In August 2008, TMR asked the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic to approve the exchange of land pursuant to the Act on Nature and Landscape Protection. TMR offered approx. 320 ha of their land in the 5th level of protection in the cadastre of Starý Smokovec worth 470,000 EUR (expert´s opinion) to be exchanged for approx. 320 ha of state owned land in the third to fifth level of protection at Tatranská Lomnica worth 400,000 EUR (expert´s opinion). TMR also offered an economic forest at Medzevo (366 ha) worth more than 2,700,000 EUR (expert´s opinion) to be exchanged for 366 ha of state owned land worth more than 1,300,000 EUR (expert´s opinion). They offered to donate 70 ha of land in the area of Slavkovský štít (peak) in the 5th level of protection as a compensation for protected lands in the area of Mt. Chopok (in form of a deed of gift). The state land in the High Tatras is managed by the State Forests of the Tatra National Park and the state land in the Low Tatras by the Forests of the Slovak Republic. TMR has been running ski resorts in both mentioned areas for several years.
The proposed exchange would help the state own lands without any tourism facilities, almost untouched by human activities, including biotopes of European importance. The state would thus get the most precious lands, which is confirmed by an expert´s opinion as well.”This exchange aims to settle the land under TMR investments transparently. TMR, the largest investor in the field of tourism in Slovakia, doesn´t want the state to do any favour for free, which is the case of other foreign investors. TMR offers an open and transparent process although the amount of investments and new jobs generated by TMR during the past 5 years is incomparable to any foreign car factory in Slovakia,“ said Bohuš Hlavatý, Chairman of the Board of TMR.
Lands at Starý Smokovec were bought by TMR so they could be exchanged for lands where TMR cableways are located. The previous owner had offered them to the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic at first, pursuant to § 63 Act on Nature and Landscape Protection. The Ministry had turned the offer down.
The former Minister of Agriculture of the Slovak Republic, Vladimír Chovan, approved the exchange on behalf of the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic, with the main reason and motif to solve the zoning of the High Tatras and unify protected areas in the High Tatras. “We don´t refuse to be controlled by the public or any non-governmental organisations within this process. We have talked to environmental organisations that support this process too. We aim to create an economically stable environment for the development of our company and enable the state to protect areas designed for this purpose at the same time. I can hardly imagine any foreign investor make a significant investment in Slovakia without having a certain relationship to the land under the investments,“ stressed Igor Rattaj, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of TMR.
The whole process of land exchange falls within the competence of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Slovak Republic while TMR has to meet conditions pursuant to the Act on Forests. They also offered a financial compensation of three yearly rents paid to the Ministry of Agriculture for the respective lands. Today the lands are rented from administrators of state property via lease contracts, which complicates the whole construction process and reconstruction of the infrastructure in the High and Low Tatras. “The first significant change of this kind was implemented at Veľká Rača already 6 years ago, when the state got an economic forest exchanged for ski slopes. It would be good if the government gave a signal to Slovak investors and proved that they don´t want to favour foreign investors only,“ added Roman Weck, one of TMR shareholders.
Social – economic indicators affecting the exchange of land include the fact that TMR, leader in the field of tourism in Slovakia, employs 989 people in regions and other 4,000 people in the secondary sector. At the end of the year 2012, the amount of TMR investments reached the sum of 144 million EUR and more than 40 million EUR are planned for the year 2013.
Tatry mountain resorts, a.s. is a top subject in the field of tourism in Central and Easter Europe, which itself or via subsidiaries owns and operates attractive ski resorts and hotels in the area of the Low and High Tatras. These include the resort Jasná Low Tatras and the following hotels: Wellness hotel Grand Jasná, Tri studničky and Chalets Záhradky De Luxe. In the High Tatras, TMR owns and operates resorts Tatranská Lomnica, Starý Smokovec and the following hotels: Grandhotel Praha Tatranská Lomnica, Grandhotel Starý Smokovec, Hotel Slovakia and hotel FIS Štrbské Pleso. TMR also co‐operates the resort Štrbské Pleso and since the winter season 2012/2013 it has been leasing the mountain resort Špindlerův Mlýn in the Czech Republic in cooperation with SMMR, a.s.. TMR owns Tatralandia, the largest Slovak aquapark with all-year operation, which offers a lot of water and other entertainment in the Fun Park relax or in a special tropical hall with sea water. It also offers accommodation in bungalows and suites of the Holiday Village Tatralandia. TMR also owns and rents hotels Kosodrevina, Liptov and Ski&Fun Záhradky and Bungalows. More than 144 million Euros were invested by the end of 2012 in the already mentioned resorts, which helps increase the standard and visitor turnout in the Tatras. The TMR shares have been traded on three European stock exchanges – in Bratislava, Prague and Warsaw since 2012.