ARTICLES 
Tourists in Bulgaria's winter resorts
Standard Daily, 18th October 2005


Bansko is about to welcome over 400 000 guests
Hotel next to hotel and between them hotels again. What is it? Thus, local Bansko people are having fun with the construction works in the town. Now the total area of the building works is 206 000 square meters. The price of the land has reached 150- 160 euro per square meter. The price of residential apartments is between 900 and 1200 euro.
The pearls of the town are the five star Kempinski Grand Arena and hotel complex Tampelier. There will be at least 2000 new beds in the resort for the next season. An ice ring in the centre will also be a new surprise. We are doing everything to provide full comfort to the tourists. We are waiting for new investments to take care of the problems with the drainage system and the supply of fresh water, said Alexander Kravarov.

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Summer prices in Borovets

Many tourists from Sweden and Finland are expected in the hotels in Borovets. The Scandinavians are impressed not only by the Bulgarian pistes, but also by the warm mineral baths in Devin, Velingrad and Varshets. The Spa centres are very popular in the cold Scandinavian countries.

This winter Bansko, Pamporovo and Borovets will be visited mainly by tourists from Great Britain and Greece. There are even reservations from Japan and the Far East. According to the preliminary prognosis, the rise of the tourists in Bulgaria for the next season will be 15%.



Everyone in the resort is preparing for the start of the new season. The hotels are being polished, the construction workers are working 24 hours seven days per week, to finish the new buildings before the first snowfall. Luxurious hotels, family villas and cosy pubs are growing in Bansko, Velingrad, and Smolyan. Two new pistes will welcome the skiers in the Troyan Balkan. "Our services are high quality"- assured the branchs representatives. New attractions and surprises are waiting everywhere. Ribaritsa will offer wild races with jeeps in the snow. Bansko and Borovets are betting on the winter horseback riding. New ski lifts and equipment will provide additional comfort for the ski lovers.
Borovets is very attractive site for ski lovers and holidaymakers, with it only being 73 kilometres away from Sofia. This year the preparations for the new season started long before the season itself. The pistes are being cleared and the lifts are being additionally checked, the equipment of the skiers is also being changed. The planned maintenance will finish before the middle of November, announced Rosen Milkov, a manager of investment projects in Borosport. A new 10 kilometre long piste is now being built from Markudjik to Borovets in Tsarska Bistritsa. It will be used for special occasions, if the lifts broke down or the wind is too strong. The capacity of the lifts is 7000 people per hour, said Milkov. Tables with information for the weather conditions in the site are provided on each lift station.


The old piste maintenance machines are also being prepared for the new season. The newest machine is the one that will be used for the maintenance of the tracks for cross-country skiing. This winter the resort will have two posts for radio relay communication. Thus, there will be a non-stop connection between the lifts and pistes in case of emergency or accidents.
Borovets is divided in three parts- Sitnqkovski, Yastrebishki and Markodgishki. The first part is little above the sea level and will start working around December 10th when the first low temperatures are expected. Until December 20th it will have a usable piste with artificial snow. The second zone offers steep alpine pistes, made for competitions and good skiers.
After Christmas and New Year, usually this piste has enough snow and is ready to be used. The third part is higher above the sea level- 2500 meters and the snow is there until May. However, before the snow falls, the pistes have to be well prepared for the season. They are being drained to stop the erosion process. The areas and the roads around the lifts are going to be enlarged. Toilets and shelters will also be constructed close to the lift stations.
The Mountain Rescue Service in the complex has eight members and during the winter they are hiring eight more. The maintenance of the skidoos and the emergency patrol was completed during the spring.


The ski school in Borovets has 200 instructors, who speak foreign languages. Many of them are ex- professional skiers. The famous skier, Peter Popangelov explained that only before the last season, they renewed all of the skis and snowboards, in the resort. There is a special kindergarten for children from 4-6, where they are being pampered from 10.00 till 16.00.

The hotels are also preparing for the new season. Hotel Rila will be fully operational this year.

