Minister Angelkova: Over 100 000 tourists visited the Rila lakes this summer

13 October 2016

Over 100 000 tourists visited the Rila lakes during the active summer season, the growth being 12%. This was announced by the Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova, in Sapareva Banya. She held a meeting with representatives of the local tourism industry and visited some of the major places of interest in the municipality. The discussion was also attended by the Sapareva Banya mayor Kalin Gelev, the District Governor of Kyustendil, Viktor Yanev, and others.

„Sapareva Banya has big potential to also develop spa, alpine and cultural tourism, with the town’s proximity to the capital city being an important premise for increasing the tourist flow“, Minister Angelkova indicated. The pulling power of the Rila lakes and other natural landmarks in the region should also be used, she made clear. „A positive trend is that an over 17% growth is reported in terms of night-stays in the region and municipalities, but single-day travel still predominates. Thus, we must make joint efforts to keep tourists longer in the area by offering them more attractions and experiences“, Nikolina Angelkova indicated further.

According to her, a key priority in her institution’s work was to introduce rules and procedures on the operation of the spa sector. An important step in that direction was the adoption of the Ordinance on the terms and procedure for certification of medical spa centre, spa centre, wellness centre, thalassic therapy centre, under the Tourism Act. It is the first such secondary legislation introducing the minimum mandatory statutory criteria to be met by such centres. This will cut the unsavoury practice of each hotel with a pool or sauna being able to decide whether to call itself a spa centre and thus fail to live up to tourist expectations.

"The certification process is under way for all medical spa and spa centres in the country according to the new rules, we have already received 107 applications from specialized facilities wishing to undergo the procedure Nikolina Angelkova added. Certification is voluntary but only facilities audited on location will be eligible to add “spa” to their name and be entered in the National Tourism Register.

Sapareva Banya is also part of the project promoting the Bulgarian EDEN destinations, with promotional materials being prepared for each of these destinations. These include videos, which are due to be finished within days and be presented at international forums and tourism exchanges, the Minister of Tourism said further.

During the same day Minister Angelkova visited the St. Nicholas medieval church, the Nativity of Holy Theotokos church in Saparevo village, and the Resilovo monastery, and held a briefing for the media in front of the hottest geyser on the Balkans, which is located in the town centre of Sapareva Banya.

Sapareva Banya municipality offers rich opportunities and choices in terms of recreation and tourism, medical tourism, alpine, cultural tourism, ecotourism, and winter sports The transport connection and geographical location are also very favourable for their development. The municipality centre is located 60 km away from the regional centre Kyustendil and 90 km away from the capital city. The ambient environment offers many hiking routes. The territory of the forestry complex Sapareva Banya features part of the Rila national park where the Skakavitsa reserve, the Seven Rila Lakes, the Panichishte resort locality, and many other natural landmarks are located.

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