Bulgaria PM: 2nd Gondola Lift in Bansko Is Imperative Necessity
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has said that the construction of a second ski lift in the mountain resort of Bansko is imperative.
Borisov’s statement was made during the last government session on Wednesday, according to minutes of the meeting.
"Skiers wait for hours in line and the number of tourists is beginning to decline for this reason," Bulgaria’s Prime Minister commented, adding that billions of foreign and local investments in the region of Bansko would go to waste in several years’ time because the people would abandon Bulgarian destinations for foreign ones with better ski infrastructure.
He was adamant, however, that a conflict between environmental organizations and the local population on the issue of the development of the ski facilities had to be avoided at all costs.
Borisov advised Environment Minister Nona Karadzhova and Economy and Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev to strike the right tone in the talks and to achieve a balanced solution, taking extra care to avoid environmental damage.
During the meeting, Interior Minister Tsvetanov suggested that Bulgaria had to develop a national winter tourism strategy, stressing that Bulgaria had already lost precious time to do this.
Tsvetanov insisted that the Ministry of Economy, Energy, and Tourism, the Ministry of Environment and Water, and the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works and the respective parliamentary commissions had to draft a national strategy on the future development of the industry.
Bulgaria’s Interior Minister noted that the strategy would create employment and ensure the development of the regions.
He suggested that the strategy had to be developed before the parliamentary elections in the summer.
On Monday, Bansko Mayor Georgi Ikonomov submitted a proposal for the the construction of a second gondola lift and the expansion of the ski runs in the resort with the Ministry of Environment and Water.
Оn December 19, an initiative committee headed by Ikonomov submitted a petition for the expansion of the ski zone with the Council of Ministers.
In end-December, locals blocked the road connecting Bansko and Razlog, demanding a swift solution to the problem.
The protests were supported by Parliament Chair Tsetska Tsacheva, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and GERB MP Lyuben Tatarski, who Chairs the Parliamentary Regional Policy and Local Self-Government Committee.
The initiative committee for the development of the Bansko ski zone accuses Bulgarian environmental activists of disseminating lies and provocations.
The proponents of the construction of new ski facilities claim that the activities will not cause any environmental damage in the Pirin National Park.
Environmentalists have argued that Bansko is already overdeveloped, with an excessive capacity of hotel beds and ski runs that have already harmed the nearby Pirin National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.