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Better Roads to Bring 'Tourist Heaven' for Bulgaria

Source: Sofia News Agency (
Published Date: 01 Oct 2006

Bulgaria has all that tourists may crave, but it has no roads to take them to places with reasonable speed and comfort, DPA commented in an article published on Sunday.

Every tourist's dream - seacoast, ski slopes, old cities and villages, palaces, museums and abundant history - can be seen in Bulgaria, but driving through the country is very difficult.

DPA quoted the story of a 55-year-old trotter, who recently travelled across the country north-to-south, from Veliko Tarnovo to the spa resort of Velingrad.

The 400-kilometre trip through mountains had no tunnels to straighten and flatten the course, it takes hours of crawling behind trucks before the three passes and bottlenecks are cleared, the man has said.

Slow and difficult to pass routes across are not good for a country, which has recorded staggeringly quick growth of tourism over the previous five years, the German news agency commented.

Straddling the Europe-Asia corridor, Bulgaria is on the route of international heavy-duty transport, which mingles with the regular traffic, severely hampering it.

The situation is aggravated in the winter, when snow and slush hide the holes and effectively turn them to booby traps for cars bound for the blooming ski centres, Pamporovo and Bansko.

But with membership in the European Union just three months away, the country now hopes to see the light regarding its road infrastructure.

Bulgarian leaders plan to spend EUR 9 B - half that money from the EU and the other half to be borrowed - by 2015 in order to double the length of highways and overhaul hundreds of kilometres of lesser roads.

"The development of the infrastructure is the top priority," Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev has recently said, calling on foreign investors to join in and take part in projects along the main transport corridors.