TOURISM BAROMETER: Super construction
TOURISM BAROMETER: Super constructionTHE state is to spend 150 million leva on the construction of the “Super Borovets” resort, according to a Cabinet decision on May 12. Private investors are expected to inject a further 300 million euro into tourist infrastructure, lifts and ski-runs. The document approved by the Cabinet bears the title “Concept for the Development of the Borovets Mountain Resort until 2015”. It was adopted in line with Bulgaria’s candidacy to host the Winter Olympic Games in 2014 and envisages three stages. The first stage covers the period until 2007 when the occupancy rate of the resort must increase twice its current levels. The second stage will start after the ownership structure has been finalised, along with the cadastral plan, the environment impact assessment and the general spatial development plan. Tourist facilities in the area incorporating Beli Iskur, Samokov and Borovets will be built during the second stage. The third stage envisages construction of facilities in the mountain over 1400 metres latitude. A total of 10 000 jobs are expected to be created during the building phase. At the moment Borovets has 38 hotels and villas with a total of 5500 beds. Most of the ski runs were built in the late 1970s according to the standards of the time, 30 metres wide. In order to meet the modern requirements the runs must be widened. The runs are now served by a network of cable cars and tows with overall capacity of 12 000 people an hour. Borovets has six snow machines and two ski runs for night skiing, and a special snowboard run with a separate tow. While the Borovets project is a matter for the future, the current pressing problem in the tourist industry remains the question of construction at the largest Black Sea resorts of Zlatni Pyasutsi (Golden Sands) and Slunchev Bryag (Sunny Beach). The National Construction Supervision Directorate (NCSD) has ordered a halt to construction at nine sites in Zlatni Pyasutsi. The list of the frozen developments includes a holiday village, three residential complexes and five hotels. Because the sites have construction permits, they cannot be declared illegal. However, work is being halted following failure to keep to the deadlines for completing construction. The deadlines were set in permits issued by Varna Municipality. NCSD has issued halt orders for Body A and Body B of Sunrise Hotel, as well as for Yavor Hotel, Kempinski Grand Hotel Hermitage and Paradise Green Park Hotel. Local authorities in Nessebur, the municipality to which Slunchev Bryag belongs, also took a firm line. From May 16, heavy construction equipment has been allowed to enter the resort only if permission is given personally by Nessebur mayor Trifon Ivanov. Checkpoints, staffed by gendarmerie, have been set up to control the entrance of vehicles and equipment. There is a system of special permits for sites where work is being allowed to continue. A permit may be issued by the mayor at the request of an investor, describing the site, the type of the vehicle, and the date and time of the passage of vehicles and equipment. No other restrictive measures had managed to stop construction work. In an interview with Bulgarian National Radio on May 16, Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Dimitar Hadjinikolov said that the management of Zlatni Pyasutsi and several companies had become the first to be fined this year for failing to stop construction. The fines were imposed by the regional inspectorates for the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works and the Ministry of Environment and Waters. In spite of the fines, it did not appear likely that construction at Zlatni Pyasutsi would stop before May 20. Meanwhile, Culture and Tourism Minister Nina Chilova announced on May 16 the creation of six tourist information centres all over the country. They will be in the cities of Vidin, Rousse, Varna, Bourgas, Plovdiv and Veliko Turnovo and will act as representative offices of the ministry to provide information to tourists and to entrepreneurs in the sector. Hotel keepers and tour operators will be able to obtain information and to register their tourist programmes.
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