Devin cluster – Bulgaria

Vision & objectives

The idea that unites all of the participating SMEs to join the cluster is their desire to increase the number of tourist in the region and their firm belief that being an „eco-destination will contribute to this increase. Most of the participants in the cluster see implementation of environmental management with EMAS as a tool to reach this objective. Another driving force for some of the companies is the internal understanding of their owners or managers that we are all responsible for the nature protection. Some of the big hotels highly estimated the future benefits which implementing an environmental management system will bring in their hotels like decreasing the maintenance cost and reducing the use of resources.

Funding

SMEs have to pay their verification and registration fees

April 2010 – May 2011

Stakeholders

There are several important stakeholders in the region:

  • Municipality of Devin
  • SPA resort and luxury hotels (4 in the city, and 3 of them are part of the cluster)
  • Hotels and guest houses (1 hotel is part of the cluster)
  • Mineral water Devin, bottling company
  • Biokeis shop for organic products
  • Hunter Fisherman Association
  • Farmers

The coach

Time Foundation

In the MOVE-IT project, Time Foundation was responsible for the coaching of 2 clusters in Bulgarian, adapting the cluster toolkit to Bulgarian and the organisation of trainings for tourism agents in Bulgaria.

The region

Description

The city of Devin is situated in the heart of the Rhodope Mountain in the south central part of Bulgaria. The municipality of Devin is covering 575 sq. km. Devin is a popular tourist destination.
There is an abundance of hot springs (where the temperature varies from 16º to 76 ºС) and hence spa resorts in the area. The region was known in antiquity for the healing properties of its mineral springs. The waters have been claimed to treat and heal a variety of maladies.
There are two popular brands of mineral water that are bottled in the region – one is being sold under the name Devin and the other one under the name Myhalkovo (a village in the vicinity).
The situation of Devin offers access to nearby gorges, rock formations, caves, forests, natural reserves with protected and endemic species, and most of all, clean air, as the altitude of the city is 710 m. Devin's climate is described as having mild winters, cool summers with prolonged spells of sunny days. The air is pleasantly cool and crisp and humidity is normal. Devin is protected from cold and violent westerly and northwesterly winds due to the ridges that surround the town.
Around 13 000 people are leaving in the Devin municipality (the city and 15 villages), of them almost 7 000 are living in the city of Devin.

Policies

The strategy of the municipality of Devin for the region's development is the only official document facing the problems and future opportunities for Devin.
Some of the main problems in the field of environment are:
Water – 20% of the water supply network is still uncompleted, 53% losses of water supply network.
Sewerage network – in most of the places of the region there is a sewerage network but there is no waste water treatment plant on the territory of the region.

Boundaries and Certifications

SMEs implement an environmental management system with EMAS. If price is not right, only those willing to pay are going to obtain certification. The rest will share common objectives, and implement light environmental management systems, without certification.