*Please view March 2019 update: Bohinj: Slovenian Cryptocurrency millionaire invests in ailing hotel stock
Being responsible for the majority of Bohinj’s preeminent tourism accommodation places a large responsibility on the owner to sympathetically maintain properties whose position within the Triglav National Park(TNP) imposes exacting aesthetics demands and the need for sustainable renewal and reinvention. It is therefore a travesty that several hotels owned by Victor Pacnik have fallen into such irreparable structural decay, highlighting the ultimately toothless remit of the TNP when they aren’t sweating the small stuff or controlling the controllable
A June meeting between Pacnik and Bohinj’s Municipal council resulted in an ultimatum issued to the negligent landlord of Hotels Zlatorog and Bohinj, the former having closed a few years ago, the latter, whilst still operating hardly affording tourists a level of service commensurate with its advantageous location close to Lake Bohinj, in Ribcev Laz. There is also the small matter of the equally derelict Hotel Bellevue, made famous not only by its lofty situation above the lake but from a well-publicised stay by Agatha Christie in the 1960’s. Ownership of the Bellevue can best be described as opaque although it is believed to have once been part of Pacnik’s portfolio, albeit through a labyrinthine structure of tenant operators, now equally as absent as those assumed to own the ailing edifice. Pacnik failed to acquiesce to the long overdue stipulations imposed upon the continued rights that correspond with ownership of Camp Zlatorog, the lakeside campsite that abuts the Hotel Zlatorog and which affords users a basic but functional base set against a stunning visual backdrop. Aca Trampuz and Miran Taslidze, the entrepreneurial duo whose efforts continue to revive the fortunes of the Rjava Skala-based Ski Hotel Vogel(SHV) from a very low base have reached an agreement in principal to acquire Camp Zlatorog from Pacnik, a facility they have successfully operated in the summer before turning their attentions to the SHV during the winter months. Having proven themselves to be safe pairs of hands and in the chronic absence of alternative suitors, Pacnik has seemingly followed through his intention to divest himself of his high profile assets to the first interested bidder.
The most intriguing part of the deal does though involve the Hotel Zlatorog, lying shamefully derelict in its Ukanc location noted for serenity and a gateway to Savica waterfall and the Triglav Lakes hike. The prominence of the ‘Zlat’ was once centred upon its popularity with presidents and those who delighted in being seen enjoying its restrained splendour. Those days are long gone, the hotel’s prominent position and outmoded depandansa now only serving to deface a landscape dominated by the looming Komarca mountain which appears to tower over the fallen giant casting a terminal, damning judgment. An estimated two million euros(€) to bring the Zlatorog back into service appears to be a conservative evaluation of the considerable charge sheet listing the many structural problems facing the hotel, including the swimming pool roof which collapsed during winter storms and an interior ravaged by leaks and looters. The successful reinvention of the Ski Hotel Vogel and sound custodianship of Camp Zlatorog have shown to be appropriate proving grounds for the development of Trampuz and Taslidze’s involvement in Bohinj’s tourism sector, a growth area akin to a financial open goal for suitable investors seeking an initially moderate return from sensible levels of inward investment, in complete contrast to those like Pacnik who sought to mercilessly sweat the assets before walking away once ongoing, routine backing was needed to keep the businesses viable. It is therefore hoped the two speculators and their business plan will be looked upon favourably by financial institutions whose partnership is vital if the vision of a rebooted Hotel Zlatorog is to become reality.
Recognition of the Zlatorog’s local, regional and national importance in Ljubljana’s corridors of power could also prove crucial to the hotel’s future development. A compelling case for funding from Slovenia’s Ministry of Economic Development and Technology(MEPT), the government department responsible for bankrolling the majority of the near €6 million needed to bring Bovec’s Kanin cableway back into active service in time for the forthcoming winter season, would appear to be a mandatory avenue of potential funding for the prospective investors to pursue. Forming a cornerstone to the MEPT-endorsed state aid was the recognition within the ministry of the multifaceted importance of Kanin to the northwestern frontier region of Slovenia and its ability to attract patronage from both sides of the border, and beyond. There is though nowhere more highly regarded within Slovenia than Bohinj, surely placing it in a strong position to not only receive state recognition of the plight afflicting its tourism sector but also a firm financial commitment to assist the earnest and sincere efforts of the likes of Trampuz and Taslidze to breathe new life into many of the vital component parts of the area. The time for tacit agreement and lip service from the highest echelons has ended. Two proven entrepreneurs have blinked first – it is now time to for the Slovenian government to assist them.
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