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420. Six day holiday good for tourism - tourism institute

Sofia Echo: 2009-05-04

The six day May holiday has been extremely good for tourism, without any cancellations, Rumen Draganov, director of the Institute for Analysis and Assesment in Tourism said in an interview with Focus news agency.

Hotels that offer balneology were booked up a month earlier. All other hotels, along the seaside as well as throughout the country, report good occupancy.

Tourists are reportedly not only from Bulgaria and neighbouring countries. There has been an increase of visitors from Germany, the UK, Spain and Scandinavian countries, Draganov said.

Sofia has made a name for itself as a quiet town during holidays, a special town for culinary and wine tourism and enjoys a good reputation, Draganov said.

419. Bulgaria is the second favourite tourist destination for Serbs

Sofia Echo: 2009-05-03

Bulgaria is the second most popular destination for Serbian holidaymakers for this upcoming summer. The most popular destination is Greece, according to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, citing statistics released by the Serbian national tourist association.

The research was conducted amongst 19 798 Serb citizens who were asked about their plans for the upcoming summer and their favoured destinations as well as their planned budget.

More than a fifth of respondents said they were planning to visit the Bulgarian Black Sea, but a significantly larger proportion 40 per cent indicated that they were planning or had already made plans to visit Greece.

Ranking behind Bulgaria in third place was Turkey with 20 per cent, Egypt with five per cent and Tunisia with three per cent.

Bulgaria has long since overtaken Montenegro, a traditional destination for Serbian holidaymakers. Only about three per cent of those interviewed expressed a desire to go there this summer.

418. "Beautiful Bulgaria" project continues

News BG: 2009-04-29

In 2009 some 241 sites on the territory of the country will be renovated with finds from the state budget under the "Beautiful Bulgaria" project.

A total of 21 million euros will be allotted for the purpose. The money will be allocated to 160 Bulgarian municipalities, which have successfully worked out and defended their projects for the renewal and embellishment of the respective settlements.

"Beautiful Bulgaria" is one of the most successful Bulgarian socially targeted projects. Its basic purpose is to facilitate unemployment in the country by engaging jobless people in construction works with the aim of improving urban environment. The project was launched in 1997 with the assistance of the UNDP. It expanded with the years encompassing a growing number of municipalities. As of 2005 "Beautiful Bulgaria" is ruled entirely by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. About 1800 jobless people have so far been engaged in the project, while nearly 12 thousand Bans have changed their qualification moving in the sphere of construction works. The idea for people in this country to inhabit more beautiful and comfortable environment with renewed administrative buildings, churches, schools and reading houses has attracted a growing number of Bulgarian municipalities. In most places local administration has worked out various projects for applying for the financial support of "Beautiful Bulgaria". In late 2008 the project was included in the government plan of action for achieving economic stability in the conditions of a world financial crisis. Here is the comment of Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev:

"We realize that Bulgaria like all other EU countries is entering a harder period of time in view of the economic environment on an international plane. That is why we have looked for all possible ways of supporting the economy, the employment of people and preserving as far as possible their jobs. So these 241 projects are related to improving the social infrastructure, as well as the helping of small business in the tourist branch and the municipalities in general. The projects would guarantee 6400 jobs for people who would be building the respective sites all over the country and will help the re-qualification of 4 thousand Bulgarians. Thanks to this ambitious programme some 1600 permanent jobs would be provided."

I think that with the successful fulfillment of "Beautiful Bulgaria" we successfully proved that we have learned not just to walk but to firmly set foot and manage large-scale projects, said Bulgarian Minister of Labor and Social Policy Emilia Maslarova and added:

"Nearly 70% of Bulgarian municipalities are making use of this project. That shows that we have learned to manage projects. Municipalities made their best to teach people how to earn projects. We tried not only to renew culture and historic monuments in Bulgaria, our churches, reading houses etc. but also to improve our social infrastructure. So far we have renewed 100 nurseries and kindergartens. Furthermore almost 400 social homes and day care centers have been supported one way or another by the project. I think that the repair of 241 sites on the territory of 160 Bulgarian municipalities in the course of the next 12 months is an extremely ambitious task, which we are quite capable of coping with", said in conclusion Social Minister Emilia Maslarova.

417. Lake development selection programme has been approved

Sofia Echo: 2009-04-28

The official selection process for choosing the companies that will develop two large Bulgarian lakes Luda Yana and Plovdivtsi - has been approved by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works and will take place in a fortnight, Stroitelstvo Gradut has reported.

Companies interested must submit their applications for Luda Yan by 2pm on May 11 2009 and for Plovdivtsi lake by 2pm on May 18 2009.

The financial resources required for both projects have been allocated by the World Bank's Municipal Infrastructure Development project fund.

The major overhaul, infrastructure works, and subsequent development of the region surrounding both lakes is estimated at 75 million euro in total, 80 per cent of which has been borrowed by the World Bank.

Construction work on the Luda Yana Lake is expected to last 46 months. Work on Plovdivtsi Lake will take about 40 months.

The companies will be tasked with modernising and upgrading the existing systems in operation, and renewing them completely where necessary. Water treatment installations will have to be installed to produce clean drinking water.

Luda Yana is meant to supply Panagiurishte and Pazardjik with drinking water whereas Plovdivtsi will be tasked with doing the same for Madan, Rudozem and another 22 villages in the surrounding area.

416. Interior Ministry invests in Plovdiv and Stara Zagora

Sofia Echo: 2009-04-27

A new player looks set to make new investments in Bulgaria's real estate market. Interior Ministry chief, Mihail Mihov, turned the first sod on April 22 to start construction on the second regional police office headquarters in Stara Zagora.

