Minister Angelkova at a business forum within the framework of the „16+1“ meeting: Chinese tourists will increase at 5% each year up to 2023

07 July 2018

Chinese tourists will increase at 5.1% a year up to 2023. This demonstrates how significant that market’s potential is and how active we need to be in promoting our country’s tourism opportunities in China. Thus said the Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova, at the opening of a discussion panel on the opportunities for cooperation in tourism. The discussion forms part of the international business forum held in Sofia within the framework of the „16+1“ meeting. The event is under the aegis of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and the Chair of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang.

Some 10 mil. visitors from China travelled in Europe during 2016. Last year, Chinese tourists in Bulgaria exceeded 26 000, registering a 41.2 per cent growth compared to a year before, said Minister Angelkova. During the period of January - May 2018 Chinese tourists in our country numbered 8 234, a 4.1% growth compared to the same period of the preceding year.

Tourism is a leading driver in the development of the global economy and among the chief contributors to the GDP growth. Last year, some 500 mil. tourism visits were made in Europe, thus, tourism accounts for some 10% of the European GDP, said Minister Angelkova. Explaining that the sector provides 12% of the jobs in the country.

Last year, proceeds from international tourism in our country were nearly BGN 6.9 bill., a growth of 9.3 per cent. International tourist visits were nearly 8.9 mil., registering a 7.3% growth, the Minister said further. There are more than 27 000 firms in tourism and its associated sectors. The sector creates 13% of Bulgaria’s GDP, ranking it among the top 5 economic sectors, said Minister Angelkova.

Creation of specialized tourism products and a marketing campaign are parts of the Ministry of Tourism’s strategy to attract more Chinese tourists to Bulgaria. The Minister explained that work is being done on the creation of the so-called Balkan Route, which is specifically intended to promote the tourism opportunities in the region. It is a joint project among 11 Balkan countries, which are Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Turkey, Montenegro, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, and Republic of Macedonia. The Minister recalled that the idea for the Balkan Route was discussed and proposed during a meeting of the EU ministers responsible for tourism, which was held in February in Sofia.

It is not the first Ministry intended specifically for the Chinese market. The institution has been consistent in its efforts to promote the travel opportunities in our country, with the first Bulgarian tourism information centre having been opened in Shanghai last year. Minister Angelkova added that work is now being done on the preparations to open a centre in Beijing, as well as in other areas, such as Henan, Sichuan, and Yunnan.

The Ministry of Tourism is preparing a second International Congress of World Civilizations and Ancient Routes to be held in Sofia in November, with one of the main topics being the link between China and Europe, announced Minister Angelkova.

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