Minister Angelkova met with investors and representatives of the tourism business in Saudi Arabia

09 October 2018

The host of the talks in Riyadh was Dr. Saud Al-Mashari, Secretary General of the Council of Saudi Chambers

Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova met with investors from Saudi Arabia and representatives of the National Tourism Commission. The host of the discussion in Riyadh was Dr. Saud Al-Mashari, Secretary General of the Council of Saudi Chambers.

The Bulgarian Minister is on a working visit in the country at the invitation of His Royal Highness Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud - Prince of the Kingdom and chairman of the State Commission for Tourism and National Heritage. The delegation also includes representatives of the Bulgarian tourism business.

Bulgaria is a competitive place for foreign investment because it offers a favorable tax environment and promotes such projects through its legislation. We have government incentives, social security, we have highly educated experts and a skilled workforce, Minister Angelkova stated.

She stressed that tourism is a priority sector for the Bulgarian government and is among the structurally determining branches of the economy. Thanks to the support of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, an independent Ministry of Tourism was established, said Minister Angelkova, and added that the sector is developing steadily and has record results in its history over the past three years. Nearly 7 million foreign tourists chose Bulgaria as a destination for the first eight months of 2018, an increase of almost 6% compared to the same period of the previous year. Over 2 billion euros are the revenues from international tourism in Bulgaria for the first seven months of this year - over 8% more than in those months of 2017.

The Minister also noted the growth of tourists between the two countries achieved during the last two years. In 2017, 1,143 tourists from Saudi Arabia visited Bulgaria. For the first 8 months of 2018, they were already 946, which is a growth of 13.4% compared to the same period last year. Also in 2017, 267 Bulgarians traveled to the Arab country as a final destination, and this is 13.1% more than in 2016.

Minister Angelkova presented to Saudi businesses the Map of Investment Projects in Bulgaria, created by the Ministry of Tourism and including mostly municipal projects with the possibility of public-private partnerships. They have an investment range between $ 500,000 and $ 200 million and include ideas for building spa centers in different municipalities. Investments in the construction of luxury 4- and 5-star hotels to which Saudi Arabia has a marked interest are an important prerequisite for attracting high-class tourists. This makes the destination competitive and sought after by many foreign guests, the Minister stressed.

She also noted that Bulgaria is among the richest countries in Europe by number of artifacts, and pointed out that since its establishment, the tourism administration has supported businesses in their efforts to make the country a year-round destination. The Ministry promotes the realization of employees in tourism through its partnership with leading universities such as Sofia University and UNWE, the Bulgarian Minister stressed. Among the main priorities of the government is the development of infrastructure, which also attracts a lot of investment.


Another important focus in our work is the development of specialized tourism. We have established 8 cultural and historical destinations, and 12 culinary and 7 thermal and spa destinations are in the process of finalizing, covering the territory of the country and stimulating the year-round influx of tourists along these routes, Minister Angelkova explained. She also pointed out that more than 1,800 events enjoying a great interest among tourists are included in the Tourist Festivals and Events Registry maintained by the Ministry. Bulgaria is among the leading countries in Europe by mineral water sources. That is why there is a great potential for bilateral cooperation in the modernization of existing rehabilitation centers and the creation of new ones, including on the basis of mineral resources, her words indicated.

The Secretary General of the Council of Saudi Chambers, Dr. Saud Al-Mashari, congratulated our country for its achievements in tourism and economic spheres, stressing that the interest in partnerships with Bulgarian entrepreneurs is increasing among Saudi Arabian business circles. The hosts pointed out that for them, Bulgaria is a country with dynamic economic development, in which they see potential for attracting many investments. Such projects are possible in hospitality, food industry, investments in rehabilitation and treatment centers for spa services, etc.


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