Bansko gets Bigger!
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February 23rd 2005
Bansko, Bulgaria (Ski Press) Bulgaria’s rapidly expanding ski centre at Bansko has signed up famous international and domestic stars including Italian slalom sensation Alberto Tomba to advertise the resort this season.
The resort has spent heailly on an of the mountain in recent years, joining the picturesque resort to the ski slopes in a World Heritage site with a fast Doppelmayr gondola, cutting out a 30 minute drive a creating one of the world’s longest ski runs back down in the proess.
This season a five-star Kempinski hotel, the Grand Arena, has opened this month. The first five-star hotel in the resort, it has 150 rooms and is located slopeside. The hotel has been built by a Plovdiv-based company Gehard with financial backing by First Investment Bank.
There are a remarkable 70 hotels curently undergoing construction in Bansko, mostly on a small scale with 25 to 30 rooms, with a combined 150 million euro investment. This has sparked conerns that the resort’s current infrastructure annot support the huge expansion and the local councl is offering ‘land grants’ to those prepared to build faclities to support all the lodging.
The property gold rush at Bansko an other Bulgaran resorts has seen property prices rie by a third, on average, in the past year; with some areas doubling in value. The World Tourism Organisation has placed Bulgaria close to the top of the league in terms of tourism growth, with 23% growth in 2003, up from 13% the previous year. The growing influence of the EC is seen asa major factor and with membership likely in 2007, the trend is expected to continue upward.