Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

Kitesurfers' Mecca: Rock Hotel

Resident of Russia's Arctic Zone poised to build a tourist base for kitesurfers and divers in Murmansk region

13.09.21 // Kursh Rock was granted the status of a resident of the Arctic Zone of Russia after submitting a project to build a recreation base for outdoorsmen. Tourists will be able to stay in comfortable cottages, some of which are carved into the rock. Director of Kursh Rock Vitaliy Tkachenko speaks about the hotel's plans to attract kitesurfers and divers and the new project's potential to influence tourist flow into the region.

Mountain Bedroom

The new hotel for outdoorsmen will be located within Murmansk city limits, in the depleted quarry near the stunning Ledovoye Lake. As the project managers note, the hotel compound will be intertwined with the landscape to enhance the location's natural beauty.

'This unique project features some very unorthodox planning solutions. A number of lodgings for guests will be carved into the rock. Thus, its key elements will become part of the terrain. We don't want to disturb the natural landscape, so we are looking for technical solutions to implement our idea,' Tkachenko stressed.

Moreover, as he explained, the plans include the construction of a dozen free-standing eco-cottages, each with a 126 sq.m. floor space. The architectural layout will center around a restaurant seating 50 people. There are also plans to lay hiking trails around the lake. Tourists will be able to choose one with just the amount of challenge that suits them.

'There will also be dedicated locations for kitesurfing. The local weather with its strong winds is perfect for this sport. As the facility will lie within the city limits, kitesurfers will save time, not having to drive to a site in the tundra 80 km away from Murmansk,' added the director of Kursh Rock.

In recent years, the Murmansk region has become one of the most popular regions for kitesurfing and snowboarding in Russia. According to Governor Andrey Chibis, the region welcomed over 350,000 tourists in 2020. The overall cost of services rendered to them amounted to about RUB 3.2 billion, which is almost RUB 1.2 billion higher than planned, according to data by Rosstat.

'Fans of winter sports flock to our region from all over Russia. We would like to organise kitesurfing competitions in our quarry, which will help attract new guests to our hotel. Also, we are now discussing the creation of a diving school, as there is a large clear lake near the base. All in all, we plan to create a multi-profile resort for Russians who are into sports and those who love primaeval nature,' said Tkachenko.

Burnt Rock

As Vitaliy recalls, the idea to create a resort complex for outdoor recreation struck him during a kitesurfing session. The entrepreneur learned from friends that there was a quarry with strong winds near the hill the locals call Kurbysh.

'The hill's name is Sámi for 'Burnt'. We wanted to keep the ethnic name, so we shortened it a bit and added the English word "rock." The result is Kursh Rock — a very unusual name for a hotel; however, it perfectly conveys the area's authentic atmosphere,' he noted in a conversation with Arctic Russia.

The facility is estimated to be commissioned between 2023 and 2024. At the moment, the construction of the hotel is at the approval and design stage. First and foremost, the plot has to be put on the state cadastral register, and land use documents need to be drawn up.

'We have only recently received the paperwork for the land, so we are still contemplating how our bold idea can fit into the area. As of now, we estimate the cost of the project at RUB 50 million, but we are ready for the final sum to be double that,' Tkachenko stated.

The region's Department of Economics told entrepreneurs about the opportunity to become residents of the Arctic Zone. As of now, even small and medium-sized businesses can apply for residency, as the minimum required capital investment is RUB 1 million, the department explained.

'We were able to match the conditions, so we promptly collected the necessary paperwork, and the first results were not long in coming. Firstly, the authorities granted us land for construction fairly quickly, skipping auctions and bureaucratic delays. Secondly, as residents, we are counting on tax preferences and concessional loans for business development,' said Shevchenko.

Kursh Rock director expects the project to quickly pay for itself. According to Vitaliy, the demand for the facility will increase as the tourist flow into the region grows. With the facility reaching full capacity and the average annual occupancy rate at 70%, the company estimates it will sell at least 20,400 bed nights a year.

'The hotel should employ at least 50 people, enough to ensure comfortable accommodation and leisure for guests. Our region has enormous potential, and we expect the tourist flow to increase noticeably in the coming years, which will guarantee a stable flow of both Russian and foreign travellers. The Murmansk region is rich in unusual places already in high demand among tourists. It attracts kitesurfers, snowboarders, and divers, as well as ordinary tourists who want to enjoy primaeval nature and relax,' Tkachenko concluded.