Commensurate with the multi-million largesse afforded the municipality of Bovec to remedy its ailing Kanin cableway device, the incumbent Slovenian administration has formally declared the project one of national importance, rubber-stamping the decision by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology to grant €5.7 million towards the project.

Recognising Bovec’s unique circumstances has been crucial in not only the resort receiving state aid but also the public acknowledgement of the vital part the region has to play in the ongoing development of the country’s tourism sector. Whilst other Slovenian resorts will bemoan the lack of state-backed funding for their own problems, Bovec offers winter-sports when most other areas have closed for the season or have temporarily suspended operations due to a lack of snow. Through its intervention the government has tacitly acknowledged the shame on the country that three seasons of inactivity on Kanin’s slopes has brought, a situation precipitated by several of the eponymous lift’s carriages crashing to earth for no apparent reason, especially once a freak spell of high winds originally assumed to have caused the near-catastrophic event was ruled out by the national meteorological service. Occupying such a geographically advantageous position close to the Italian frontier has deprived Bovec of an estimated €8 million in revenue since the lift’s cessation of operations, losing patronage and income that inevitably comes from large numbers of cross-border day trippers seeking snow-sure conditions rarely found elsewhere in Slovenia. The farcical situation for those that still decided to stay overnight in Bovec being bussed every morning to the Italian side of Kanin ensured Sella Nevea ultimately benefited from lucrative ski-pass and lunchtime sales, whilst helpless hand wringing became all the rage on the Slovenian side of the border. The government realised the situation couldn’t continue and has acted accordingly.

Scheduled to reopen in December the substantial raft of remediation works allied to a complete overhaul of the cableway and its infrastructure has been assisted this summer by favourable weather conditions, giving those tasked with the reconstruction every chance of meeting their winter deadline, one assumes a prerequisite to receiving ministry aid. After paying a comparatively modest surety to secure the lift and mountaintop Prestreljenik restaurant after several auctions failed to sell the assets of the cableway’s former operating company ATC Kanin, Bovec’s Municipality acquired the apparatus only once consensus had been reached with ATC Kanin’s creditors that ultimately paved the way for it to secure state assistance to reinstate the cableway to its former glory. The recognition by central government of the importance that cableways bring to many regions of Slovenia will encourage other areas seeking to reboot their resorts who suffer from aging infrastructure. Whilst it is anticipated that the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology will look sympathetically on other requests for financial assistance it cannot perform miracles for areas that suffer from a lack of snow consistent with regions of lower altitude, although artificial snow-making facilities are one possible avenue of investment to complement natural snowfall. Citing the example of Bovec existing resorts are in a much better position to attract public investment than schemes such as the Bohinjska Bistrica-based Bohinj 2864 project, that has yet to leap off the drawing board into reality. Mired in controversy and bogged down with financial and land constraints, the scheme’s progenitors – who own the Bohinj Eco Park Hotel – face an uphill struggle to see their brainchild ever become more than just a conceptual vanity project it will surely be branded as unless one day, somehow, it comes to fruition.

Further reading on Bovec can be found at:

Obcina Bovec: Kanin project officially of national importance