In a further setback for Slovenia’s moribund tourism sector the Hotel Kanin, previously a staple for winter-sports enthusiasts and summer season thrill-seekers has once again failed to sell at auction, the third time the Bovec-based accommodation provider attracted bids of insufficient value to appease creditors.
Resorting to a Dutch auction the Kanin’s starting price began at a notional €2.75 million, the receiver in control of the gavel being prepared to sell at nearly €1.3 million, almost half the academic jumping off point. Two interested parties who provided the €137,000 surety were narrowed down to a single Hungarian bidder but despite frank discussions with HIT, the company previously charged with managing the Kanin, a consensus could not be brokered for a mutually beneficial way forward.
Creditors who include Maribor’s Nova Kreditna Banka would’ve expected greater interest in the Kanin now that much of Bovec’s cableway infrastructure and the Prestreljenek mountain-top restaurant have fallen under the auspices of its municipality, potentially the catalyst for winter sports to return to the frontier resort after several damaging years of absence. Despite Bovec’s local authority now having more of the town’s destiny in its hands than at any time in recent years there are still massive doubts over whether the slopes servicing the Kanin’s mountain namesake will this year see a resumption of activities that were unceremoniously halted by several gondola carriages crashing to earth, disaster only being averted by the sheer luck that none of them were occupied at the time. Much time, engineering expertise and finance(including a reported grant of €3 million of public money) is needed to bring the cableway back into service in time for this forthcoming season but every inactive week that passes increases the likelihood of another winter period where Bovec’s skiers are once again bussed to Sella Nevea(SN), the flourishing Italian side of Mount Kanin. It is unclear if SN is willing to intervene, to effectuate the resumption of activities on the Slovenian extremes of a mountain it has enjoyed a hegemonic grip on for the last three winter seasons. The scale of the liabilities incurred by and paper value of the Hotel Kanin would suggest a process by which Bovec’s municipality acquired the majority of the cableway apparatus and mountain inn for a nominal amount – after a little known Slovenian law was executed(with the blessing of creditors) allowing distressed assets to pass into public ownership after several unsuccessful attempts to sell at auction – is unlikely to be repeated in this instance but whilst rumours of Chinese investment in the hotel remain pure conjecture, another year of inertia will pass seeing little tangible progress in a resort that theoretically offers the highest altitude skiing in Slovenia.
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