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Kosovo Hopes Tourism Will Follow Political Stability

Thursday, Feb. 8, 2007

PRISTINA, Kosovo -- Standing in front of an aerial photograph of Kosovo's biggest ski resort, Kirk Adams gets visibly excited. "You'll get half a meter of powder here" -- he points to a ridge on the mountain -- "and you have it all to yourself. You're skiing fresh tracks all day." The resort, which Adams frequents, is a former Yugoslav ski area in a remote town called Brezovica. The whole complex is slipping into disrepair. Only one of nine lifts is functional. The two hotels are shabby, functional at best. "As a resort it's a nightmare," Adams concedes. "But it has extraordinary potential."

Adams is the director of privatization of the Kosovo Trust Agency (KTA), the authority charged with managing and divesting Kosovo's socially owned properties, the remnants of its communist past. This means it's his job to sell the Brezovica resort, and more generally to sell the idea of tourism in a place most Westerners would never think of visiting. Needless to say, this has been a tricky task. But there may be light at the end of the tunnel. With the U.N.'s Feb. 2 compromise plan making some sort of conditional independence for Kosovo seem all the more likely, the push to launch a tourism industry is gaining traction, however odd the project might seem. ...

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