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29.05.2006 The Olympics 2014 will work as the Revival for Bulgaria

BulgarianPropererties, Head office

Interview with Mario Al Djeburi, Head of the National Tourism Agency:

- Mario Al Djeburi, how do You assess the chances for Bulgaria to reach the final in the competition for the winter Olympics in 2014?
My personal opinion is that our chances for the second tour are quite big. That is what I felt in Seoul, where we were on the sport expositions.

What are they?
The first thing is that we are the only capital in the competition. This means that the heritage which we will leave behind is of a great importance to us.
This moment is a little bit underestimate in the first leaflet of the candidature and has to be corrected. My personal opinion is that if we win the bid this will be a Reviving period for Bulgaria.
The people will change. Even NATO and the European union won't have such impact. Sport is one incredible phenomenon, which have to be used.
The host will be of great advantage for the tourism industry. This can be observed in the towns where the Olympics has already happened. Everyone knows them. All of them are worldwide famous resorts and popular destinations.

This is of great importance especially for the winter Olympics, which is closely related with the tourism. And here the halls will stay afterwards and will be maintained all year round. Even the bob- sleigh groove can be managed to be profitable, despite the huge investments, as there is luck of such for such equipment in Europe and especially on the Balkans. We are obliged to use that opportunity and continue developing in the right direction.

One of the gaps in or candidature is the hotel accommodation. We received the lower level of assessment on this matter!
This is not right. It is just a mistake. Even at the moment we can accommodate the Olympics. For example Bansko offers 11 000 beds at the moment. Just 6000 of them were pointed in the candidature. Borovets offers 8500, and the plans are until 2014 to offer 23 000 beds. And the slopes will be 50 kilometres longer.
Sofa offers 19 000 beds together with those licensed by the municipal. We just have made a mistake, which can easily be corrected. The most important thing for the moment is that Bulgaria has the most popular hotel chains in the world. We have Radisson, Hilton, and Sheraton. Every day we receive enquires from foreign investors who want to buy an existing hotel or to construct a new one.

Have You made any assessments about the profits from the Olympics for Bulgaria?
The economic effect can be calculated in billions, even if only the infrastructural projects are left behind. The vision of the country will be changed. We will have a different image. This will immediately lead to new investments.

Are You an optimist for the final result of the competition for the Olympics?
I am an optimist, but we have to do a lot of work. We will have one year that we should use to make maximum things for Bulgaria's good image. We need world famous consultants to help us. All this depends on the contest in the first stage. If we pass it things will be arranged by themselves. As for example the consultants and strong advertisement companies.

There is a discussion on the distribution of the resorts. What is Your opinion on the question?
This discussion is completely unnecessary. For me we all are one winter resort. Vitosha, Borovets and Bansko. I would even include Pamporovo. What are the distances in Bulgaria? We are one whole. The seaside is the same. You start from Borovets and You reach Bansko for an hour and a half.
Our neighbours are supporting us for the candidature. Greece, Turkey and Romania. Because they are close to us. The negative attitude is absolutely redundant at the present moment.
The only thing that we can show to the world are the slopes in Bansko. There is no other site that can be used for the construction of similar equipment, to fit the requirements of the International Federation.

In case that we do not win, which is very likely to happen, do we have to do the same in 2018?
It will be a waste if we do not do it, because we already have a starting position. We have done a lot of work. The fact that we are among the candidates generates a lot of positive things for Bulgaria and Sofia. We have made a lot of noise and have attracted a lot of interest. So we have gone a long way. No one have won from the first time.

Do You know the other rivals?
Yes, The Koreans are completely ready for the Olympics. The same is known about the Austrians. There is nothing we can say about Russia, the dimensions there are different.
However it is not a question of the advantages of the others. We are talking about our own advantages. We are a huge city and a lot will be left behind the Olympics. This is actually the most important requirement of the International Olympic Committee. Even more important than the value of projects.

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