Gift from Istanbul. Turkish $650-million Disneyland to appear near Kazan

The constructor of the biggest mosque in Turkey is interested in a 78-ha land parcel near Stolbische village in Laishevo District

Gift from Istanbul. Turkish $650-million Disneyland to appear near Kazan

Another tourism driver may appear in Tatarstan – an amusement park like Isfanbul in Istanbul. Gürsoy Group, Kalyon and Tanrıverdi Holding from Turkey plan to build the facility near Kazan and have already chosen one of the land parcels near Stolbische. The investors presented the project to the Tatarstan president on 10 August and confirmed their intention of signing an agreement with the State Committee for Tourism and the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency. Realnoe Vremya tells the details.

Turks to build Disneyland for Kazan citizens

Gürsoy Group, Kalyon and Tanrıverdi Holding from Turkey arrived in Kazan with big plans. The investors intend to build a themed amusement park in Tatarstan like Isfanbul. This Turkish Disneyland in Istanbul with an area of 600,000 square metres includes shopping and exhibition centres with more than 200 shops, different food courts, a hotel, a 5D cinema, amusements for the whole family. More than a million guests visit it a year (40% of them are tourists), while the shopping centre in it is visited by about 15 million people. This is the analogue of the Turkish park they would like to build near Kazan.

The investors have been offered to choose out of three sites: two territories in Verkhny Uslon District and one in Laishevo District. One site is near Verkhny Uslon is 40 ha, another 68-ha site is not far from Tatar Burnashevo village and the one of 78 ha is next to Stolbische village. The guests visited the last option – the biggest parcel – on 9 August. The delegation included Gürsoy Group board member Fatih Gürsoy, Development Director from Kalyon Holding Salih Levent Kaçar, Board Member from Tanrıverdi Holding Celal Zinzade. Head of Laishevo District Mikhail Afanasyev and Chairman of the Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism Sergey Ivanov accompanied the representatives of Turkish companies.

The investors have been offered to choose out of three sites: two territories in Verkhny Uslon District and one in Laishevo District

''They haven't chosen the site yet. But when we showed the parcel, they immediately they liked it very much. The airport, the federal highway and the railway are close. Another advantage is that there is an Aeroexpress stop right there, that's to say, it will be convenient for people to come by train. You get off the train and you're already in the park,'' press secretary of Laishevo District Rasim Khaziyev told.

The Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism dealt with attracting the foreign investor to Tatarstan. Sergey Ivanov's committee confirmed the Turkish companies were really thinking of the possibility of building a themed amusement park near Kazan.

''It is the first meeting to also assess the possibilities of fulfilling this project in the Republic of Tatarstan. In general, the Turkish side is interested in constructing the park. But it's early to talk about the volume of investments. At this stage, different mechanisms to fulfil the project have been discussed. The Turkish side has got all the data that are necessary to calculate the capital investment. The parcel, which interested the Turkish side, has been looked over. The republic's possible support mechanism has been discussed. After the meeting, the Turkish side will assess all possible prospects, including the financial component and construction deadline, this project's perspective will be seen then,'' Chairman of the Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism Sergey Ivanov commented on further promotion of the project for Realnoe Vremya.

The information that the project is estimated at $650 million leaked in the media first. Considering that Kazan will develop towards the airport within Smart City project, it's supposed the Turkish park won't be empty.

Top managers from Gürsoy Group, Kalyon and Tanrıverdi Holding presented the project to the Tatarstan president on 10 August. Photo: prav.tatarstan.ru

''We would like to replicate the experience to Tatarstan, Kazan''

Top managers from Gürsoy Group, Kalyon and Tanrıverdi Holding presented the project to the Tatarstan president on 10 August. Before that, they'd already met with the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency with representatives from the Tatarstan Tourism Committee, talked with officials of the Tatarstan Ministry of Construction and other structures of the republic. On 9 August, the guests from Turkey participated in the official opening of ASTO International Air and Space Exhibition.

''We've already had meetings in Istanbul in April, we discussed possibilities of our joint work. It's construction and infrastructural projects as well as the construction of an amusement park in Tatarstan. During this visit, you've already seen the offered land parcels to locate the park and assessed our republic's possibilities. The Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism and the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency are ready to sign the documents. We actively work on attracting foreign investments to Tatarstan. We often go to the Turkish Republic. I think we have great promise for all these areas. I'm ready to hear you out regarding the support that's needed from us,'' Rustam Minnikhanov welcomed the guests.

In answer, the guests told about their companies' activity. For instance, Gürsoy Group's top manager introduced his contractor first. According to him, it's one of the few holdings in Turkey that can fulfil large projects in both industry and tourism – it builds big hotels: ''They are used in the construction of very interesting luxury hotels.''

''As for us, Gürsoy Group, we build shopping, cultural centres and, as we said, amusement parks. We continue our activity in this sphere. And this is why we would like to replicate the experience we've gained by this time to Tatarstan, Kazan, to share our know-how with you,'' claimed Fatih Gürsoy, a board member at Gürsoy Group.

