After the collapse of a massive investment plan, empty hotels patrolled by security guards have become symbols of uncertainty for the future of one of Kosovo's most picturesque ski resorts.
Kosovars once had high hopes for the development of Brezovica, a settlement in the mountainous south of Kosovo blessed with sweeping slopes and puffy snow. Today, as plans for the resort remain unclear, some of Brezovica’s largest hotels are inhabited only by security guards.
In April 2015, Pristina signed a contract with a French consortium for a massive 410 million euro investment into the rundown mountain resort of Brezovica. The project apparently stalled in 2016 when the French investors failed to front up the money needed for the first phase of development.
In January, RFE/RL’s Balkan Service visited Brezovica and found a mountain resort in limbo.
Hotel Molika was built in 1985 and stands just a short walk from the main ski slope of Brezovica.
Today, the corridors of the hotel are dark, the elevators don’t work, and the reception is unstaffed. Only security guards were working at the property when RFE/RL's Balkan Service visited.
After the French development deal collapsed in 2016, hopes for Brezovica were again raised in September 2020 when the resort town was mentioned by the U.S. International Finance and Development body.
When RFE/RL’s Balkan Service contacted the U.S. government body about Brezovica more recently, a spokesman said, "We want to emphasize that this is not currently a project we are developing."
For its part, the Kosovar government told RFE/RL that it is "in the process of drafting and finalizing a tourism strategy” in which “sites such as the Brezovica tourist complex…will be treated with special interest.”
Pristina did not provide details on what the planned "tourism strategy" would mean for Brezovica.
Adding to the woes for the mountain resort are a series of illegal constructions that have popped up in the area in recent years.
In December 2021, Kosovo police arrested 10 people, including the former mayor of the municipality that includes Brezovica, on charges of abuse of office.
The former mayor is suspected of having received up to 1 million euros for illegally issuing permits for the construction of facilities in Brezovica.