Super Borovets approval a step further
Super Borovets approval a step furtherTOURISM BAROMETER: Super Borovets approval a step further A LONG-EXPECTED project, dubbed Super Borovets, is on its way to become reality with some expert help. A working group set up by the Cabinet has approved a concept for the development of Borovets as a winter ski resort. The concept was expected to be submitted to the Cabinet’s regular meeting on February 10 and it was expected that it would be approved on February 17. The expert group, chaired by Deputy Economy Minister Dimitar Hadjinikolov, has outlined three stages in the concept for the development of tourism in the Samokov Municipality and the Borovets resort. The first phase, expected to be completed by 2007, should provide twice as much occupancy of the facilities in the resort. The second phase envisages construction of tourist facilities in the area enclosed by the Iskur River, Samokov and Borovets. This will be preceded by approving a cadastral plan, an environmental impact assessment and a comprehensive spatial development plan. Building of more facilities at an altitude above 1400 m above see level is planned in the third phase of the concept. Sofia Regional Governor Olimpi Kutev said the concept takes into account Bulgaria’s bid to host the 2014 winter Olympics. Meanwhile, the other two leading winter resorts of Bulgaria – Bansko and Pamporovo – are scoring points. In its February 5 issue, The Financial Times ran a story about Bansko. The newspaper’s Athens correspondent Kerin Hope wrote that investment in Bansko and its surroundings had transformed “this once down-at-heel mountain hideaway” into “one of the shiniest ski resorts in new Europe”. There are 17 ski runs in the resort, including a 16 km run from beneath the Todorka peak down to the outskirts of town. As foreigners grow more familiar with Bulgaria, pouring money into holiday homes along the Black Sea coastline and investing instead of renting as expatriates in Sofia, it seems only natural that ski resorts would be next in line for a property spending spree, the report said. The medium-term strategy was to bring the ski facilities up to a standard that would enable Bulgaria to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, the article said. Meanwhile, hotels in Pamporovo were almost 100 per cent full, the Pamporovo 21 Century hoteliers’ association said. This is the most successful winter season in five years, said Georgi Georgiev, who chairs the association. The number of tourists has increased by 22 per cent compared to the same period of 2004. The hotels are almost full and 70 per cent of the guests are foreign tourists from the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Serbia and other countries. There has been a decrease in the number of Bulgarian tourists mainly because of the hike in the prices of some services, Georgiev said. Some UK tour operators have already signed contracts for next year, the hoteliers’ association said. The contracts indicate growing interest in the skiing resort and an expected increase of 15 to 30 per cent in the number of tourists next winter.
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