Isfanbul themed park opened in Istanbul five years ago. In 2016, it was in the top 10 parks among 800 themed parks in Europe by European Star Award

Rustam Minnikhanov urged the sides to make a joint plan of actions and promised to support the project. By the end of the meeting, there was signed an agreement on cooperation between Gürsoy Group, the Tatarstan State Committee for Tourism and the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency.

Isfanbul themed park opened in Istanbul five years ago. In 2016, it was in the top 10 parks among 800 themed parks in Europe by the European Star Award. The park is divided into several themed zones: World of Adventures, World of Game, World of History. Each of them consists of a series of amusement and entertainment rides: roller coaster at 110 km/h, 360-degree ride, which lifts visitors and rides them at 360 degrees, Mini Roller Coaster calmer speed rides for children. The park also has a fairy-tale castle with famous tale and cartoon characters. A lot of attention is paid to water activities.

Reservoir constructors, monument restorers and textile workers

Gürsoy Group has been in the market since 1988, it specialises in construction, restoration, investments, services and industry. The group consists of 20 companies that deal with construction, production of metal goods for railways, floor coverings made of epoxy resins, etc. The company has achieved big achievements in restoration. It has renewed several historical sites, particularly Feshane venue, the Panoramic Museum dated back to 1453, Süleymaniye Mosque, Huber Palace, the building of the Egyptian consulate in Istanbul. Gürsoy Group also built Isfanbul amusement park. The construction of huge Çamlıca Mosque with six minarets in a picturesque corner of Istanbul is among the latest big projects. It's known Recep Erdoğan personally supports the construction.

Kalyon Group is a construction company from Gaziantep with a 44-year work experience. The company was founded in 1974 (it used to be called Kalyon İnşaat Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. Kalyon has offices in Qatar, Russia, Libya, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The company has a wide range of different infrastructural projects in construction: hospitals, residential complex, schools, highways, bridges, tunnels, treatment facilities, water mains and buildings for industrial enterprises. In 2013, Kalyon won a contract to erect the third international airport in Istanbul. The company also built a reservoir in Iraq, laid roads, constructed court buildings, stadiums and other facilities in Turkey. Road building, industrial construction and power engineering are the main areas of its work.

Gürsoy Group also built Isfanbul amusement park

Tanrıverdi Holding is an older company founded in the early 1920s in Samsun (Turkey). It consists of 11 companies specialised in the production and sale of home textile (tulle, curtain, upholstery for furniture, etc.), textile for clothes and in tourism. Tanrıverdi Holding Board Chairman Recep Tanrıverdi is also a patron of Shangri-La Bosphorus hotel. He comes from a family of textile workers. He created his own company Tanrıverdi Mensucat A.Ş in 1970 with his brother Ibrahim, which deals with draping. A factory was created in it later. Until 1985, they distributed home textile of other producers. Today the holding consists of four factories it owns. In 1995, all enterprises united into Tanrıverdi Holding. In 2013, 2,000 people worked in the company, turnover totals $200 million. Curtain and textile production is the core competence. Ric Emlak Yatırım İnşaat Ve Turizm Anonim Şirketi investment company was founded in 2018 created by Recep Tanrıverdi and Celal Zinzade with an authorised capital of 300,000 Turkish liras. The company plans to invest in realty in the country and abroad.

''The bravery and ambitions of the Turkish investors impress, of course''

Representatives of the entertainment industry in Kazan have highly appreciated the scale of the Turkish project. However, some experts claim it won't be easy for the investors to pay the investments back:

''The bravery and ambitions of the Turkish investors impress, of course. If infrastructure in Tatarstan develops, it will only benefit the region. As for the investment's payback period, this task is probably uneasy. The city has enough shopping centres, hotels, and leisure establishments, water parks, a part of them don't have a full load. The population's purchasing power leaves a lot to be desired. Entertainment components, the water park are in high demand on holidays and in summer, not throughout the year, which doesn't allow to provide an even full load regularly. And it's possible to maintain facilities and keep the level of service on a daily basis, they will open not on all days of the weeks, like, for instance, our rivals work in neighbouring cities. The investors from Turkey have visited our facility these days. And they are probably inspired having seen a big number of tourists here. I advised them to come in autumn once again or in winter to see the big picture of market monitoring. But they seem to have decided to take the bull by the horns. We will wish them luck. Apart from investments, they will probably be able to bring us the Turkish sun and a piece of sea, it would come in handy to augment the season from 20 to 200 days a year. Then their investments would pay back, and there'd be more tourists,'' Commercial Director of Kazan Riviera Elena Voitko commented on the possible appearance of the new facility.

The newspaper's interlocutor supposes there won't be too many amusement parks in the city thanks to the Turkish project: ''I haven't seen any incredible components in the description of their format. The things that are called are already present in Kazan at a high level. Do people need analogues? I'm not sure. Will this facility become a serious rival to Riviera? No, I hope. During our activity, we've faced many projects, openings in other cities. Fortunately, our tourists choose us year after year, what we thank them for, and we try to move on: we annually build new leisure components, we launched a big wheel and plan to renew some zones and rides in the water park next year,'' Voitko concluded.

By Vasilya Shirshova, Arslan Minvaleyev
Tatarstan