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The new project for the Blagoevgrad spa, Source: City of Blagoevgrad on Facebook

Blagoevgrad unveils transformation package to make the city a tourism hotspot

Blagoevgrad unveils transformation package to make the city a tourism hotspot

Mayor Ilko Stoyanov's project focuses on infrastructure, industry and an impressive concept for the city's mineral hot springs

Last Friday, the Mayor of Blagoevgrad in Bulgaria, Ilko Stoyanov, announced a new package of projects that aim to transform the city and put it on the European tourist map. They include several major infrastructure projects, as well as attractive offers with the goal of making the local hot springs more popular.

Furthermore, over the weekend, Mayor Stoyanov met with the mayors of Bansko and Razlog, Ivan Kadev and Krassimir Gerchev, to discuss the cooperation between the three cities. Blagoevgrad is the regional centre and the biggest, while Bansko is a world-class winter tourism destination. Through this cooperation, Mayor Stoyanov hopes to boost the region's tourism competitiveness.  

Reshaping Blagoevgrad

Back in June, Mayor Stoyanov was elected on a strong platform of change and now he aims to deliver. He unveiled the package of interconnected projects that are supposed to reshape ad modernise the city.

The first project calls for a renovation of Bachinovo park, a large green area on the edge of the city. Bachinovo is a 3.5-kilometre-long park with a river, lake, rabbits and swans. The renovation project calls for more footbridges along the river, as well as an expansion of walkways. Furthermore, local authorities aim to create an outdoor sports centre and expand access to the forested area of the park.

The second project is focused on the city’s water park and it aims to transform it into a modern spa due to the hot springs in the area. The renovated water park will have both an indoor and outdoor portion and according to municipal estimations, it should bring in at least 70,000 domestic and international tourists every year, which will greatly boost the local economy.

The other projects from the package will be unveiled in further detail at the start of 2022 but they focus on a reconstruction of the city’s market, an improved and more vibrant industrial park, a tech park and a film studio.

Currently, the city does not have financing for the projects, however, according to Mayor Stoyanov, local authorities have the capacity to finish them until 2023.

Municipal cooperation

During a meeting on Sunday, the mayors of Bansko, Razlog and Blagoevgrad discussed creating a joint tourism strategy for the winter season in the area. The three cities have a unique geographical location, as Bankso and Razlog are towns in a valley between Rila and Pirin, two of the highest mountains in the whole Balkan region.

Blagoevgrad, on the other hand, is a larger city located near a major highway linking Bulgaria and Greece. Furthermore, the whole region is rich in mineral hot springs, and Bansko already is a major ski resort.

Mayor Stoyanov was quoted in a press release, saying: “We have the chance to make the whole region a leading attractive destination for tourists from around the world. We have mountainous areas, thermal springs, whose potential must be used to 100%. And I am adamant that in order to achieve this goal, we have to combine our efforts on the local level.”

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