The repair of the Proval in Pyatigorsk, "so that it does not sink too much", known from the imperishable "12 chairs" of Ilf and Petrov, was in fact carried out not by Ostap Bender, but in our time, thanks to the so-called resort fee, which recently began to be charged from tourists.
The failure is actually a natural well on the southern slope of Mount Mashuk, at the bottom of which there is a lake with mineral water. Local authorities say that it was the resort fee that made it possible to repair and restore the lake's fencing.
But in Anapa, the resort fee, although it brought no less than 61 million rubles in 2019 alone, did not help to make a storm sewer in the city, which is why the city periodically turns into one continuous fetid puddle during rains, through which vacationers, who conscientiously pay from 50 to 100 rubles a day for the right to be tourists in their native country, are moving knee-deep in dirty water.
Also, the fact that there are no high-quality treatment facilities, which, in theory, should be diverted far from the beach, often turns the sea into a source of sewage and rotavirus, from which Anapa tourists traditionally get sick.
In general, thanks to the resort fee for the Krasnodar Territory, 225 million rubles were collected, while the plan was 150 million. Of the collected funds, 75.3 million were directed to the improvement of resort areas. In 2019, 17.3 million people rested and improved their health in the Kuban, and 17 million a year earlier. I remember that our editorial staff repeatedly sent requests to the governor of the Krasnodar Territory with a request to clarify what exactly does not allow installing, for example, in Anapa, storm water and high-quality sewerage, but silence was our answer. It remains to be hoped that the tourist tax will still be used in the right direction. Someday…
In fairness, it should be noted that some regions regularly report on the use of funds received from the tourist tax. For example, in the Stavropol Territory, in the city of Essentuki, thanks to the resort fee, the Kurortny park was renovated - a place with almost 200 years of history. At one of the main entrance groups of the park, 77 benches and 179 LED lamps on decorative supports were installed. They say it turned out very nice. The tourist tax also made it possible to repair the territory of the public garden in Pyatigorsk in the area of mineral water sources, as well as the Singing Fountain. “In Kislovodsk, thanks to the resort fee, benches and fountains were installed in the parks. Signs “Tourists, this was made possible thanks to you” were installed nearby. Such things clearly show the benefits of the resort fee. Although this measure is not indisputable”, - Maya Lomidze, executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), told NI.
The resort tax is a kind of tourist tax paid by vacationers for using the resort infrastructure. The maximum collection bar will be set by the feds. Today, in various regions, it is set in sizes from 10 rubles to 150 rubles per person per day. All money, in theory, should remain in the region and go to the development of tourism. The resort fee experiment should end this year. It was started five years ago in the Crimea, Altai, Kuban and Stavropol. But the experiment was not crowned with success everywhere.
While Altai, Kuban and Stavropol were earning hundreds of millions on the collection, the head of the Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, could not get a penny from the tourists.
Now the opportunity to earn may appear in each region. Only we are talking not about 50 rubles a day, but about 100 rubles, it is written in the draft law. Already 18 subjects have become interested in this. The idea, as they say, has gone to the authorities. Indeed, in cities such as Suzdal, where the population is only 4,000, the local budget is not enough to maintain all the sights and tourist infrastructure in a decent form - after all, more than a million tourists visit the region every year!
“In order to understand the prospects for the application of the tourist tax, we must remember that the introduction of the resort tax as an experiment in 2018 was preceded by a heated discussion between the authorities and the business community with the active participation of the RSPP, FNPR and RST. As a result, a compromise was reached, according to which the funds received from the collection were fully returned from the regional budget to the resort municipality. A mechanism of public control over their use and numerous benefits for various groups of the population were provided. As a result, the law turned out to be flexible and effectively applicable only in regions where the prerequisites for this are ripe”, - Sergey Shpilko, honorary president of the Russian Union of Travel Industry (PCT), told NI.
What regions are we talking about? First of all, these are regions that are in traditional demand with a fairly high check, against which the tourist tax will not be so noticeable. But in regions where the private sector is in greater demand, as, for example, in the Crimea, the tourist tax was forced to be canceled. “In the Krasnodar Territory and the Republic of Crimea, there were more problems with the introduction of the fee, including because its application, especially at a high fee rate, further intensified unfair competition for classified hotels from the “private sector”, - explains Sergey Shpilko, Honorary President of the PCT.
There are also regions where tourism is only gaining momentum, for example, the northern regions of Russia, Bashkiria. In these developing territories in terms of tourism, the tourist tax will look quite controversial.
“Tourist tax was introduced by analogy with foreign resorts. In Dubai, Barcelona, Venice, for example, the number of tourists is over the top, and there the fee applies to foreign tourists. Recently, for obvious reasons, there have been very few foreign tourists in Russia, so the main burden should fall on domestic travelers. There has been some controversy surrounding this measure. For example, is it worth sending the tourist tax to the budget of the municipality or region. There were questions about the administration and spending of funds. From the point of view of municipalities, such income is naturally a plus. But from the point of view of the current situation, when the borders are actually closed, when the situation in the country is difficult, the tourist tax risks becoming an unpopular measure”, - said Maya Lomidze, executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR).
Honorary President of the PCT Sergey Shpilko agrees with her: until at least 2025. And, moreover, there is no need to rush to increase the maximum fee from 50 to 100 rubles. per day. Because for a family of three, for example, for a week such a fee will run into the cost of one more day of staying at a hotel, which, you see, is already too much financial burden on the consumer. Yes, and for hotels, because for them every ruble in the cost of living for the sale of their services and business profitability is of critical importance. And with the collection of accommodation in them will be more expensive. This means that it will be more difficult to sell services, and income will not increase”.
The resort fee experiment is due to end on December 31, 2022. And it is not yet known exactly what will happen to him next. But in 2019, the Ministry of Finance proposed to include a hotel fee in the Tax Code, which is expected to replace the resort fee from 2023. According to the bill, hotels, sanatoriums and resort recreation facilities will pay the hotel tax.
At the same time, the authorities of Sevastopol and the Kaliningrad region announced their desire to introduce a resort fee in 2023. The Governor of the Stavropol Territory, Vladimir Vladimirov, believes that the resort fee should operate on an ongoing basis. During the experiment, the region additionally attracted 784 million rubles. This money allowed to improve 48 objects.
In the meantime, the resort tax, even before it was adopted at the legislative level, became in fact mandatory in almost all resorts. There are even penalties for not listing it. “The resort fee will be charged no later than the time of departure from the property. For example, the law of the Stavropol Territory indicates that the operator must transfer the resort fee to the local budget upon the expiration of the actual residence period no later than the 5th day of the month following the reporting month, and in December no later than the 28th,” the regulations state.
However, the legislative initiative on the tourist tax caused mixed responses in the State Duma. “For the development of domestic tourism, the resort tax must be canceled, and not increased, as the Kuban authorities do. This fee practically does not change anything in the quality of service, but it negatively affects the perception of domestic resorts, especially against the background of foreign ones, where there are no requisitions. It is high time to cancel the resort tax, this is anti-advertising for domestic tourism”, - said Sergey Mironov, head of the faction of the Just Russia-Patriots-For Truth party.
Personally, from my travel experience, I remember how in the Krasnodar Territory from each of the family members, including a child, the hotel asked for this same fee in the amount of 100 rubles per person per day. And only when I returned, I found out that in Anapa, the amount of this fee was lower. But I will be glad if the money seized from my family goes to good deeds, and not to the pockets of officials and local oligarchs in the tourism industry.