One of the most beautiful beaches on our Black Sea coast – the one in the resort of Kamchia, is drowning in misery and looks like an abandoned place, despite its beautiful natural features. It is part of the longest beach strip in the country, which reaches to the village of Kam Kamchatka. Shkorpilovtsi. There are no lifeguards there, although the sea is often very rough and dangerous. For years there have been no toilets, showers, parking, shops. There are also no hotels. There are only bungalows left – summer recreation bases for factories and offices, most of which are in a miserable state. Except, of course, the Russian complex “Kamchia”, which closed its doors and is sinking into oblivion.
The dissatisfied municipality
The state’s idea of managing beaches is to give them on concession without taking any extra care, said the former mayor of Avren, Emmanuil Manolov. Small municipalities accept this kind of beaches as a burden. “We get mostly the costs and, in case there is a concessionaire, some revenue. If there isn’t, which is the case with Kamchia – we give thousands for cleaning and deal daily with pushy tourists who don’t follow the rules,” Manolov says.
There has been no one willing to manage the longest beach in the country for years. Dividing it into four smaller parts doesn’t help either. The experts’ explanation is that because of the wide beach, the maintenance (providing lifeguards, a health post, regular cleaning) costs more than the potential revenue. And therefore there is no economic interest.
Over the years Kamchia has become the nearest free beach for the people of Varna and the nearby villages. After the closure of the Kamchia resort there is no business life in the complex and this is one of the reasons why there are no people willing to open a restaurant or a retail outlet.
The lack of control
The beach is gradually becoming a destination for wild camping. However, the lack of rules and regulations in this direction threatens the protection of the dunes and the protected area. The restrictive pegs of the municipal administration fail to stop all vehicles from accessing the sand. And most campers park directly on the beach. It is also unclear what sanitary facilities they use in the absence of regulated ones.
The mayor’s administration assures that they regularly carry out inspections during the season together with the police, but without a regulation their hands are tied. A strict regulation on the terms and conditions of so-called wild camping could bring order to the summering on the beautiful coast where the sea and the Kamchia river meet.
The lack of regulation
The saga of defining the conditions for wild camping is a long one with no end in sight. The regulatory document is at the stage of setting up a second inter-ministerial working group to prepare the draft on the definition of places for temporary pitching of tents, campers and caravans outside the territory of sea beaches, sand dunes and categorised campsites.
The first group was set up back in February 2020, but three years later it turns out to be focused on regulating conditions along the Black Sea coast and not inland. Thus, in a roundtable held in the National Assembly, it was closed down and a new group was appointed, which is expected to solve the problem, the ministry’s press office told EcoVarna.
Until then, the squabbles between mayors, police officers and free camping tourists will continue.
The unrealised opportunities
Tourism experts believe that the vicious circle should be cut – no concessionaire, no tourists. Years ago there were several campsites in Kamchia, it was full of lovers of this kind of tourism from Poland, Czech Republic, East Germany. We need to think in this direction, to create a quality product that will bring back tourists from these and other countries. Then the beach will be put in the right shape, said prof. Stoyan Marinov from Varna Tourist Chamber.
The Avren Municipality has made representations for the land of the former subdivision, which is located at the beginning of the complex, to be re-acquired from state to municipal ownership. The idea is to make it a buffer parking lot and inside, in the protected area, to enter only with solar carts. European funding would be sought for this purpose.
A way would have to be found to attract visitors, to fill the beach so that businesses would be interested in investing. If there are no people, there is no way to create attractive conditions for use, locals believe.