Minister Angelkova: Joint roundtable on tourist flow promotion to be organized with participation of representatives of India’s largest tourist industry companies

23 November 2015

One of the most respected Indian cinema chains, Grand Cinemas, to show a promotional video clip of Bulgaria

In 2016 Bulgaria will host a roundtable to identify measures for promoting the tourist flow with India with the participation of representatives of some of the largest Indian companies in the field of tourism. This was agreed at a meeting between the Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria Nikolina Angelkova and the State Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of India Mahesh Sharma, held earlier today in New Delhi. Minister Angelkova is the first minister of tourism with whom her Indian counterpart meets after his inauguration in May this year. During the conversation, Minister Sharma expressed his desire to personally attend the upcoming business forum. Both ministers supported the idea of organizing Days of Bulgaria in India and Days of India in our country, which is also a good way of bringing the two peoples closer and to promote the opportunities for bilateral tourism.

The two ministers discussed the need for a new agreement for bilateral cooperation with concrete steps to boost tourism. “Undoubtedly, India is one of the most promising distant markets for us and we are keen to deepen the ties between our two countries”, Nikolina Angelkova stressed. Minister Sharma noted that the focus of future cooperation between the two countries could be the opening of a direct airline to connect Sofia with Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Amritsar and become a prerequisite for a major breakthrough in the Indian tourist market. Thus, Bulgaria can become an aviation hub from which tourists can easily reach other destinations in Western Europe or the United States, for example. Minister Angelkova pointed out that Bulgaria is in the process of examining the experience of other countries in the field of outsourcing visa centers to issue tourist visas to Indian citizens. “Thus our country will become more easily accessible to Indian tourists and the number of trips will significantly increase”, said Minister Angelkova.

Later the same day, the Bulgarian minister participated in a forum to promote tourist flows between the two countries and investment in tourism, organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI), which brings together the largest representatives of Indian business. Over 100 companies participated in the forum organized in cooperation with the Embassy of Bulgaria in India and our commercial representation in Delhi. Minister Angelkova presented before the FICCI leadership and the Federation President Jyotsna Suri the idea to organize a joint roundtable in Bulgaria. The proposal was accepted with interest and many representatives of the Indian tourism industry expressed their willingness to participate in the upcoming discussion.

The Bulgarian minister said that the Ministry of Tourism is in the process of developing an investment map of Bulgaria and that the newly established governmental department aims to become a one-stop-shop for large investors to ensure maximum ease of administrative procedures related to the implementation of large investment projects. Jyotsna Suri noted that the opening of Bulgaria’s tourist information centers in Delhi and Mumbai, the implementation of which is underway, will increase the interest of Indian tourists to our country.

During the roundtable in 2016, a guided tour to some of the biggest tourist attractions in the country will be organized for the official guests and the invited Indian media. “We plan to organize such events for all important markets and the first roundtable with Russia is already a fact. For us it is very important to show the Indian business what Bulgaria has to offer and I am sure that if we deepen our cooperation serious results will be soon to follow”, said Nikolina Angelkova. She made a presentation on the opportunities for tourism that our country offers and invited all participants in the forum to visit Bulgaria as tourists.

The promotional video of Bulgaria, featuring personal impressions of five Hollywood actors from their stay in our country, was shown at the forum in Delhi. The top Bollywood producer, Ramji Natarajan, who appeared in film productions together with three of the biggest names of Indian cinema - Shahrukh Khan, Ajay Devgan and Kajol, noted that another 10 Bollywood movies will be shot in Bulgaria. The trailer for the latest film of Bollywood legend Shahrukh Khan, Dilwale, which was filmed in Bulgaria this summer, has generated 30 million views in Facebook. The image clip for Bulgaria will be shown during the film premiere in the theaters of Grand Cinemas, scheduled for December. This is what the Bulgarian minister stated after her meeting with the executive director of one of the world's largest cinema chains, Amitabh Verde. The promotional video of our country will be projected in all other Grand Cinemas theaters around the world, including the USA, China, Canada and Romania. Thus the film industry and Bollywood in particular will become an effective tool for promotion of Bulgaria as a world tourist destination, Minister Angelkova said.

Bulgarian Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova is on a working visit to India. The program of the visit includes meetings in the cities of Delhi and Mumbai. During her stay in Delhi, Minister Angelkova will meet with the presidents of Indian tourism associations such as IATO, OTOAI, TAFI, TAAI, to present the opportunities for tourism in Bulgaria. She will also hold talks with the leadership of Dusit Dewarana City Resort, one of the prestigious high category hotels in the Indian capital city, and will meet with representatives of the BIRD Group, India, one of the biggest corporations in the field of hospitality and aviation services.

In Mumbai Minister Angelkova will meet with the leadership of the global company Tata Sons Ltd. She will hold talks with representatives of one of the most powerful Indian corporations, Mahindra, which operates in more than 20 key industries, has a presence in over 100 countries worldwide and has a turnover of US 16.9 billion. The program of the visit includes also a “This is Bulgaria” presentation in the premises of the honorary consulate of our country. Meetings are planned to take place with representatives of the State government, the tourism and the film industry with whom to discuss ideas for promoting destinations via film tourism. The interest to the visit of the Bulgarian Minister in India is enormous, with interviews already requested by some of the most popular Indian media, including CNN IBN Live.

India is a market with a population of 1.2 billion people and our country has a real chance to expand its positions there. Last year some of the biggest Indian film stars - Ajay Devgan, Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, were in Bulgaria to shoot their movies, which has boosted the interest in our country. Statistics also proves increased interest - the number of Indian tourists who visited Bulgaria in 2014 is over 8,400 which is nearly 60% more as compared to the previous year. This suggests an interest to Bulgaria and perspective for further upgrade. Indian tourists are primarily interested in our historic sites, spa services, shopping and city tours.

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