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Attraction in the centre of Velingrad

This winter the super attraction of Velingrad will be the brand new Grand hotel Abir right in the centre of the town. The five-floored building with a super modern architecture already can boast its first guests- most of them ambassadors of the Arab countries in Bulgaria. The stay in the hotel includes a transport to the nearby picturesque sites- Undola, where they can enjoy a ski piste and a ski school, Tsigov Chark resort, Dospat, Sarnitsa and Beglika. The hotel offers 24 hours room service, dry cleaning and hairdresser. The hosts are also happy that the swimming pools are supplied with the famous healing mineral water. Depending on its character, it can be from 42 to 90 degrees Celsius. The tourists can also enjoy the most impressive mineral spring in Bulgaria- Kleptuza Lake.

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Razlog is gaining speed

Razlog is no longer in the shadow of Bansko and is slowly reaching its high investment levels. Every day the mayor of Razlog is dealing with offers for the construction of Hotels, parks and villa sites. The interest towards the small mountain town is huge. Investors are paying a lot of money to buy land in the town and start construction of new sites. Others are buying houses in the nearby villages- Dobarsko, Gorno Draglishte, Banya and others. There is enough time for everything he says. If we dont plan everything there will be chaos just like in Bansko. A priority goal for the moment is the construction of an electrical substation at the foot of Rila where not long ago a luxurious four-star hotel Katarino spa was built. The land around it is already sold, so very soon new buildings will be constructed in the site. That is why we are obliged to provide a normal electricity system and communication. We do not want chaotic constructions with poor infrastructure. A firm from Sofia is ready to buy 100 decares land in Predela site for the construction of a five star Spa centre, ethnographic street, villa site, tennis courts, apartments and parks. They guarantee an investment of 97 million BGN and they will need just three years for the full development of the site.

The municipal council has made the decision to construct a five-kilometre water- pipeline to the Betolovoto site, where a golf playground is now being constructed. The complex will cover a total of 1000 decares from the joint company Pirin Golf Holiday club of the municipality and the local firm, Balkanstroy. Experts from the UK are advising on the project for the construction of the golf course. The Playground will have 18 holes, artificial lakes, hills are also being constructed, special drains and grass from foreign countries are also being imported. A mini football stadium with volleyball playground, hippodrome, trade centre, café, restaurants and hotels with 3000 beds is about to be build. Next winter it will open. The tourists who come to the resort would definitely enjoy other sports and attractions. We are obliged to take care of their comfort, said Luben Tatarski.

We also have to provide order and calmness for the guests and residents of the town, added he. He initiated the establishment of a municipal firm Guard activities. 15 people will work together with the local police department, to guarantee the preservation of the peoples possessions and the environment.

The runs are also rendered safe

Ulen Joint stock company, which is taking care of the ski centre over Bansko, has succeeded in making all the ski runs as safe as possible for the skiers. Safety nets have been placed everywhere. This year there has been no new equipment installed. All of the activities of the firm were aimed to the restoration of the runs. They were cleared of stones and a special mixture of imported grass was sown on the terrains. We are using the services of the best experts in this branch. We are ready for the start of the new winter season. "The guests of the ski centre will be satisfied with our work" announced the finance director of Ulen Maya Ignatova.

Refreshing repairs in Pamporovo and Chepelare

The mayor of Smolyan Dora Yankova issued an order to stop the construction works on the territory of the municipality. The deadline for stopping the construction works is in two weeks. The clearance of the materials and the removal of the cranes have to finish before November 30th. The investors of the new hotels have to comply with the order, so that the winter season will start normally.

The roads to the sites have to be cleaned and accessible. The buildings also need to be ready for the winter.

It is still not clear whether Chepelare municipality will take the same preparation actions. The territory of Chepelare is mainly full of new buildings that are still not finished. That is why Chepelare municipal has to arrange the clearing of the resort from snow and the roads to the resort. According to the assurance of the mayor Todor Bozukov, this winter there wont be any problems with the roads of the municipality. Next year the problem with the parking lots is expected to be finished. Two new parking lots will be built next year. They will be situated in the resorts main areas Studenets and Malina. The damaged pistes, due to the heavy rains and floods during the summer, are now being reconstructed and repaired. Pamporovo Joint stock company will invest in the recovery of the pistes and in the construction of two new pistes. The damaged pistes are covered in and levelled. They will also be widened. The hotels are also getting everything ready for the season. Next year the municipality will offer 2556 new beds. This base will help for the development of rural, ecological and extreme tourism. The tendency is for Pamporovo to become an all year resort. The road infrastructure, demolished by the summer floods is now being reconstructed and repaired.

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