British business tycoon Richard Branson is to become the first foreign director of the Soviet state-run tourist organization Intourist, the Observer newspaper said. The offer from Intourist follows Branson's trip to the Soviet Union last month when he signed a joint venture with Intourist to take over a hotel in the Black Sea resort of Yalta. The Oreanda Hotel, formerly a Czarist palace, will be run by British managers and employ Soviet staff. It is expected to cater to about 5,000 British tourists a year. Profits are to be shared by both sides. Branson said he wanted to open unchartered parts of the Soviet Union to British tourists and aid Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's efforts at reform. "The country badly needs foreign currency and one way of doing this is encouraging . . . other ventures with the West, such as tourism, he said.