On Bulgarian Airports, Civil Society, and British Expats

Editorial |Author: Ivan Dikov | June 13, 2011, Monday // 11:18|  views

The news story entitled "Brits, Bulgarians Rally on Facebook in Support of Gorna Oryahovitsa Airport", reported by Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) on Monday, June 13, 2011, is really good news, which warrants greater attention – all the more so because it is multifaceted.

It just points to three crucial areas where Bulgaria has plenty of untapped potential, which – to put it in the simplest terms – raises hopes for the future, i.e. a future that has already started.

First, the story about people from the Veliko Tarnovo region rallying in favor of developing the Gorna Oryahovitsa Airport indicates that several local airports around Bulgaria might have a lot to offer if they are properly developed. The big question is if these delapidated and neglected airports can be profitable. But if Bulgaria manages to open up its international transport corridors, attract more and more foreign tourists, and lure more foreign "settlers" in the future, they might be viable business ventures. Not just Plovdiv, Varna, and Burgas, but also smaller cities like Veliko Tarnovo, Ruse, Targovishte, Balchik/Albena and Vidin stand to benefit from passenger and cargo flights. There regions cover almost all of the country, which is a potentially powerful development tool for Bulgaria outside of Sofia.

Second, there is the old self-explanatory clich? about the importance of civil society and how it can change Bulgaria. But it should nonetheless be stressed time and again. The new moment here is that people of the Veliko Tarnovo region are rallying in support of an economic project such as the Gorna Oryahovitsa Airport.

Third, the Facebook group in question features a lot of British expats living in Bulgaria – actually, one of them, David Driver, started it. Thousands of Brits and Irish bought properties in Bulgaria before 2008, and many settled here permanently. It is great to see them (this being by far not the only instance) participate more and more in Bulgaria's public life. It should be seen as their country, too, though at the opposite end of Europe, and they can contribute to improving it a lot more than they have.

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Tags: Gorna Oryahovitsa, Gorna Oryahovitsa Airport, concession, concessionaire, Veliko Tarnovo, Transport Ministry, northern Bulgaria, Shtraklevo Airport, Ruse, Brits, expats, Facebook, civil society

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