Million and one resort wishes
Million and one resort wishes
The attempt of transforming Bulgaria in Switzerland on the Balkans is entering its final faze. This is the summery that can be made from the dozen of projects for the building of ski resorts in Bulgaria during the last couple of months. After Bansko became too crowded from the huge tourist interest, Razlog and Dobrinishte also came out on the market with their own tourism product. The rest - Berkovica, Sapareva Banya, Teteven, Chepelare, Velingrad and other small resorts that want to find their place on the tourism map of Bulgaria, followed their initiative.
“We need more winter resorts than we have now - for example the whole Pamporovo resort has the same number of beds as three hotels on the sea”, said the mayor of Chepelare. The competition shows that the resorts which are satellites to the already existing ones will have a certain advantages. Perelik, Mechi Chal around Pamporovo and Razlog are bright examples of that. They can both use the image of the already existing ones and the process of their expansion. A grand project, called “Perelik”, plans to connect the Perelik peak in Pamporovo with the Mechi chal peak near Chepelare. According to the mayor of Smolyan, the realization of the project will form Rodopi Mountain as a tourism center with three main tourism bodies - Mechi Chal, Pamporovo and Perelik. The territory plan of the new resort is ready. The assessment for the environmental impact has already received the approval of the Ecology Ministry. “We hope that we will start the realization of the project during the summer this year and will finish until 2007”, said the Mayor.
The Perelik project is stressing on the building of ski pistes and equipment for around 55 million euro and the hotels will be build in Smolyanski ezera and Raikovski livadi sites. At the moment Pamporovo resort has almost 18 kilometers of ski pistes and 4 920 beds. The plan is additional 29.8 kilometers ski pistes and the equipment to be constructed and the number of beds to increase with 8000. There is still no real contract for investments, but the Mayor claims that the investment interest is huge. Chepelare municipal helped the Perelik project by introducing the plans for Mechi Chal. It includes 27 kilometers of new ski pistes and 12 kilometers of lifts, 15 kilometers ski run pistes and biathlon, plus a stadium. At the moment Chepelare has 12 kilometers of ski pistes. According to the plan of the municipal administration the now existing base of 1200 beds should increase three times and the project will be build on private lands and forests. The mayor announced that many private companies are interested in the project although there is still no contract signed. Vitosha also has ambitious projects in spite of the fact that it is a little bit behind the other resorts.
The already existing ski equipment are owned by the ministry of youth and sport, the ex-privatization fund “AKB Fores” and “Ferainingte Bergbanen Bulgaria” LTD, owned by Peter Schroksnadel who is a president of the Austrian ski federation and a personal manager of the three times Alpine ski champion Herman Mayer. Schroksnadel bought the lifts “Vitoshki lale 1” and “Vitoshko lale 2”and invested around 2 million euro in the pistes that now can be used for skiing during the night. The Austrian firm announced its intensions for the construction of a new two-seated lift “Aleko-Rezena” replacing the already existing drag - known by the skier as “Zaeka” (the rabbit), reconstruction of hotel Shtastliveca and a complete renovation of the region.
Pistes for alpine skiing, ski runs and ski schools for kids and etc will be built. The total amount of the planned investments is 22 million euro, said Schroksnadel. The fact that Bansko is full to the brim is a good news for the near by situated towns. That is why people in Razlog rely on this fact, when planning the development of “Kulinoto” ski resort. The first stage starts this year and plans the installation of four- seat lift and the construction of a 2 km long piste with snow cannons. The mayor said, that he expects investor from abroad to take part in the project which is for 30-50 million BGN. Dobrinishte is also preparing a project for ski zone, but everything is still a nice idea. According to the mayor, they want one cabin lift to start from the village up to the mountain and then another three lifts to take tourists to the ski pistes that will be 5 kilometers. The hotel part will be based mainly in Dobrinishte and just ski equipment to be placed up in the mountain. Near by the village a lift and a ski piste existed in the past but after the privatization they do not work.
