Minister Angelkova opens the Vacation & Spa Expo international tourism exposition

14 February 2018

Minister Angelkova opened the 35th edition of the largest tourism exposition in Bulgaria – the Vacation & Spa Expo international tourism exchange. The forum was held between February 14 – 16, 2018 in the Inter Expo Centre in Sofia, under the aegis of the Ministry of Tourism and in partnership with Sofia Municipality and the industry organizations. Each year the exposition attracts over 350 companies and more than 20 000 professionals and visitors, while last year it registered a 9% growth in visitors.

The exchange is a part of the events organized by the Ministry of Tourism during Bulgaria’s presidency of the EU Council, which undoubtedly is notable recognition of its significance. A day before, the Tourism and Economic Growth informal meeting of the EU tourism ministers was held, being the first of its kind. Discussion led to the shared desire to jointly support the development of tourism, which is a crucial driver of sustainable economic growth in the EU. Its share in the Union’s GDP is nearly 10 per cent, while it has a 12% share of all European jobs. In Bulgaria the industry generates some 13% of the country’s GDP, emphasized the minister.

She announced that the sector ranks among the three most important economic sectors in terms of these indicators. In 2017 international tourist travel in Europe exceeded 670 mil., with more than 8 per cent growth being registered, according to stats of the European Tourism Commission.

Minister Angelkova stated her conviction that these up-to-date topics will also be discussed during the exchange. Bulgaria has a lot to show for during the 3-day forum because it is working hard to upgrade its image as an attractive European destination. This is also evidenced by stats. The total number of international tourism visits in our country in 2017 are nearly 8.9 mil., registering a 7 per cent growth compared to 2016, while over 61% of the visits are by EU nationals. International tourism revenues have grown by over 9% for the January-November period of 2017 compared to the same period of 2016, exceeding BGN 6.6 bil. in absolute terms.

Positive results are not possible without application of innovations and state-of-the-art technology. Therefore, we planned as a special highlight in the exchange’s agenda tomorrow’s international roundtable entitled Digital Transformation in Tourism also here, at Inter Expo Centre, and it is also part of the calendar of Bulgaria’s presidency of the EU Council, Minister Angelkova said further. She emphasized in this context that for the first time ever the traditional annual awards of Vacation & Spa Expo envisage a recognition for the best innovative project implemented in tourism.

The Minister invited the guests to visit the Ministry-organized Bulgarian stand, which spans an area of 150 sq. m. and reveals our country’s potential as an attractive year-round destination. Participating as co-exhibitors are over 20 municipalities, tourism chambers, culture centres, museums, regional associations, specialized clusters, and various associations.

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