The slandering campaigns against the sector serve political interests.
Each year at the beginning of the summer season the media from the Capital circle launch discrediting campaigns against the tourism at the Bulgarian seaside. They report isolated cases of delayed charter flights, the arrest of a drunk foreign tourist and cars passing through dunes. It is important to twist the information in such a way, that it unnoticeably becomes a huge public problem.
Since several years there is a new scenario in place: the meetings and processions of the ecologists are organized for 7 pm, so that they can be broadcasted live in the central news emissions.
This dirty game has been going on for more than ten years. The media campaigns are organized in the websites of Dnevnik, Club Z, Mediapool, Capital newspaper and, since recently, by BTV. They result in significant public distrust in tour operators, delayed investment plans and withdrawal of local and foreign internationally recognized companies.
Trud has shown in many investigations the dependence between the media in the Capital circle and the “green ecological” non-governmental organizations (NGO) discrediting Bulgarian tourism. They are in the coalition of Democratic Bulgaria which also includes Democrats for Strong Bulgaria and Yes Bulgaria, mentored by the publisher of Capital and Dnevnik Ivo Prokopiev. The agenda is simple: the “greens” organize a protest against something, for example create public concerns about projects and investors. Under this pressure the authorities stop a particular project with an administrative decision. The struck company either gives up or files a law suit that takes years and so the investment is rendered meaningless. The municipalities and the local population also suffer by losing tax revenues and workplaces, respectively.
In the past ten years dozens of key investments from Shabla to Tsarevo have fallen victims to the Capital circle.
Shabla, Kavarna and Balchik are seeing continuous attacks against the golf complexes recognized as some of the best in Europe. They, at least, have been built, in contrast with other investment projects that will remain unrealized. One of the attacks is from 2008 against the project for an eco-friendly vacation resort in the vicinity of Karadere whose architect is the world-famous Sir Norman Foster. He has won the most prestigious architectural awards in the world. He is the author of the idea for the outlook of the Apple Central in Cupertino. But here Sir Foster’s professionalism is met with a knife. Immediately a campaign is started against the future complex that has no analogue in the neighbouring countries and would surely attract tourists from all over the world. The Capital circle covers in detail the scanty protests of the “greens” who insist that the village will be built in a protected zone. After about six years and many manipulations, appeals and heavy media blows the investor gives up. In 2018 an investor shows interest in the area behind the beach of Koral camping area. The project is for another eco-friendly village and it is proposed by the Spanish company Iberdrola Inmobiliaria, part of the huge consortium Iberdrola Group with annual turnover of EUR 32 billion. The Karadere scenario is repeated. The “greens” step forward and manipulate people into thinking that there will be developments on the beach. Their positions are reported daily in the media from the Capital circle. When this lie is exposed, another one is coming: nothing can be built behind the beach, because there are “many endangered plant species, for example snowflakes (Leucojum sp.). Then Trud asks the authorities whether these plants are really growing there and receives a definite negative answer. Finally, Iberdrola Inmobiliaria ends up with property bought for tens of millions which is practically unusable. The company files several law suits. The consortium cannot implement its vacation village project until the courts reach their decisions. An investment for a vacation complex in the area of Vaya beach suffered a similar blow. A media campaign against the project started with the manipulation that the development would be in the protected zone of Irakli
A court decision was issued stating that the investment is fully legal and the location is not in Irakli, but in an adjacent area where building is allowed. Still the investor never received an excuse from the Capital circle. Instead, the false assertion that Irakli has been overdeveloped and “rendered unsuitable for recreation” is still being disseminated.
The last case is of this year and concerns Alepu beach and the landslide retaining wall built there. According to the project the construction will become a part of a resort in the urbanized territory above the coastline with no potential to harm the environment. According to the documents everything is legal, but then the familiar campaign starts. The lies about pouring concrete on the coast and breaking the law are disseminated. These assertions are made despite the fact that there is a zoning plan approved for Sozopol Municipality, all appeals lodged against it have been dismissed and it has come into force.
It is important to note that none of the described project proposals involves construction on a beach or in a protected zone. All of the locations, however, are in areas where the “greens” go to camp in the wild, i.e. spend the summer sleeping in a tent or a caravan for free and leave tons of rubbish behind. Last week the Constitutional Court ordered that the amendments to the Act on the Black Sea coast introducing rules for camping be maintained in force. Now people cannot put up their tents and park their caravans wherever they please, the way the “conservationists” are used to.
The indisputable “success” of the campaigns of the Capital circle in partnership with the “greens” is marked by the blocking of the investments in two vast Black Sea regions. Tsarevo Municipality is overwhelmed by total chaos due to the lack of a Zoning Plan (ZP). The reason is that Strandzha Nature Park is within the boundaries of the municipality but it lacks the mandatory Management Plan. This plan needs to be prepared by the “greens”. Since1999 one of the NGOs of the “conservationists” has been giving the authorities the run-around and it still has not submitted the ZP of Strandzha NP. Without this framework document the ZP of Tsarevo cannot come into force. The reason is that the norms and the regimes in the nature park are unknown.
Due to this outrage no investor would start anything serious in the region despite of its enormous potential.
In coastal Dobrudzha the “conservationists” found Ponto-Sarmatic steppes on the coast, even though this habitat is characteristic of parts of continental Asia. Coincidentally or not, these steppes are in the area of Kavarna and Balchik that has just started to develop. It turned out that 2500 private properties are affected because their owners cannot even till their land and saw crops. In 2017 the locals organized mass protests, but the problem remains unsolved. Under these circumstances, it is doubtful that an investor would by land in Balchik, Shabla and Kavarna and develop tourism or another business. It may turn out he is treading on Ponto-Sarmatic steppes.
The reason behind the dirty game of the Capital circle is simple: political influence. The mentor of Democratic Bulgaria (that includes the “greens”) Ivo Prokopiev is apparently decided to make his proteges members of the parliament.
The easiest way to destabilize the government is to present imaginary or insignificant problems of the summer tourism as apocalyptic events and to cover small protests as if they were huge. Since several years there has been a new scenario: the meetings and processions of the “conservationists” start not long before 7 pm so that they can be broadcasted live in the central news bulletin. Next year there will be parliamentary elections and the early campaign is obviously passing through abuse of Bulgarian tourism. / Trud