DSC_1238A small town with a wealth of history, with ebullient present and unique nature is attracting tourist from home and abroad since decades. Whoever got in touch with Bansko’s magic wouldn’t forget the narrow paved streets, the taverns with tasteful local cuisine, the songs and round dances performed by folk ensembles, and the Pirin Mountain’s inimitable grace. Here, past and present are blending into a whole. Current generations have kept the entrepreneurship and the drive for innovation of older Bansko residents. Local citizens and investors are turning Bansko into a modern and distinctive mountain resort. A European-style skiing zone and newly built accommodation facilities are providing wonderful conditions for the practice of winter and summer sports and of all types of tourism. We interviewed Bansko’s Mayor, Mr. Alexander Kravarov, about tourism and the municipality’s problems.

Mr. Kravarov, how are businesses benefiting from the municipality’s help in developing and popularizing tourism?

The efforts of the municipality of Bansko are geared towards the development of the tourist potential, because we all realize clearly that the main source of revenue for the population is tourism. Building new and improving existing infrastructure is our main priority. Thus, we’re pursuing the objective of improving the conditions for the tourists. We’re submitting applications for and we’re implementing projects regarding natural and cultural landmarks in the municipality. We’re attempting to organize festivals, concerts, sports competitions, to put together facilities for conferences and seminars– measures aimed at attracting tourists out of the ski season. This is the ambition of Bansko’s administration: to make the municipality an all-year resort so that the existing excellent accommodation base would be booked in any season. We’re working hand in hand with the associations of the tourist sector. We’ve had joint participations at tourist trade fairs where we promoted successfully and attractively Bansko as a destination. We’ve never gone unnoticed, which, in turn, requires us to be responsible and to prepare carefully for each presentation. The municipality’s Tourism Consulting Board strives to develop an all-encompassing advertisement strategy for the year 2010. We hope it’d be a successful one.

To which problems is the municipality assigning the highest priority?

The development of large-scale infrastructure projects is of greatest importance to the municipality. They’d solve major problems with urban development of the communities: landscaping and lighting, completion and rehabilitation of water supply and sewerage networks and equipments, the construction of a wastewater treatment plant (WTP) for Bansko and Dobrinishte, without forgetting the waste management problem and the overhaul of municipal roads. Concerning this, Bansko municipality has developed project proposals, for which financing will be sought from the Rural Regions Development Programme. Water supply, sewerage, and WTP for Bansko and Dobrinishte will be financed through the Operational Programme Environment. Currently, a technical assistance project under ISPA is under way, aiming at the compilation of the entire application package needed to seek financing of an Integrated Water Project for Bansko. The latter foresees overhauling the water supply network and sewerage, as well as building up of main sewage collectors and of a wastewater treatment plant for Bansko. In partnership with the municipalities of Razlog, Belitza and Yakoruda, we’re working on a technical assistance project for the development of an investment project in relation to a regional waste depository and a waste pre-treatment facility. I hope that the projects will be funded in 2010 and we’ll start their effective implementation.

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