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August 2008, 22/08/2008

Dear Valued Stara Planina Properties Clients,

Usually August in Bulgaria is a month with little news as most people tend to take holidays during the month. This year even the Olympics could not contribute much to the national news with just one gold won by a Bulgarian athleet in Beijing (and only 5 medals in total). Many Bulgarian sport fans would remember with nostalgia the other Asian Olimpics, in Seul in 1988, when Bulgarians brought home 10 golds. In the contrary, Britain did very well with 19 golds in Beijing!

Bulgarians Have Positive Attitude towards Foreigners according to Gallup International

In an article in the Bulgarian newspaper Classa Mila Grigorova from Gallup International presented the results from a recently conducted research of the attitudes of Bulgarians towards foreigners.

A year and a half after joining the EU in a special study of the public attitude towards foreigners, ordered by the Bulgarian daily Classa, Gallup International checked the attitude of Bulgarians towards foreigners. The data received confirms the expectations that generally Bulgarians are people open to foreigners and believe that connections with foreigners help (and would help in the future) rather than cause harm.

The contacts Bulgarians had with foreigners have not changed in quantitative terms since 2006. As two years ago 17% of Bulgarians have met (known) foreigners. 6-7 % of Bulgarians have neighbours or colleagues of foreign nationalities. At the same time there is qualitative change since 2006. This year 4% more said they had a foreign friend.

The people who are most open to foreigners are university graduates, students and especially the group of so called "modern" people - those who speak foreign languages, travel and use internet. One third of the "modern" Bulgarians have a close foreign friend. Having in mind the fact that the number of people speaking foreign languages and using internet is growing constantly the sociologists predict steady increase of the contacts and friendships between Bulgarians and foreigners.

Within this trend for opening of the country generally there are a few people with xenophobic attitude towards foreigners. 14% (no change compared to 2006) believe that in principle foreigners create danger for the Bulgaria's national security.

The biggest and only threat considered by Bulgarians was from Islamic fundamentalists - nearly half of the Bulgarians are afraid of these movements. The anti-Islam attitude has had slight increase compared to 2006.

Chinese restaurants and kebab shops are accepted positively. Only 15% of Bulgarians believe that there are too many foreigners in the country. Bulgarians welcome foreigners moving to Bulgaria. Moreover one third believe that attracting foreigners in the country can help to resolve problems such as the demographic crisis (negative population growth) and lack of enough workers. This means that Bulgarians see foreigners as a help and not a threat.

In the context of the positive attitude of Bulgarians towards foreigners (with the exception of Islamic fundamentalists) nationalists and xenophobic statements and messages reach very few, even isolated and marginal public groups, and have no power to become popular or mass in the near future.

The Famous British Architect Norman Foster Caught in Environmental Row

Last month the Guardian reported that Norman Foster, British architect and designer of world famous buildings, has been involved in plans to construct a resort in an area on the Black Sea Coast protected by the EU ecological network Natura 2000.

According to the ecologists the proposed resort will destroy one of the last spots with rich wild life and virgin forests and beaches along the coast called Karadere, near the town of Byala.

The resort is planned for 15,000 people and according to the Bulgarian partner is "adequate to the legislation" and "sympathetic to its surroundings". However protesters believe it will have "a devastating effect on the rich biodiversity of an area which has environmental protection status under the EU's Natura 2000 programme, which aims to protect endangered species and habitats".

Ecologists plan series of protests and are dedicated to stopping the construction which they believe was both illegal and immoral.

Bulgaria's Economy to Grow by over 6% in 2008

Bulgaria's Minister of Energy and Economy Petar Dimitrov predicted that this year's economic growth would be between 6,2 and 6,5%. Despite the global financial crisis and the recession predicted for the Euro zone, Bulgaria's economy will continue to grow steadily.

He also pointed out that the earnings outpaced the inflation and Bulgarians had greater spending power this year compared to 2007. At the same time the foreign direct investments in the first half of 2008 was 500 million EUR less than the same period of 2007.

Rockers Festival in Veliko Turnovo

Over 10,000 bikers with 6,000 motor bikes gathered in Veliko Turnovo from 22 to 24 August for the biggest rockers festival on the Balkans. Fest's slogan this year was "Respect Freedom".

The visitors enjoyed Veliko Turnovo's Sound and Light show on Tsarevets Hill, performances of rock groups on Sveta Gora Hill as well as parade through the main streets of Veliko Turnovo.

This year the participants drank 20 tones of beer and ate 120,000 kebapche!

Monthly Travel Guide

Below is a link to the Jamadvice HRG Bulgaria Monthly Travel Guide. It provides useful information as well as some interesting facts from the travel industry.

Monthly Travel Guide..

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