Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

LIFE CLOSE TO NATURE FOR THE RICH

In most cases, Bulgarian people are not able to communicate with nature and that is one of the main obstacles for the development of rural tourism. The other hindrance, of course, is the fact that this type of tourism is not a gold mine for those who open family houses for guests. You need to have a warm heart and to love nature, entrepreneurs in that field remind. One has to be a tourist at heart, they warn. Practice shows, however, that the initiative is usually undertaken by people who have no flair for rural tourism and end frustrated by the results of their investment. Earnings are too low to satisfy an entrepreneur with great ambitions. This type of business can bring up to BGN20,000 for a year. Besides, the owners of family houses open for guests have no other choice but to enrich their range of services in order to keep the guests attracted - and that is not possible for everyone.
To help rural tourism flourish, you need more than imagination and resourcefulness. Some inventive hosts may, for instance, offer a course in culinary art, a walk accompanied with picking of mushrooms or herbs, mountain climbing if you are in the mountain recesses of the Balkans. Until recently, these were only amusements for foreigners, proprietors claim. In the past year, though, Bulgarian people have shown more willingness to live close to nature and spend more of their time away from the big city. Those who offer home-like hospitality underline that they built their houses with their own efforts and the state did nothing to encourage the development of rural tourism. According to them, funds from the SAPARD program remain inaccessible to ordinary people willing to open such family houses. The Beautiful Bulgaria project offers quite unfavourable conditions which oblige applicants to rent certain companies to build the houses. Stoyan Kapsuzov and his wife Sonya who own the famous Kapsuzov houses started with a loan from the National Environment Preservation Fund and thus rejected the previous financing alternatives.
Building a house of this type costs between BGN100,000 and BGN200,000. The profit from such business is not huge at all. Rural tourism is not going to make you a millionaire, experienced people who say they live a decent life warn. Despite this admission, however, we should note that prices in some of the houses are quite high. One night in the open may cost you from BGN10 to BGN100 which is not a price the average Bulgarian can easily afford. This is probably the reason why villages are usually visited by rich Bulgarians and foreigners.

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