Our continuous efforts have been highly appreciated by environmental NGOs and private companies who develop their own donor’s policy. In 2008 the Bulgarian Donors Forum awarded Odysseia-In for the third consecutive time with “The Most Generous Company” award (2006-7-8).
Pirin National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of our favourite national treasures. The area we have chosen to work with was severely damaged by a large forest fire in 2003. The fire burned 70 hectares of old growth forest - predominantly pines (Pinus heldreichii, Pinus peuce Grieseb and Pinus nigra). The first two are endemic species existing only on the Balkan Peninsula, and are in danger of extinction. The 2003 fire cut their population significantly. One of the primary footpaths in the park ran through this section of forest and cannot be used now. No authority has attempted to change this extremely bad situation - for the environment, for the park, and for the local people. For this reason, Odysseia-In decided to start the first ever reforestation project in Pirin Mountains National Park.
In September 2008 we launched a campaign for donation of 3 to 6 Euro per customer (who books a tour with us) for the Coalition “Let Nature Remain in Bulgaria”. Our appeal already received understanding in several tour operators from Spain, France, England, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. They all are happy to donate funds for nature conservation and public awareness in Bulgaria.
We believe that this campaign is very important and it can create a good marketing tool to achieve a very successful Destination Bulgaria in 2009 and the years after. We hope that the positive change in Bulgaria’s green policy is possible and in this way we want to involve more Bulgarians to feel part of it.
Odysseia-In shares the responsibility for protection of Bulgaria’s unique cultural and natural heritage by setting an example of successful and sustainable tourism through our work, and also by supporting and running projects to give back to our environment, and our communities.
Saint Nicholas Monastery, a medieval monastery on the southern slopes of the Balkan Mountains near the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, was once part of the Sofia Holy Mountain network of Monasteries. The church is the only building left standing there. It contains invaluable murals from the early 17th century including some of great importance as unique examples of art from the period. Sadly, the condition of the murals is deteriorating.
In spring 2004, Odysseia-In organised a meeting of experts and a decision was taken to evaluate the importance of the murals of the church in Saint Nicolas Monastery, whether they can be restored, and an estimate of the cost. The evaluation is now completed, and plans for the project implementation are underway. We have taken steps to encourage different institutions to take part in and support this project, and we are seeking additional financing for the project.