Deputy Minister Georgieva opened a conference-debate on the future of rural areas and the role of tourism for sustainable development, organized by the French Embassy

24 November 2015

On Monday (23 November), the Deputy Minister of Tourism Irena Georgieva opened a forum on “What is the future of rural areas in terms of climate change? Tourism and valorisation of local products as solutions for sustainable development.”, initiated by the French Embassy.


“Tourism is an important sector of the national economy”, said Deputy Minister Georgieva. She added that globally the sector was of structural significance and according to the World Council for Tourism and Travel it formed nearly 10% of the global gross product. She said that the number of people employed in tourism was above 270 million, or one in every 11 jobs worldwide in the field of tourism products and services. “The total contribution of the tourism industry and its related activities in the GDP of Bulgaria for 2014 was just over 13%, and the revenues amounted to over 6 billion BGN”, informed Deputy Minister Georgieva.

She noted that our country was rich in opportunities for the development of all forms of tourism and that the major challenge facing the sector was to combine competitiveness with sustainable development, long-term planning and smart solutions. “It is therefore necessary for the destinations to adapt to the changing market and the demand for new, specialized forms of tourism”, pointed out the Deputy Minister and added that the development of alternative forms of tourism would be a winning move for Bulgaria. She said that investment in rural and ecotourism in the country was fully justified because of our remarkable sights – Bulgaria ranks second in Europe in preserving its biodiversity – we have 3 national and 11 natural parks and 89 reserves, 17 of which have been declared biospheric under a UNESCO Programme.

“We need to offer tourists authentic and meaningful experiences, to make the most of our natural and cultural resources, but we should not think of our “today”, we should think of the future – of our and our children’s future”, concluded the Deputy Minister.

The French Ambassador to Bulgaria H.E. Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes thanked the Bulgarian Deputy Minister for the readiness of the Ministry of Tourism to work for the sustainable development of the sector and said that France would be useful to our country with its positive experience in this field and its know-how.

The conference was organized within the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015. 


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