Veliko Tarnovo District is part of the North Central Planning Region, one of the 6 planning and targeted regions in the Republic of Bulgaria according to the Regional Development Act, based on their geographic location, their economic development, population size and prospects for development. The area is actively working to overcome internal and interregional disparities in the region and accelerate the process of social and economic engagement of the North Central Planning Region with the regions of the European Union. The development of Veliko Tarnovo region aims to achieve dynamic, sustainable and balanced economic development by providing equal opportunities for development of all areas of the economy, higher living standard and approximation to the standards of the regions of the European Union.
The advantages of the region expressed in:
- the favorable geographical and transport situation,
- excellent information and communication infrastructure,
- highly qualified workforce,
- diversity in economic sectors,
- sound corporate and financial policies,
- growing interest in investing by foreign entrepreneurs,
- good institutional structure
and the active participation of all stakeholders – municipalities, businesses, non-governmental organizations are a good prerequisite for attracting new investments and achieving accelerated and sustainable economic development. They can be achieved through cooperation with central government structures. Investments, in turn, will provide a guarantee for raising the level and socio-economic development of the area, and achieving a higher living standard and bringing regional standards closer to those of the European Union.
The economy of the area is characterized by multi-sectoral and traditional production. Improving the business climate and achieving greater flexibility for the companies in the field, which strive to meet the high European and international quality of production requirements, determine the stability and sustainability of economic development over the last few years.
Industry is a major structuring sector for the local economy with a leading role in a number of indicators. The structure of the industry is varied, which is a good prerequisite for economic growth through cooperation and consolidation of the cross-sectoral links of the sectors inside and outside the region.
In the structure of the economy, the following subsectors “Trade and repair activities” with 38.03%, “Manufacturing” by 33.05% and “Transport, communications and electricity and gas distribution” have the largest contribution to net sales revenues. Of the municipalities on the territory of Veliko Tarnovo district, the largest share of the realized net revenues was provided by the Municipality of Veliko Tarnovo – 46.87% in 2005, followed by the other two large municipalities – Gorna Oryahovitsa (22.42%) and Svishtov (10, 69%).
As part of the national trend, the processes of privatization and ownership restructuring have led to a diminishing of the business and the prevalence of small and medium-sized enterprises in the area. They represent 99.37% of the total number of companies. Active business activity developed by 8545 companies (data from 2005). 63 companies certified ISO 9001 currently operate on the territory of the region, with 13 companies, machinery and equipment being the most active in the sphere of food, beverages and tobacco – 12 companies. ISO 9001 is an important tool for companies to help them demonstrate to their customers, especially in foreign markets, that they are capable of producing in line with international requirements. There are 6 certified organizations in the field of public administration in the area. District Administration Veliko Tarnovo is one of the first administrations in the country, which received a certificate under the ISO 9001: 2000 quality system.
Almost half of the active companies in the field – 48.65% – are in the “Trade and repair” sub-sector. The processing industry accounts for 11.71% of the companies. In recent years, real estate, renting and business services have grown, with 734 companies (8.6% of the total number of companies in the area) and realized 1.5% of the net sales revenue.
The structural changes in the economy and the establishment of market relations have a positive influence on the investment activity of the economic entities in the area. Over the past few years, investments in the sectors of trade and repair, manufacturing, transport and communications, as well as electricity, gas and water have been the most. Fundamentally the funds are aimed at acquiring fixed assets – machinery, equipment and vehicles, land, buildings and construction facilities. About 85% of all investments are realized in the municipalities of Veliko Tarnovo, Gorna Oryahovitsa, Svishtov and Elena. Large foreign investors and chains in the face of “E-ON”, “Praktiker”, “Technomarket Europe”, “SBA”, Mall Veliko Tarnovo and others have long been established on the territory of the region. Enhanced business environment is an important factor in attracting foreign investment. In 2005 out of the total amount of foreign direct investment, the highest share was in the USA, Germany and the Czech Republic. Investments are emerging as the most dynamic factor influencing economic growth and regional competitiveness.
The highest number of employees is observed in the manufacturing industry. They represent 34.21% of the total number of employees in the area for 2005. Next, 12.66% is followed by “Trade and repair”, followed by “Transport and Communications” with 7.82% of employees. The overall structure of the employees with the largest share is Veliko Tarnovo Municipality (41,09% of the employees), followed by Gorna Oryahovitsa and Svishtov. The smallest number of employees is in the small municipalities – Zlataritsa and Suhindol.
Agriculture is one of the priority sectors with a traditionally important place for the economy, both at national and regional level. Crop production as a major sub-sector is widely used in our field, and this has a beneficial impact on the other component of this branch – livestock breeding. The farmable land of the area is one of the riches that should be carefully preserved and purposefully used for future development. Characteristic of arable land is its exceptional variety and high quality.
The land managed in the area is 2 997 084 decares, of which 2.6 million decares represent arable land, which accounts for 5.5% of the country’s arable land. Undoubtedly, the largest share of arable land occupy grain and technical crops. Good opportunities for development are the cultivation of perennial, fruit and vine plantations, as well as vegetable growing. The cultivation of herbs, essential oils and mushrooms for which there are exceptionally favorable conditions is another challenge for local farmers, which is being established and developed in our area.
The predominant way of raising livestock is in the private farms, but the farming method of livestock farming is also necessary. With Bulgaria’s accession to the EU, agriculture is committed to promoting and stimulating organic farming. The application of this type of agriculture in our area will lead to the realization and achievement of one of the priority goals set in the strategy of Veliko Tarnovo District and will contribute to achieving competitiveness, intensification, sustainability and self-image of agriculture. To preserve nature and biodiversity, part of the area’s territory is to be included in the Natura 2000 Network of Protected Areas in Europe.
Veliko Tarnovo region offers excellent opportunities for tourism: remarkable natural resources; historical and cultural monuments and museums; unique architectural sites; many monasteries; whimsical relief; temperate climate; ecologically clean areas; mineral springs, hunting grounds. There are over 140 cultural monuments of national importance, which are 15% of all in the country. 67% of them are located in the municipality of Veliko Tarnovo. The administrative center Veliko Tarnovo was the capital of the medieval Bulgarian state. Memories from that time are the fortresses Tsarevets and Trapezitsa, the majesty of which is underlined by the unique on the Balkan Peninsula audiovisual performance “Tsarevgrad Turnov – sound and light”. The two international folklore festivals, held in May and July each year, gather in Veliko Tarnovo musicians, singers and dancers from all over the world. The preserved environment, as well as the ecologically clean agricultural production, enable the development of one of the most attractive forms of tourism in our country “rural tourism” and “ecotourism”.
In the regional center there are also modern conditions for conferences, seminars and congresses. The Forest Fund, located in the mountainous and hilly area of the area, has preserved a wide variety of game. This combination of forests and wildlife in turn creates conditions for the development of hunting tourism that has good traditions in the area. The few wine-growing centers in the region (Lyaskovets, Suhindol, Karayen) attract the supporters of the so-called ” “Wine” tourism. In the town of Lyaskovets, a Museum of Horticulture and Viticulture was established, where an authentic wine tasting of wines from wine cellars in the region is offered.