Minister Angelkova: A task group involving several countries will draft Balkan routes for remote market tourists

14 February 2018

Bulgaria will increasingly be attracting tourists from China and other remote markets with common Balkan routes involving several countries. This was stated by the Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova, in an interview for the morning talk show of bTV. She summarized as very successful the first of its kind Tourism and Economic Growth meeting of the tourism ministers in EU within Bulgaria’s presidency of the EU Council, adding that it was highly rated by Bieńkowska, EU Commissioner for Single Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SME’s, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of UN’s World Tourism Organization. The forum gathered a record number of over 520 delegates.

We discussed with EU member states the ways to attract more tourists from China and remote markets to the single destination Europe, with Turkey and the Western Balkans also to be integrated in the initiative. We are setting up a task group with representatives of ministries and municipalities to create routes, which will attract Chinese tourists. This will be considerably helped also by our idea to create a map of the top 100 European tourism sites, which will incorporate for a start landmarks from the UNESCO lists. Also discussed was the establishment of a European Tourism Fund, which would assist the implementation of such ideas via financial and other mechanisms, explained Minister Angelkova.

Analyses indicate that Bulgarians increasingly prefer to spend their vacations in Bulgaria because quality of our tourism services is sustainably on the rise. This is evidence that tourists are pleased with the marketed product, the minister stressed. According to polls, half of the surveyed Bulgarians will, for example, opt for the Bulgarian Black Sea next summer, with half of our compatriots also staying in their motherland for the ski vacations.

Minister Angelkova anticipated some upward movement in the prices of summer vacations because demand for high-category hotels offering better quality is expanding but this depends entirely on the industry because tourism in our country is 100% privately owned. The minister reminded, however, that according to data in the western media, Bulgaria is among the leading destinations in terms of price performance vacation.   

She focused on the need to ensure the stewarding of sea beaches in order to provide trouble-free summer vacation to the visitors. Whether the procedures are under the Black Sea Spatial Planning Act or under the new Concessions Act, the beach concessions will be granted by the Ministry of Tourism, she explained adding that it is normal practice because the ministry is the responsible institution. I and the Deputy Prime Minister, Valeri Simeonov, are fighting to have order in the resorts. We are fully compliant with the law and monitor the transparent conduct of procedures. The problem with beaches in the gated resorts will be resolved via concessions because the highest price is not the criterion to determine the steward, unlike the case with letting, it is a set of criteria.

Users demand that the beaches are granted under concessions and stood against the total removal of portable vending stands. 92% of those surveyed insist that the beaches be stewarded, while 60% request that there are portable vending stands at the beach itself, for the comfort of tourists. We are preparing documents to proceed with the concessions as fast as possible, in order to safeguard the government’s interest, Minister Angelkova said categorically.

She also drew attention to winter tourism, which should develop at accelerated pace as well. Everything will be done according to the rulebook in the case of Pirin. There is no risk of overdevelopment in the mountain, there is no way for this to happen on 48 per cent of its territory. Only sports-technical facilities will be constructed. This holds not just for Bansko, but also for Borovets, Pamporovo, Vitosha, Stara Planina, Rhodope mountains, commented the minister.

There should be quick and environmentally friendly access, such as lifts, to our mountain resorts, it became clear from her words. Change, however, doesn’t come quickly – there has to be investment intention, which would then undergo public discussion and environmental assessment. It is a fact that we are registering growths of winter tourists, with this season being expected to result in a growth of their number in the range of 5-10%, summarized Minister Angelkova.

Facebook icon
Twitter icon
Google icon
e-mail icon