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The 72m-euro ski centre, a joint venture between Greece and Macedonia, will be located on Kozuf Mountain.

Construction of the Kozuf Ski Centre, a Macedonian-Greek joint venture that promises to become the most modern tourist centre in the Balkans, got under way last month. The 430-hectare resort should become operational by 2007, and could ultimately generate annual revenues of around 220m euros. Completing it will cost around 72m euros, to be invested over the next three years.

"This year, we will construct a part of the infrastructure and housing facilities, and we will install a ski lift for promotional usage of the ski tracks by the end of the year," says project manager Angel Nakov. "We are planning more intensified works in 2007 when we expect to make the complex operational".

The mayor of Kavadarci Municipality, where the ski centre will be located, has given his backing to the project. "I call on the government to assist the construction of the infrastructure leading to the centre, which will mean revival of the economy in Kavadarci and Gevgelija," Panco Minov said at the foundation-laying ceremony on 24 July.

Support has also come from Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski, who visited the construction site and pledged state assistance in the construction of 35km's worth of regional roads, connecting the ski centre and the motorway to Skopje through Demir Kapija and Gevgelija.

The centre, which adjoins the Greek border, will be located on Kozuf Mountain, at a height of 1,500 to 2000 metres above sea level. The project anticipates construction of 40km of ski tracks. Modern ski cables capable of transporting 13,500 people per hour are also planned, as is installation of artificial snow devices along the tracks.

Other amenities will include a five-star, 600-bed hotel, 450 four-star 180-bed suites, 750 cottages, a shopping mall, a parking lot for 1,600 vehicles, and sport facilities. On an annual basis, the investors are expecting 600,000 overnight stays, with visits by 300,000 tourists.

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