Minister Angelkova at the Investment Forum in Sunny Beach: Through Business Tourism Bulgaria can attract investor interest in Southeastern Europe

31 May 2019

The country is consistently facilitating the business, we are working to attract global tourism brands to the region


It is important for all of us to show the prospects for investing in tourism in Central and Southeastern Europe and in the Mediterranean region, but also to provide a platform where business representatives, global hotel chains, investment funds, banks, social media, universities, local authorities to establish contacts, communicate with each other and thus to attract interest in Bulgaria and the region. This was stated by the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova at the opening of the International Conference on Sustainable Investment in Tourism in Sunny Beach with the participation of experts from more than 20 countries.

The event was attended by the Minister of Tourism and Crafts of Algeria Abdelkader Benmessaoud, the Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mirko Sarovic, the Minister of Tourism of Egypt Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Michael Christides, leading representatives of the tourism and related industries from different countries. Moderator of the ministry panel Tourism in Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean was BBC journalist Rajan Datar.

We launch the forum in the biggest Bulgarian resort complex in the year of its 60th anniversary to show its opportunities for business partnership. Today's conference will create not only good professional relationships, but also lasting friendships through which we will be able to realize specific initiatives, said Minister Angelkova.

She stressed the efforts of the tourist administration to draw attention to other major Black Sea resorts in the country such as Golden Sands, Albena, Dunes, but also to our winter resorts with their potential for various conference events. All of them would successfully contribute to the achievement of our main goal - making Bulgaria a year-round tourist destination and expanding the wings of the seasons, stressed the Minister.

Minister Angelkova noted that tourism was raised by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and the government among the priority sectors of the national economy. The branch and its related industries contribute to the formation of nearly 12% of gross domestic product and about 11 percent of total employment. Revenues from international tourism in 2018 in Bulgaria amount to over 3.7 billion euros. Over the past three years, the industry has been delivering record-breaking results throughout its history. For 2018 over 9.2 million foreign tourist visits were registered and the border of 9 million such visits was crossed for the first time.

Tourism in Southeastern Europe is also developing at a rapid pace, with the region welcoming over 120 million tourists in 2018, with tourism revenues amounting to over $ 100 billion, said Minister Angelkova. In essence, this represents 11.7% of total Gross Domestic Product for Southeast European countries. The huge potential of the tourism industry in this part of the world provides new opportunities for investment in business projects in tourism and travel, acting as an important driver of economic growth, development model and higher employment throughout the region.

Bulgaria can offer many years of experience in the field of summer sea and winter mountain skiing. For us, they are a major source of revenue for the industry. In order to develop the potential of a year-round tourist destination, we have focused our efforts in promoting our cultural and historical heritage, combined with balne- and spa tourism. Through the development of common tourism products between the countries, we give an excellent example of how we can find the desired synergy in tourism regionally, explained Minister Angelkova, and presented the good base on which our country steps - the most favorable tax regime in Europe and legal incentives for big investments.

The country is making efforts to facilitate business, there are incentives for the regions as well. We also want to attract the big brands and we already have the confidence of Marriott that they will expand their presence in Sofia, we hope this will happen on the Black Sea as well, it became clear from her words. Bulgaria is among the three countries in Europe together with Italy and Greece in the number of discovered artifacts from at least 7 epochs. Our country is also second in the Old Continent after Iceland in mineral water reserves and resources, suitable for the treatment and prevention of almost all medical complaints. The Ministry of Tourism has developed a total of 27 thematic destinations for the territory of the country - 8 cultural-historical, 12 wine-culinary and 7 balneo- and SPA facilities, said Minister Angelkova.

Egyptian Minister Dr Rania Al-Mashat said from the tribune that tourism is an important sector that has an impact on the economy of all countries. We are working hard to invest more in developing its capacity and qualification of people working in the sector. We will discuss at the intergovernmental level the possibilities for initiatives in this direction, she said.

Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization to the United Nations in 2009-2017 addressed the conference live. He appreciated the idea of convening the forum and wished successful implementation of the ideas discussed and future projects investments.

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