Minister Angelkova: Tourism is a strong growth stimulus for the less developed regions

02 October 2018

The minister participated in the 14th Conference of the European Regions and Cities, which is part of the Salzburg Summit forum

Tourism is strong growth stimulus for the less developed regions. The Ministry of Tourism has been working purposefully for the popularization of the local natural resources and has organized a number of campaigns in order to attract more visitors in the interior of the country.  We have initiatives aimed at fostering the trips of Bulgarians, which stimulates internal tourism. This was said by the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova when she participated in the 14th Conference on European Regions and Cities, which is part of the Salzburg Summit forum, city of Salzburg. She gave a speech before the participants in panel 5 of the forum on the subject of “Measures for preventing the depopulation of the rural areas in Europe”. This event is one of the major events included in the calendar of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Tourism is an imporntat economic factor constituting about 12% of the GDP of Bulgaria and opening and providing about 11% of the jobs, said Minister Angelkova. She also added that the Ministry of Tourism has been working closely with the academic circles, schools and universities in order to attract young professionally prepared employees to work in the sector, which will contribute to the improvement of the quality of services in this industry.

Considering the importance of this sector, the Ministry of Tourism has developed a National Concept for Zoning of Tourism. The territory of Bulgaria has been divided into nine homogeneous tourist regions. We think that the National Concept for Zoning of Tourism will contribute to the development of regional tourist strategies, which in turn will provide transparency and legitimacy of the local products on the national and local markets, said Minister Angelkova. She also stated that the zoning may help cope with the problem of unequal distribution of the economic benefits, thus eliminating the economic disparity between the developing and the developed regions.

She gave an example with the 40 thousand artefacts scattered around the country, most of which still relatively unknown. For that reason, we decided to establish different thematic routes such as cultural and historical, wine, culinary and SPA, in order to unite the local expert knowledge and resources and ensure a common identity of the local cultural heritage, which used to be popularized individually, said Minister Angelkova. Therefore, a decision was taken to establish these destinations in close cooperation with the local communities, by conducting open public debates with the local residents who are most aware of the potential of their destinations. The decisions in the sphere of tourism must be taken jointly, said Minister Angelkova. She presented to the participants the main initiatives in tourism during the first Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, emphasizing that one of the main events in the calendar of the presidency was the high-level meeting of the ministers of tourism, which was organized by this institution in February. The forum gathered more than 500 delegates from the Members-states of the EU and the Western Balkans. One of the most important results of this event is the decision to develop a booklet of the 100 European tourist sites, said Minister Angelkova. It has been planned to start working on this booklet by including places which are part of the UNESCO cultural heritage. 

The topic of this year’s Salzburg Summit forum was “The European Regions and Cities 1918-2018-2118”. This event was launched back in the 1918 and in 2018 it has been included in the official calendar of the Austrian presidency. The main subjects discussed at the forum were the future of Europe, digitalization, energy and the development of rural areas and the challenges facing the regions and the cities. The President of the European Committee of the Regions ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Karl-Heinz Lambertz, the European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, the President of the Austrian National Council Wolfgang Sobotka, members of the Austrian government, representatives of the local authorities, non-governmental organizations, the politics and the business from all over Europe participated in it.  

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