Sold: Bulgaria's Last Virgin Beach

By MILENA HRISTOVA   March 21, 2014


Crass and overbuilt. A sea of concrete, sporting "For Sale" notices. One of the things that foreigners and nature lovers should avoid at all costs while in Bulgaria. This is how the Bulgarian Black Sea coast has been perceived in the last few years.


Karadere, one of the very few virgin regions flung in the north of Bulgaria's Black Sea, is facing the grim prospect of turning into just one of those overbuilt places.


If rulers have their way, that's it.


The project for building a huge vacation complex in Karadere was approved by the government this week amid suspicions over the actual intentions of the investor – an unknown offshore company.


The goverment must have never heard of those environmentalists, who tirelessly flexed muscles to protect the unique beaches of Bulgaria from being wiped out by urbanization and expanding ventures.


They must have never heard that rich people don't go to a nature-turned-desert for their vacation.


And they surely don't give a damn that poor management drags Bulgaria down to the club of the cheapest tourist destinations in Europe.


Bulgarian officials continue to greenlight this type of crimes and feed shady investors' impudence, citing smug figures about the number of tourists.


Could their smug figures bid well for Bulgaria's tourism?


No, because quantity indices - like the number of foreign tourists - cannot be indicative for a small country like Bulgaria. What these figures do is sex up the status quo. Just like an advertising brochure they don't tell blatant whoppers and are pretty economical with the truth.


Truth is Bulgaria's coastline is no longer than 380 kilometers, while its beaches account for less than 150 kilometers. The country has no glaciers and its peaks are lower than 3,000 meters. A small country that faces the risk of running out of resources by overconstructing the landscape, overpopulating the regions, exhausting human resources and waters.


Shoot for the moon, settle for the stars, welcome only well-heeled tourists, compete with Austria and beat Greece, officials argue as they size up Bulgaria's rivals.


Truth is, that can never happen and needn't happen.