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A New Year Summary

Quest has made a summary of a few topics that are with us in everyday life in Bulgaria from 2010/2011.

Property Market

The last few years have seen a downwards slide in the housing market, once a thriving market and investors were buying in bulk and renovating -but too much supply and not enough demand and now prices have slumped considerable and many bargains are out there for the shrewd investor. Not such good news for those wishing to sell and move on. The year ahead forecasts are still not appearing to be any better but we will wait and see.

Tourism

Bulgaria has for many years been known as one of the cheaper destinations for holidays. Bulgaria is a wonderful country with so much to offer both those who live here and those looking for a holiday destination. Last year saw the country spending money on advertising campaigns promoting Bulgaria's diversity in tourism not just its cheap sea and ski resorts. TV adverts are still being aired to promote Bulgaria in the hope an increase in foreign visitors will see what alternatives are on offer wonderful mountains, beaches and heritage sites. More recently the government has invested more money in souvenirs with scenes and images of Bulgaria pictured on products including beach towels, t-shirts and mugs again to attract more interest and show the country's national identity.
Bulgaria was also listed in the top ten of the best places to visit for 2011.

Corruption

Bulgaria has been plagued with issues concerning corruption for many years and EU funding not being spent where it should especially since joining the European Union in 2007.Assessments from the anti-fraud office OLAF who visited Bulgaria in 2010 has recently commended Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in his cooperation, efforts and progress in curbing frauds with EU funds during the past year.

The Roma Population

The Roma population have been neglected for centuries. Maybe by showing some goodwill and by improving living conditions for these people. It's not handouts these people need, just acceptance and equal status in society providing employment and education. Why not start by educating Bulgarians by including information about the Roma culture in the national curriculum?

Orphanages

A subject that is all too readily brushed under the carpet in Bulgaria but similar to the Roma problem needs to be tackled. Many foreigners help raise money to provide essentials for these concerns. But often the money doesn't get to where it is actually needed. Orphanages need to be funded not just by giving clothes and essentials, but also by providing time to teach life skills such as cooking, computer, sewing and language that will help when the orphanages no longer support the children so it gives them a chance to find work to support themselves in adult life. Other suggestions and ideas we have heard from expats who live here and help in orphanages is 'sponsoring a child', possibly through college which could give them a good future.

Fill Those Potholes

We've bounced along the Bulgarian road system for years now incurring punctured tyres and annoying rattles caused by too many holes in the road. The Bulgarian road system is hideously underdeveloped with few dual carriageways or motorways. Mountain roads are subject to frequent rock and landslides and during winter the situation gets worse when roads become icy and potholes swell in size. It doesn't stop there, night driving is dangerous due to the lack of lighting and for pedestrians it is even worse because most roads don't have pavements.

Things have started to improve despite the loss of some EU finding and connections with the capital from major cities like Plovdiv, Bourgas and Varna have got better, but the elimination of the country's many potholes still seems a far cry away. It's time to make a concerted effort to eradicate potholes and make the roads safer for everybody.

Rubbish

Bulgaria is an under populated country, with untouched beauty and scenery covering most parts of the country. Yet Bulgarians think nothing of dumping rubbish in the middle of the countryside, by rivers, on roadsides and spoiling the environment. However bins are freely located in towns and roadsides, being an easy solution when out and about to place it in, some parts are even allocated for larger commercial rubbish and is cleared away regularly by Lorries. Certainly re-educating in this matter is required to help stop this problem and prevent spoiling the countryside.

Stray Dogs

The plight of the country's many stray dogs is always a topic of concern, and even if you are not an animal lover most people can't help but feel sorry for these poor animals. The World Health Organization recommends the ‘castrate and return' idea whereby male dogs are castrated free of charge then returned to where they were found. In time this would lead to a reduction in the overall dog population. Some reports from Bulgarian news had suggested that shelters would be created by 2011 to help combat the growing population in Sofia. Plus several voluntary organisations have been set up to also help combat and re house stray dogs.One thing you can't afford to do is turn a blind eye without seeing an increase in rabies outbreaks.