Multi-storey hotels resembling palaces, and small cottages for those fond of domestic comfort… Stadiums, golf clubs, tennis courts, and swimming pools… Leisure amusements and vanguard disco clubs… Luxurious floating restaurants and hospitable mini cafes of the East … All of that is compactly located on a small part of the land neighboring with the azure sea, famous desert and exotic mountains. Are these marvelous combinations possible? One can imagine the reality of such a picture clearly even today when watching new buildings springing up on the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea.
The word “multifunctional” highlights Avaza’s major peculiarity laid initially in the concept of the project, which is grandiose by scale and idea. Therefore today Avaza tourism zone has no match all over the world.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov – the author of the idea to transform the almost abandoned seashore into a seaside megalopolis – presented his concept in Avaza during the summit of the leaders of Turkmenistan, the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan last May. Already in July, the first business presentations of the future resort area were made.
A year later, Avaza is the most rapidly implemented project in Turkmenistan. The Government attaches exceptional significance to construction of the facilities and development of the infrastructure in Avaza so long as the world-class resort on the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea is called upon to become, as it is often said there, an international tourist paradise. Completion of the project can boost the investment attractiveness and foster intensification of economic partnership between Turkmenistan and the world business community.
For the truth's sake it should be noted that some foreign analysts expressed doubts on the local legislative framework supposedly unable to provide solid legal guarantees to investors. Though, in early October 2007 President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov approved the Law of Turkmenistan “On Amendments and Additions to Some Legislative Acts of Turkmenistan” laying the concrete legal foundation for implementing the public policy aimed at the development of international economic cooperation. Substantial benefits are provided, therefore to mention them again would be deemed necessary.
First, this is simplification of the visa process for tourists and foreign specialists working in this economic zone. Free currency conversion is guaranteed for investors and the unhampered transfer of earnings overseas after payment of taxes.
The land lots will be allocated to foreign companies for the construction of tourist facilities for the 40-year term – without charging any lease payments within the construction and operating period.
Exemption from customs duties for equipment and materials imported to the country as well as from fees for the services of certification and registration of legal entities and investment projects is guaranteed. Delivery of the goods to the future subjects of the tourism zone will be prioritized. The quotas on the conveyance of company personnel and tourists by all means of transportation along the international and domestic routes will be provided.
What does Avaza tourism zone look like? First of all, it is the site of construction of high-technology resort and health-improving facilities. It’s not only. A botanic garden with plants inhabiting different parts of the planet will be laid out there. The construction of a huge planetarium is planned. There will be the natural and historical monuments compactly placed at the educational centers in Avaza.
Of course, there will be shopping centres, the branches of foreign banks, business centers, offices, conference halls. Comfortable conditions will be created for workaholics who get used to working even during holidays.
It is planned to construct many cafes, snack bars, bistros, restaurants offering various dishes of the national, oriental and European cuisines to the visitors. Four floating restaurants will be built in the sea hundreds of meters far from the shore.
Sport amateurs will be able to visit tennis courts, fitness clubs, saunas, massage rooms, water sport club and those willing to improve health – therapy units supplied with medical equipment and apparatuses for physical therapy produced by the world’s leading manufacturers.
The construction works will be carried out in the tourist zone till 2020 and divided into three equal stages. The first, in accordance with the Master Plan, will cover the 750-hectare area. A number of comfortable recreational centers designed for two thousand visitors in total are under construction on the order of the ministries and departments. The first of them will receive visitors this October.
In total, the first stage envisages building of 50 comfortable hotels ranging from 3- to 20-storey buildings and hundreds of villas and cottages for families on the Avaza seaside. When making a journey by ropeway from the seafront one will be able to see the tourism and entertainment industry sites including an original theater of dancing fountains.
All of that will emerge after the construction is over, but today work is in full swing in Avaza: five companies, the winners of the international tenders, are constructing the modern recreational centers. Our guide – Head of the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning of Turkmenbashi city administration Satlyk Satlykov says:
“Ickale Company is implementing a project of turnkey construction of a 12-storey 220-bed fashionable hotel on the order of Turkmenneftegazstroi Concern. This is the high-class hotel with a medical and recreational centre for oil and gas industry workers. The new hotel is located nearby Serdar Hotel so popular among the guests of the littoral region. Turkmengaz State Concern and Turkmenbashi complex of oil refineries finance the construction project on equity ownership. The Delta firm concluded the contract for the construction of a 12-storey health-improving center for 200 visitors with the Ministry of Railway Transport of Turkmenistan. Another building is being constructed by Polimeks for banking specialists. The Central Bank of Turkmenistan is the general contractor of the project on construction of the 12-storey sanatorium and recreational center for 180 visitors. Also, Sehil Company, on the orders of a number of other Turkmen ministries, is constructing three 12-storey recreational centers for 308, 180 and 300 beds and a children’s recreational complex for 600 beds. The National Center of Trade Unions of Turkmenistan ordered Belda Company to construct a health-improving complex for 400 beds where children and adults can have rest.
A new international airport with the capacity of 800 passengers an hour will become the air gateway of Avaza national tourist zone on the air routes from Europe to South and Southeast Asia. Polimeks will construct the airport under the contract with the Airline.
Owing to the North-South transport corridor project, Turkmenbashi city, the nearest settlement to Avaza and the only largest port linking Central Asia to European counties, will play a role of not only the largest sea port on the Caspian Sea but also a key railway, motor and air transport node of the region. A motor road in Avaza and highways connecting the resort, airport and Turkmenbashi city outside of the zone are being constructed.
A 7-km man-made navigable waterway will stretch for 7 kilometres across the national tourist zone. The recreation area will spread over both banks of the artificial river. One can get from one bank to the other by crossing dozens of motor and pedestrian bridges. The boats and yachts will wander on the mirror-like surface of the canal, which will also host water sports competitions. The construction of the artificial river will be finished next October.
When visiting Avaza, a well-known French racing driver Loran Karbonaro, who piloted a car decorated with the national symbols of Turkmenistan and advertisement of the tourist zone in Monte Carlo Rally, exclaimed:
“The scale of this construction amazes! I am sure such a grandiose project will be an absolute success!”
The tourist zone on the Caspian Sea coast celebrating the first anniversary of its establishment has just started to expand. The first but very important steps to create the resort infrastructure and construct the first facilities have been taken. So, we are just listening to the first chords of a wonderful melody of the land of singing waves. Soon, certainly very soon, Avaza’s jubilant song will be heard…