Sochi offers alternative for visitors after the Winter Olympics
CGTN

When Russia spent billions to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, many predicted that its flashy facilities would be left to rot. However, Sochi has been striving to turn its Olympic infrastructure into a welcoming tourist attraction for holiday goers.

The Rosa Khutor resort in the Caucasus mountains, for instance, is becoming a favorite of Russian skiers, and an alternative to ski trips to Europe.

The resort, which hosted alpine events for the Olympics, was packed on a recent February day, with skiers racing down the slopes as low clouds hung over the mountains.

Skiers queue for a cable car ride at the Rosa Khutor resort, February 17, 2019. /VCG Photo

Skiers queue for a cable car ride at the Rosa Khutor resort, February 17, 2019. /VCG Photo

The Rosa Khutor resort is becoming popular among Russian skiers. /VCG Photo

The Rosa Khutor resort is becoming popular among Russian skiers. /VCG Photo

Skiers ride a cable car at the Rosa Khutor resort, February 17, 2019. /VCG Photo

Skiers ride a cable car at the Rosa Khutor resort, February 17, 2019. /VCG Photo

Holiday-goers rest in a cafe at the Rosa Khutor resort, February 17, 2019. /VCG Photo

Holiday-goers rest in a cafe at the Rosa Khutor resort, February 17, 2019. /VCG Photo

Rosa Khutor's deputy chief Alexander Belokobylsky said there was a "crazy rise" in visits in the first two years after the Olympics. Numbers have still been rising, by five to seven percent per year, he said, with some 920,000 skiers visiting Rosa Khutor during last year's season.

"As you can see, doubts over what would happen to Olympic infrastructure were pointless," Belokobylsky said.

During summer season, the beaches in Sochi can get extremely busy with visitors. The Port of Sochi, filled with restaurants, bars, hotels and hawkers who sell boat trips, is considered one of Russia's most popular resorts.

The Port of Sochi, Russia. /VCG Photo

The Port of Sochi, Russia. /VCG Photo

Sochi's 48,000-seat Fisht Olympic Stadium has been largely standing empty after hosting the lavish opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Nevertheless, during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the beach in front of the Fisht Stadium saw an increased number of visitors. 

Tourists crowd the beach in front of the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, June 14, 2018. /VCG Photo

Tourists crowd the beach in front of the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, June 14, 2018. /VCG Photo

The beaches in summer and ski slopes in winter attracted 6.5 million visitors to Sochi in 2017. Every now and then, the city also hosts various events, including Formula One racing, singing competitions and festivals.

(With input from AFP)

(Cover: The Commercial Sea Port of Sochi, Russia. /VCG Photo)