Minister Angelkova before tourism leaders in Seville: Bulgaria has huge potential for tourism investments that we will promote

02 April 2019

Bulgaria is among the countries with huge potential for investment in tourism, which is yet to be discovered by business, and we will encourage this interest. This was stated in Seville by the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova before the participants in the dialogue of the leaders of the world tourism - one of the leading events at the 19th Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). The forum is being held from April 2-4, 2019 under the title Visionaries in the tourism sector (Changemakers).

Leaders' dialogue focused on good practices to maximize investment in tourist destinations by improving the business environment so as to ensure long-term sustainable growth and competitiveness of the sector.

In her speech, Minister Angelkova noted that in the last few years Bulgarian tourism has noticed a significant increase in tourist visits and their revenues. In 2018, almost 9.3 million visits of foreign tourists were reported in the country, with a 31% increase in such visits over the last 4 years, and their revenue increased by 34%.

The Bulgarian tourist industry employs over 26,000 companies. The sector, together with its related industries, generates 11.7% of the country's GDP and was raised by the government in national priority, said Minister Angelkova. She stressed that since its establishment as an independent institution at the end of 2014, the Ministry of Tourism has encouraged the attraction of investments for the sustainable and balanced development of the sector at national, regional and local level.

In this respect, Bulgaria has a number of competitive advantages - the most favorable tax regime in Europe. The corporate tax rate is 10% - the lowest in the EU. Individual income tax is fixed at 10%. For high-unemployment industries, the tax rate is 0% and legal incentives have been introduced for large investments. The workforce is well-educated, highly skilled, accounting for over 62 percent of the population, she said.

Bulgaria has a strategic geographical position providing direct access to the main tourist markets of the Black and Mediterranean Sea, said Minister Angelkova and emphasized that the natural and climatic conditions together with the rich cultural and historical heritage of the country are a prerequisite for a great variety of tourist services through the four seasons of the year. She also emphasized that Bulgaria offers the best value for money, offering high quality tourism products at reasonable value to different target groups, and this is one of the strong competitive advantages of the destination.

The most developed tourism sub-sectors in Bulgaria are the maritime, recreational and mountain tourism, generating 95% of the revenues from our tourism industry. The country also offers excellent opportunities for cultural and historical tourism with its over 40,000 discovered artifacts, announced Minister Angelkova. She added that SPA and balneo-tourism also have huge potential for development in the future. Bulgaria ranks second in Europe in natural mineral resources, with about 1600 mineral springs.

The Ministry of Tourism is ready to assist in attracting more investors in these areas, as well as in the provision of wine / gourmet, congress tourism, etc. in order to increase the progress in the regions. Promoting this business interest is a top priority this year. We have taken the first steps to upgrade a specialized map of investment projects in tourism that we have created, explained Minister Angelkova. The initiative looks at a variety of business start-ups in one of the most profitable and sustainable sectors of our economy. We are preparing a second edition of the map and its digital version. The Ministry also plans investment tours in the country to provide more information about Bulgarian and foreign entrepreneurs, it became clear from the Minister's statement to the forum.

She also noted that one of the events in this direction is the International Conference on Sustainable Attraction of Investments in Tourism, which will be held at the end of May 2019 in Sunny Beach. The purpose of the forum is to raise awareness of the investment potential in the country and region of Southeast Europe, as well as to discuss a common vision for addressing challenges in this area. Minister Angelkova invited the attendees to take part in the upcoming event and to get acquainted with the various possibilities of Bulgaria as a destination.

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