Later that day, Mihov went to Plovdiv and participated in the official opening ceremony of the newest police precinct in the Trakia borough in the city. The new police base in Plovdiv has been sponsored in full by the Interior Ministry and occupies more than 3500 sq m of a parcel of land conceded by the local municipality.

The value of the Plovdiv police station, which was developed by Bibov and Co OOD, amounts to more than three million leva. Chief architects for the design are Rumen Galov and Engineer Panayot Notov.

The new facility is compartmentalised into two main sections, the first consisting of two storeys and the second of four-storey buildings. Architects insist that the building is modern, efficient and practical and that it complies with Bulgarian and international legislation as well as European construction standards.

Equipped with a large and modern administrative centre, and a new conference hall the new police station will serve 80 000 citizens who reside in the Trakia borough and the villages of Yagodovo and Krumovo.

Meanwhile, the Second Precinct police station in Stara Zagora, which is under construction, will be erected in the borough of Zheleznik.

415. Bulgaria marks the Day of the Earth

News BG: 2009-04-22

The coalition of 30 non-governmental organization and civil groups For nature to remain in Bulgaria organizes a series of events throughout the country for the Day of the Earth 22 April.

In the morning alpinists and climbers will drop down from buildings and crossroads in the center of Sofia big boards with messages about the Earth.

At 11 am in the garden in front of the parliament a photo exhibition will be opened. There will be stands with information materials on how to live in harmony with the nature.

At 5.30 a group of bicycle riders will cross the center of Sofia from the Ariyana lake to the St. Alexander Nevsky cathedral in defense of the need for air.

At 6.30 pm in front of the cathedral the longest horo will dance in defense of the Bulgarian nature. Afterwards there will be a concert with the participation of Elitza and Stundzhi, Wikeda, Merudia and Tedy Katzarova.

There will be events for the Day of the Earth also in Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Kardzhali, Pleven, Sliven and Sopot.

414. Over 330 projects wait for SAPARD funding

News BG: 2009-04-21

SAPARD agency is ready to start this week projects with which by mid-June the 100 million granted by the government to be acquired.

These are respectively 60 million from the reserves of fund Agriculture and 40 million from the state budget. The resources will be enough for three fourths of the impeccable projects.

So far 332 projects have not been paid, informed Georgi Zhelev, director of SAPARD agency and deputy executive director of State fund Agriculture, cited by money.bg.

He added that he was hoping the payments from the European Commission under the SAPARD program to be restored at a later stage.

Agency SAPARD will work without any holidays till the end of May, including on St. George s day.

413. Bulgaria marks Good Friday

Sofia Echo: 2009-04-17

The orthodox church marks today the day before the last of the Holy week Good Friday the day when Jesus Christ was crucified.

According to the evangelic writings in the day of the death of the Gods son the sky and the earth opened, the sun concealed itself and darkness fell over Golgotha.

During the church service this night the last moments of the life of Jesus are remembered.

The mantle is taken out of the altar and the funeral service of the God is implemented among white flowers.

The going under the table where the holy mantle is put with the body of Jesus on it, is a national custom. It symbolizes the leaving of all problems and burden in the hands of the God.

According to the Bulgarian folklore tradition on this day no work should be done and a very strict fasting should be implemented because Good Friday is a day of spiritual purification.

Every breath suffers together with the God-man and is emphatic to his death and funeral.

412. Varna to have the biggest flags in Europe

News BG: 2009-04-16

The highest pylons with flags in Europe will be raised in the Bulgarian Black sea town of Varna.

The Bulgarian flag and the flag of Europe will be put on them. This announced during his visit in Varna the minister of state administration and administrative reform Nikolay Vassilev, cited by moreto.net.

The pylons will be in the Sea garden in the town. The flags will be more than 294 sq.m, which is the size of the biggest flag in Europe situated in Madrid.

According to minister Vassilev the preparation for the construction of the two biggest pylons in Varna is currently going on. The ambition is the sea capital to have the highest pylons ad the biggest flags on the European continent. They will raise over 50 m high, will be lit in the night and will be seen from the whole gulf and from almost every place in the town, said minister Vassilev.

He added that at the moment specialists from the country discuss from what material the flags should be because Varna was a very windy town and the material should be more durable.

411. Penny Market 78 000 sq m logistics complex being built outside Sofia

Sofia Echo: 2009-04-15

The economic crisis has affected Bulgaria in several ways, yet Carrefour has opened its first store in the country just last week. This will be followed by the construction of a new vast logistics centre on the outskirts of Sofia, which started last week as well.

The new spacious facility will be on 78 000 sq m of land, with gross built-up area of 23 000 sq m. The logistics complex, belonging to Penny Market Bulgaria, will be near Stolnik village, Elin Pelin municipality.

Vassil Fechko, the manager of the complex and Stoilnik village mayor Mariana Gesheva turned the first sod on April 12.

"We are exceptionally happy that we have undertaken this step in expanding our chain in Bulgaria. We aim to provide high quality produce at very reasonable prices and we perceive the Bulgarian market as one of great potential for the future," Fechko said, as quoted by Stroitelstvo Gradut.

Mix Construction will be the firm tasked with erecting the vast facility. The complex will be compartmentalised in several different sectors, with large storage hangars, processing units, hydraulic cranes, refrigerator facilities, a business and administrative centre, recycling station, a water supply and water treatment station, solar panel park for energy generation and others.

The cost of the entire facility is likely to exceed 30 million leva and it will create more than 500 permanent jobs in the local community.

Penny Market Bulgaria is part of the REWE concern, based in Cologne, Germany. In Bulgaria, REWE already represents the Billa supermarket chain. Moreover, Penny Market is set to open altogether 10 stores nationwide, with shops under construction in Omurtag, Vratsa, Veliko Turnovo, Nova Zagora, Berkovitsa, Lovech and others.

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