Major investments in the tourism industry The leader among all these projects would have been “Sutka”- from Velingrad municipal if of coarse it was realized. However the project did not receive approval - firstly, because it was denied by the Ministry of Ecology and Waters, and secondly because of the quashing of the local mayor elections. The project was planed to be released by the “Sutka 2000” association, with the partnership of the municipals Velingrad, Rakitovo and Pazardjik, of coarse using private capital. Two variations of the project were offered, says the head of the municipal council in Velingrad. The first variation planned 14 ski pistes to be built from Sutka peak to the Kachakov Chark site, where hotels, tea- bars and restaurants were supposed to be built. This plan would have cost 500 million BGN. The second plan excluded the hotels and cut the number of pistes. The project is closed for now and Velingrad municipal is orientated mainly towards the development of spa tourism. According to his words the municipal will continue to develop winter tourism, but not in such grand dimensions.
Even now Velingrad has pistes above the town, before the Undola site. After the Sutka project was stopped, Sapareva Banya municipal took the first place for the realization its ski resort project. The municipal administration already takes part in a private company and now is working on the architectural design of the future resort called- “Panichishte - Ezerata- Kabul Peak”. Everything started a year ago when “Rila Sport” AD decided to build a resort and bought 200 decares land from the municipal. The municipal takes part in the project, which is supposed to cost 30 million euro with the additional terrains. On the first stage, that should be realized this summer the removal of one old lift with a brand new is planned. The investors do not announce information about the next stages of the project. This is due to the fact that everyone is waiting for the completing of the project that is done by the Austrian company “Ecosain”. The equipment will also be Austrian from the Dopplemayer Company, the same one that installed the equipment in Bansko. The idea of the investors for the future resort is to divide the resort according to the buildings - a part with luxurious hotels from famous hotel chains and part of the resort to be with family houses and another part with restaurants. Another ski resort is planned by Teteven municipal. According to the intensions of Teteven municipal administration, Ribarica and Divchovoto, at the foot of the Vejen peak constructed can be constructed ski pistes and drugs, together with the needed infrastructure for around 20 thousand tourists per day. Investors are the municipal and “Frontier” AD. The total cost of the project is 150 million euro. The municipal also participates in another company together with “Apricon AD” for the exploitation of a future sport tourism complex at the foot of Bogoia peak. The local management plans another company together with “Super Borovets” Ltd, which will build a hotel complex in Teteven. If all this gets realized the resort should be ready for 2008. The western parts of Stara planina are also trying to catch up with the others. The priority development of the tourism is written in the strategy of Berkovica municipal, explained the mayor.
According to the plans a cabin lift will be constructed from Berkovitca to Kom zone which is about 16 kilometers east from the town. At the moment the zone offers one ski piste with a drug- lift and three tourism bases with a total number of 100 beds. The plans of the municipal are to make the piste twice as large and to recover some old pistes so that the total length of the ski pistes will become 15- 20 kilometers. Berkovitza municipal for the moment offers around 600 beds. The idea is on the upper station of the lift to be built a hotel with 100 beds and the rest to be built on the lower station in the town. According to the Mayor, the number of hotels depends on the investor’s intentions. Now the municipal is negotiating with three companies, but still has no contract with them. The huge interest of the municipal administrations towards the development of the ski tourism can be explained by the serious economy problems of the local management. Tourism is easy to sell, many people are needed in the sector and can make a living from it. The new resorts give a chance for development to the nearby-situated towns.
The realization of the “Perelik” project will give a chance to culture, crafts, and folklore. The first symptoms of economy development can be seen in the future tourism centers - almost everyone from the local management expects rising in the property prices. The prices in Berkovica rose with almost 50 % during the last year. Similar tendency can be seen in Smolyan, where prices went up several. The prices of property in Chepelare rose five to seven times.
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