Russia's North Caucasus Region Proposes Daily Tourist Tax

The average tour of North Caucasian resorts generally costs about 18,000-49,000 rubles ($275-750) and lasts between 12 and 14 days.

The Ministry for North Caucasian Affairs has introduced a draft bill that would oblige tourists to the region to pay a "resort fee" of up to 150 rubles ($2.30) a day, the Kommersant newspaper reported Monday. The new fee would be introduced on an experimental basis in the southern region of Stavropol.

The fee is scheduled for launch next year, and would likely bring in 2-6 billion rubles over the next five years, Minister of North Caucasian Affairs Lev Kuznetsov told Kommersant.

The new tax would apply, in particular, to the visitors of the most popular spa cities in the North Caucasus, including Mineralnye Vody, Yessentuki, Kislovodsk and others. "We presume that the average fee will equal some 50-100 rubles ($0.70-1.50) a day," Kuznetsov was quoted as saying by Kommersant, adding that the revenue would help improve North Caucasian resorts.

"A fee of 50-100 rubles would hardly meet with a sharp pushback," said Anvar Gadzhiyev, a representative for the North Caucasian Agency for Strategic Initiatives, Kommersant reported. "The money wouldn't leave the region," he added.

The average tour of North Caucasian resorts generally costs about 18,000-49,000 rubles ($275-750) and lasts between 12 and 14 days, which means that the alleged tax would reach 2,000 rubles on the whole, boosting the cost of tours 5-10 percent, said Sergei Romashkin, the head of the Delfin tour operator, Kommersant reported.

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