in 2018. The first time the award was given to six areas. In 2019 13. And now ekosertifikat international “Blue flag” rated beach 21 Sochi. Clean sea, quality service, improvement of beach areas and the safety of tourists – the pillars on which is based the resort area of Sochi. And recognized by the international community – an indication that we are on the right track.

You become the mayor of Sochi in September last year, so this holiday season for you first. What changes have happened this year in urban infrastructure?

Alex Kopaigorodsky: the First thing we asked ourselves citizens that most need the citizens that they care about. One of the most frequent requests was the reconstruction of a Riviera promenade. This is a landmark for Sochi place, so it was important to preserve the historical appearance of the object. I hope it was a success. After the holiday season, the builders will start the second stage of reconstruction. On the top of the embankment will be divided into another square and across the river Sochi will build a pedestrian bridge that will connect the Riviera to the port, the beach “Mayak”.

the beginning of the season completed the first stage of reconstruction of the embankment of the river Matsesta and has been landscaped promenade along the Sochi river. There is a new promenade area that is sure to delight guests of the resort. Like the fountains, which since the beginning of the summer, resumed its work. To the city Day, in late may, we launched a redesigned area in front of the station building. It is an iconic place for resort guests and for its own inhabitants. It is the citizens approached us with a request to landscape the area, to clean it from unnecessary structures, and that was done with the support of the Governor of Kuban and the head of Russian Railways. Station square has now become a new, modern look. There were two Parking lots with a total capacity of one hundred cars, a lane for public transport, with four bus stops, comfortable lounge areas for passengers and even a Playground.

Can you name the advantages Sochi, distinguishing it from other popular resorts in the world?

Alex Kopaigorodsky: Early in the morning, you have warm sea, and an hour in the mountains. This contrast always surprised the guests of the resort – including high-ranking politicians, world famous athletes. And, of course, the main natural therapeutic factor is the Matsesta is a unique hydrogen sulphide water. Not accidentally in the center of the coat of arms of Sochi there is a Cup filled with ice��constant water. Its healing power is well known, therefore, as in past years, and this season, people tend to come here for health. By the way, since opening in 1902 on the first Matsesta Spa-complex is released over 220 million treatments. By the end of 2019 the number of tourists in Sochi amounted to 6.2 million people. This impressive figure is the result of including the participation of the Sochi health resorts in the program “Open South”. Resorts offer in the offseason from October to April services at a low fixed price. It will be so in the current season.

as far As we know, this year you have initiated a very important project associated with the rehabilitation of the doctors involved in the fight against the pandemic. Tell us more about it.

Alex Kopaigorodsky: Yes, we offered to provide free medical vacations in the health resorts. To improve their health in sanatoria of Sochi, the Russian physicians and their families is offered from October 2020 to may 2021-th. The project has already found a positive response in the State Duma, and we hope will be supported at the governmental level. This will allow me to thank health workers for their dedicated work in the fight against coronavirus.

hopefully, the resort of Sochi this year, will work at full capacity. Resumes and signature events. The resort has something to offer. So I say to all: come to Sochi. You are always welcome.

Many people choose Sochi because the resort has repeatedly been named one of the safest cities in the country. Today is important not only from the point of view of the work of law enforcement agencies, but given the pandemic of coronavirus.

Alex Kopaigorodsky: This work is conducted in close cooperation with law enforcement and all security agencies. Under the strict control of the city remains the epidemiological situation. The Observatory continues to function, but only for those coming from abroad citizens. At the airport, railway and bus stations, but also the car post “Magri” from entering continue measure the temperature. If the health of the traveler will cause suspicion of the staff of the CPS, he will have to undergo additional screening. Under special control is 190 of the Sochi beaches, which employs 700 rescuers. This year on the municipal beach surveillance cameras installed. This is done for the prevention of offences, and the aid of rescuers. Also on some beaches there were a camera store. All this, together with the working not the first year in Sochi system “Safe city” makes the stay really safe.

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Jennifer Alvarez is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.