ARTICLES 
YEAR 2009: BOROVETS - TOP WINTER AND SUMMER RESORT
Dimcho Daskalov and Tihomir Tonchev, 24 Hours Daily Newspaper, 31 July 2004


In 2009 Borovets will look much different from today - the resort will spread from the town of Samokov to the village of Beli Iskar and will be divided into three levels, offering accommodation according to the financial status of the tourists.

The first level or the so called Low Borovets will be situated at 1100 m above the sea level, 6 km away from the town of Samokov. Constructed as a completely new settlement, it will offer modern architecture, numerous family hotels of maximum 3 storeys and several checkpoints. The expected number of beds here is 5000 and they will be offered for tourists who can not afford expensive holidays but love skiing.
The second level will cover the nowadays Borovets resort situated at 1300-1350 m above the sea level and will provide at about 10 000 beds. The prices on this level will be higher than those of the previous level.

The third level Super Borovets will accommodate those tourists who are looking for the luxury and style of the 5-star hotels. Super Borovets will be located at 1600-1800 m above the sea level and the number of beds will not exceed 1500-2000.
An enterprising committee, including the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, will try to assure new investments for the most ambitious tourism project till year 2009.

The aim of the committee members and the Prime Minister, who was given by the restitution more than 8 000 decares of forest and land in this region, is to apply for nomination of Borovets for an Olympic capital in year 2014. However, in order to achieve this aim, the committee will have to invest in Borovets at least 100 million Euros, which are supposed to be received at several stages.
Once achieved, this project will turn Borovets into a year round resort for rest and recreation. On the 26th of July the municipality announced the projects investor a consortium of Contact 99, owned by Emil Kjulev (51%), who also owns 16% of the biggest building company in Bulgaria Glavbulgarstroi and 8% of Energocomplect, as well as 850 decares of land in the region.

The committee and a joint-stock company registered for the purposes of the project will assure the financing of the project. A brand new cultural and tourism program Samokov-Borovets-Beli Iskar is also to be developed.

After the reconstruction and the expansion of the resort, the lifts will transport 35 000 tourists for 90 minutes. Two new cable cars will be constructed; one of which will connect the town of Samokov to Sokolets Peak and the Markudjitsi. Numerous other ski- and tow-lifts, as well as a covered stadium are just part of the equipment to be constructed.

Several additional ski pistes will be constructed in Borovets also. One of them will enter Samokov, so that the tourists will be able to get back to the town with their skies on. The idea of the investors is to construct the pistes in such a way, that more than 50% of them to be suitable for using by beginners or mediate skiers. The architectural plan of the project is expected to be ready this autumn, when independent experts, licensed by the Ministry of Ecology will make an ecological appraisal.

The total number of beds is expected to reach 12-15 000 versus to 6-7 000 at the moment. The purpose of the project is to attract tourists not only during the ski season, but also during the summer months, announced the architects. That is why they will provide new paths for walking, horse riding and mountain biking. The new forms of tourism will include cultural, eco and rural tourism. The project foresees two golf fields one in the region of Bjala Poljana north of Borovets and one near the town of Samokov, in an attractive area between two rivers.
Priorities:
-50 km from Sofia
-50 min drive from International Airport
-1 hour drive from Plovdiv and the International Airport there.
-Good infrastructure and asphalt roads, which are cleaned up during the winter season.
-15 lifts, snow-gun machines, 17 pistes with total length of more than 40 km and a snowboard pipe with length of 1240 meters.

The minute we start the project, the price of land will go up, says the mayor of Samokov Mr. Angel Nikolov

The joint stock company Rila-Samokov 2004 is already registered. The municipality takes part in it upon evaluation of 850 decares of land, which will be invested in the project. The capital of the company will reach 12 million BGN with expected profit of 300 millions BGN in year 2009.

According to the investments stimulation law, which entered into force on the 4th of August, the state will support investments of over 100 million BGN and will construct the infrastructure on their own account. The number of investors in this project is subject of change and can reach one hundred. At the moment great interest is shown by Dutch companies. However, the investors will be chosen according to their interest to invest in the infrastructure as well and not only in the construction of hotels.
MG Corporation is expected to invest 40 millions Euro in the second level of the resort.

The settlements will have to follow a common architectural plan and to aim year-round exploitation. Once the project starts, it will reduce drastically the high unemployment rate and even open new vacancy positions.

The price of land is expected to go up, the minute we start the project and reach 50-100 Euro per sq.m. The price of unregulated land is also going up and reached more than 20 Euro per sq.m. with many people willing to build hotels and restaurants, says the mayor.

He does not perceive Bansko as a competition resort and knows Bulgaria can not pretend to be a winter tourism destination with all but one winter resort. Bulgaria needs its Bansko, as well as it needs its Borovets. Besides, Borovets has two advantages it is only 50 min drive from the capital of Bulgaria and the biggest International Airport of the country. We have such a wealth our nature! We are proud with Rila Mountain and will pay great intention on the instructions of the ecology experts in order not to harm the nature, says Mr. Angel Nikolov.
Architect Mr. Petko Evrev, the projects director:
We are at the beginning of the project, says architect Evrev, And our aim is to divide he pistes according to their difficulty, as well as to connect them via ski lifts. Thus the skiers will find diversity and will easily transfer from one piste to another. There will be four ski zones - Western, Eastern, New Western and New Eastern. The pistes will reach 1630 m at Borovets and 2400 m at Markudjicite.

When asked about the town of Samokov, the architect says We plan to construct a cable car, which will connect the town with Borovets and the Markudjicite peaks. There, on the first station of the cable car, we will build a huge parking lot. However, all our plans, says the architect, have to be completely coordinated with the ecology experts, since we do not want to ruin the national park.

The architect reveals the plan of the team to build 12 or 7 new lifts (depending on the decision of the ecology experts) for the transfer of 15 600 or respectfully11 100 skiers per hour. At the moment Borovets has 11 ski lifts with total capacity of 13 800 skiers and 17 pistes with total length of 26 km. The new project aims at 19 new pistes with total length of 95 km. In comparison to Bansko, Borovets has more ski pistes. Here, the architect says, we have to avoid the mass construction of buildings.
The project will start in year 2005 and is expected to be completely ready by year 2009, depending on the investors.
Ms. Neli Sandanska, The Tourism Manager of MG Corporation:
We support any long-term investment in the region of Borovets, but we have to construct the best infrastructure for the resort an optimal interrelation between number of beds, pistes, tow-lifts and cable cars.
This year we plan to invest 20 million BGN and change the 1-man chair lift with a 4-men lift with capacity of 2400 people per hour, as well as construct new 4-men lift on the Kotvata piste, which is suitable for beginners. Thus, they will be able to reach from Markurdjicite to the center of Borovets without the need of the cable car.
It is very important for us to make Borovets a year-round resort, thus we have to construct tennis courts, swimming-pools and sports centers. Several international experts will come in Borovets at the end of November in order to consult us. Now is the right moment to plan the resort for 50 years ahead.
"Trud Daily", Article by Rumiana Penkova, 13 August 2004

After year 2009, Borovets resort will be on three levels with capacity of at least 17 000 beds. The pistes' lenght will reach 95 km, while the cabin lifts will transport 35 000 people for 90 minutes.

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