'Bulgarian Fjords' to Spur Development of EU Poorest Region

Tourism | April 11, 2011, Monday // 16:03|  views

Bulgaria`s Danube city Vidin has the potential of becoming a bustling tourist center, according to BEF head Tabakov. File photo.

Unique but unexplored tourism features are the key to the development of Northwest Bulgaria, the poorest EU region, according to Georgi Tabakov, head of the Bulgarian Economic Forum (BEF).

Tabakov presented Monday a BEF project with proposals for attracting foreign investment and boosting local entrepreneurship in Bulgaria's northwest region.

According to Tabakov, the Danube city of Vidin is full of architectural landmarks and has a wonderful park but it lacks investors who could turn it into a tourist center. Tabakov also cited the entire Danube River as an underexploited source of revenue for the tourist sector.

In his words, Northwest Bulgaria has the potential of attracting higher-income Europeans, unlike the Black Sea coast.

Tabakov further specified that Northwest Bulgaria is particularly rich in natural reserves that he referred to as "Bulgarian fjords" comparing their potential to the natural wonders of Norway.

The project entitled InvestNorthWest of the Bulgarian Economic Forum for the economic development of Bulgaria's Northwest region will make use of a specialized website aimed at attracting investors - www.investnorthwest.info

InvestNorthWest administered by the Bulgarian Investment Forum is focusing on improving the competence and capacities of the local authorities in Bulgaria's Northwestern Planning Region for attracting investments. It has been developed with the financial support of Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area.

In December 2010, as part of the InvestNorthWest project, a delegation of Bulgarian local authorities visited Norway's Bergen.

Local companies can freely upload information on the platform, thereby creating a sort of an "electronic investment agency".

Apart from that, more than 360 people have undergone project development trainings under the initiative.

Bulgaria's Northwest region is the poorest within the EU, Eurostat data showed recently. According to European statistics, Northwestern Bulgaria, or Severozapaden, the NUTS 2 region with the smallest GDP per capita in the EU.

In 2008, GDP per inhabitant for the Bulgarian Northwest region was barely 28% of the EU 27 to 343% of the average in Inner London in the United Kingdom..

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has recently mentioned the prospects for the construction of the country's second nuclear power plant in the Danube town of Belene as a key project for the development of the Bulgarian Northwest. Bulgaria's only existing NPP - in the Danube town of Kozloduy - is also located in the region of Northwestern Bulgaria.

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Tags: Georgi Tabakov, Bulgarian Economic Forum, Northwestern Bulgaria, Vidin, danube, Danube River, tourism, Severozapaden


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