ARTICLES 
Panichishte: the big bite
article by Krasimir Krantov, 168 hours weekly, 18-24 March 2005

A consortium between two huge companies from Austria and Italy, which prefer to stay anonymous for now, will invest over 100 million euro for the construction of a new winter resort, which is supposed to compete with the already existing top resorts of Borovets, Pamporovo and Bansko.

The new pearl of our winter tourism will be in Panichishte, which has not been very well maintained lately. It is situated on the territory of Sapareva Banya municipal in the north- western part of Rila Mounatin. Rila sport, the company which will take major part in the investment expenses and which is representing the still anonymous Austrians and Italians - has already bought 200 decares land from Sapareva Banya municipal.
In five years time here is going to build hotel complex with minimum of 4000 beds. The company has also bought the rights over one of the ski pistes in the region and plans to equip it with a modern lift. Other 14 super-modern alpine pistes with a capacity of 4 500 skiers, are planed to be build together with a cabin lift from Sapareva Banya to Panichishte, which probably will reach Kabul peak, which is situated very close to the famous Seven Rila Lakes.

Another, rival company Ukon-Sofia has already bought and reconstructed two hotels in Panichishte and one in Sapareva Banya. Their capacity is almost 300 beds. At the moment, there are around 10 hotels in Panichishte, but most of them are small and not very well maintained.


In April last year the municipal council of Sapareva Banya sold the huge part of the land to Rila sport. The 200 decares land is more that 1/5 of the whole land on Panichishte owned by the municipal, which used to own a total amount of land of 980 decares. The money paid to the municipal covered the repairment of the streets as well as the drainage system.

When people discovered that something grand is about to happen in the region that might compete with Borovets and Bansko many business people started looking for lands in the region. The rising of prices is normal under these circumstances.
Interview with Tihomir Trendafilov, the head of the boar of directors of Rila sport:

We will invest 100 million euro

Q: Mr. Trendafilov, how did you decide to invest so much money to transform Panichishte in one of the most modern A: We listened to the advice of our Austrian consultants, who assessed the incredible potential for development of Panichishte.
Q: How much money do you plan to invest? People talk about 30 million euro
A: 30 million euro is just the first investment in the hotel accommodation, ski pistes and ski equipment. The whole investment will probably be around 100 million euro.


Q: Who will supply those investments?
A: The investors.
Q: Who are they?
A: This is a consortium of Austrian and Italian firm. At this stage, I would not like to say their names. I can just say that one of them is very serious institutional and the other is a financial investor. The ski equipment supplier is Dopplemayer - a world leader in the industry that supplied Bansko with equipment. The detailed project for the construction of the complex of hotels is now being prepared by another Austrian firm Ecosign. It has made the projects for many modern ski centers in Austria, USA, Switzerland, Norway, Finland and other countries.
Q: Have the investors build other similar projects for winter resorts?
A: Yes in many European countries.

Purchase property in this region

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