Bulgaria, Russia sign a Protocol on cooperation in tourism

27 January 2016
Министърът на туризма на Република България Николина Ангелкова и ръководителят на Федералната агенция по туризъм на Руската федерация Олег Сафонов по време на работната срещата с кметове на Черноморски общини.

Bulgaria and Russia will pool their efforts together to increase tourist flow between the two countries. This is set out in the protocol on cooperation signed earlier today by the Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria, Nikolina Angelkova and the Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation, Oleg Safonov. The latter is on a visit at the invitation of his Bulgarian counterpart and will take part in the work of the Bulgarian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation. The visit is at the highest governmental level in the tourism sector of the Russian Federation following a period of more than 5 years with no such high-ranking visit having taken place to Bulgaria.

 “I am delighted with the fact that this is the second consecutive meeting between us within just one month and that we have the opportunity to discuss concrete measures to promote the tourist flow,” said Minister Angelkova. She pointed out that, according to data provided by the industry, Russian citizens are interested in opportunities for tourism in our country and the active bilateral dialogue maintained is an additional positive signal for travels promotion. Oleg Safonov stressed that both government and industry are ready to provide assistance so that the proposals of Bulgarian business could effectively reach the end customer. In his words, Bulgaria has the capacity to develop all types of tourism but it needs to make consistent efforts to become recognizable in the Russian market beyond its mass summer and winter tourism.

The two of them also took part in the sitting of the working group on tourism in the framework of the Intergovernmental Commission where a presentation was made on the opportunities for seaside tourism, spa and health programs, organized children's recreation, etc. that Bulgaria can offer to Russian tourists. Oleg Safonov stressed that our country continues to be among the most sought after tourist destinations and expressed hope that more Russian citizens will opt for Bulgaria as a destination of their holidays. The most important aspects taken into account when choosing a tourist destination are visa issuance procedures, security and transport links.

The schedule of the visit also included a meeting of Oleg Safonov and Minister Angelkova with Mayors of Black Sea municipalities who presented the preparation for the Summer Season 2016 along with the special offers local businesses are ready to extend to Russian tourists. All participants in the meeting agreed that although smaller than expected, last year’s decrease in the number of Russian tourists did have an impact, however this year has seen a strong ambition to reverse this trend.

Opportunities for promoting Sofia as a cultural and tourist destination on market Russia were discussed at the meeting between Oleg Safonov and Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova. Together with Minister Angelkova, she showed the Russian guest around downtown Sofia and some of its main attractions. The Head of the Federal Tourism Agency also visited the necropolis of “St. Sofia” church.

Oleg Safonov’s visit is taking place at an important moment for Bulgaria. Russia is among the lead countries in the Bulgarian tourism market with 485 thousand Russian tourists having visited our country only last year.

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