Privatization board set to privatize skiing facilities

Privatization board set to privatize skiing facilities

Ceyhun Kuburlu - ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
Privatization board set to privatize skiing facilities

The government had invested 10 million euros for fake snow machines before Winter Universiade 2011, intending to expand winter holiday duration up to two months. AA photo

The skiing facilities of Palandöken and Konaklı in the eastern province of Erzurum in Turkey, constructed to host the Inter-University Winter Games (Winter Universiade) in 2011, will be privatized, the Official Gazette said Jan. 9.

The privatization of the facilities, which cost 560 million Turkish Liras, will be undertaken via a tender that has already drawn the attention of both local and foreign investors, particularly Australians.

The official statement said the winner of the tender will have all rights to every asset in the facilities and that the privatization actions must be implemented in three years. The winner is also obligated to commit to the building of hotels, as according to officials, Palandöken has only four to five hotels while Konaklı does not have any.

Imitating France

The officials of the Privatization Administration said they planned to organize the tender in the coming days so as not to miss this winter season. They said that Olympic facilities worldwide were usually left inactive after events, and this privatization move aims to prevent that. They compared Turkey to France in the sense that while a part of each country’s national income comes from winter tourism, contrary to the French, the Turkish Tourism Ministry does not advertise winter activities in Turkey.

Turkey Ski Federation President Özer Ayık said the facilities have been managed by the provincial directorate this year, stressing that investments in the facilities should be completed immediately. He also said foreign investors and international organizations should be encouraged.

Nafiz Özak, the former Sports Minister, also highlighted that companies participating in the tender should prioritize fostering Turkish athletes in addition to the required hotel investments, noting that Turkey was still behind in the realm of winter sports.

“Erzurum became a center for winter sports and tourism, and hotel and tourism investments should consolidate it,” Özak had said during his visit to the Inter-University Winter Games in 2011. The organization of the games cost 140 million liras.