The Caretaker Cabinet Held a Meeting during Which She Adopted a Report on the Work Done during the Term

05 June 2023

Minister Dimitrov: We finish 6th in the world in tourism recovery

The Minister of Tourism Dr. Ilin Dimitrov participated in the extraordinary open session of the Council of Ministers, at which the Prime Minister Mr. Galab Donev presented a report on the work done during the second term of the caretaker cabinet, which was adopted by the Council of Ministers.

‘We may have plus or minus 24 hours until the end of our responsibilities as interim authority. When I announced that we were ready for the second season of the political ‘Survivor’, I did not expect such ingenuity in the trials,’ the Prime Minister noted at the opening of the meeting. ‘We have returned the decision-making centre to where it belongs — in Bulgaria,’ said the caretaker Prime Minister Galab Donev, after which he presented some of the work done by the Council of Ministers since February 3. He stressed that accountability is a principle of good governance and no government since 2009 has presented such an account of its activities.

During the ten months of governance of the two caretaker cabinets, significant progress has been made, closer cooperation with the business community and undeniable successes backed by data — the pre-pandemic tourism growth levels have been exceeded in the current winter season and Bulgaria has returned to the top of the world tourism with its election to the Executive Board of the World Tourism Organisation. WTO's ranking of countries' post-pandemic recovery, for the first months of this year, ranked Bulgaria 6th in recovery and in the top ten in tourism revenue growth.

For more information on the tasks set and the objectives achieved, see the attached report of the Minister of Tourism Dr. Ilin Dimitrov:


  • According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) rankings of the world's top performing destinations for inbound tourism in the first quarter of 2023, Bulgaria ranks 6th with a 27% growth of foreign tourists’ registrations compared to 2019. This is the main indicator of the performance of any tourism minister — how they promote their country.
  • We have recorded the most successful winter season since statistics have been available — tourist arrivals are 23% above the pre-pandemic Winter 2019/2020 and 24% above last year, despite the adverse weather conditions this winter. The growth of Greek tourists compared to the previous winter season is over 100%.
  • We have secured a successful 2023 summer season, with an expected growth of around 5% over the pre-Covid 2019.
  • Bulgaria was awarded the ‘Destination of the Balkans 2023’ award by the Pacific Association of Tourism Journalists (PATWA), writing about tourism, and Minister Dimitrov was honoured as the ‘Minister of the Balkans 2023’ by PATWA, with the awards being presented during the world's largest tourism exhibition ITB Berlin.
  • Instead of our country being ashamed of its participation in exhibitions, we are already winning awards from the look of our stands — we have organised the presentation of our country at 12 international tourism exhibitions, with the number of co-exhibitors exceeding 235. The stand and the animation during our participation at the largest international tourism exhibition ITB Berlin were assessed by the industry and in a number of media publications as our best presentation in years. This was a key event in the recovery of the position of the Bulgarian tourism product on the German market.
  • After the highly successful road trip for B2B meetings in autumn 2022 in Poland, a second one was successfully held in Germany to restore our position on the German market. We had a road trip to Israel this month and are preparing one to the UK in the autumn.
  • We prepared and successfully hosted our country at the 68th Session of the Regional Commission Europe of the WTO in the period 31 May—02 June 2023. This enabled the Bulgarian tourism product to be presented to an extremely wide and professionally oriented audience — more than 20 ministers and government officials from more than 40 delegations, representatives of business, academia, etc. At the same time, during the meeting Bulgaria was elected as a member of the Executive Board of the WTO for the full term, which covers the period 2023—2027. The meeting was perfectly organised and was described by the WTO management and delegates as ‘historic’ because of the large number of participants and the weight of the decisions taken. Prior to the forum, the caretaker minister of tourism put forward Bulgaria's candidacy and conducted an active diplomatic campaign to secure support for it from a number of European countries, which led to the logical success of our country to take one of the vacant seats for the region of Europe.
  • We supported the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the collection and sharing of data relating to short-term accommodation rental services and amending Regulation (EU) 2018/1724 for the purpose of achieving a common approach. This will help to lighten the business and protect fair competition.
  • A Concept Paper on a mandatory Guarantee Fund as an element of national insolvency protection for tour operators in line with Directive 2015/2302 of the European Parliament and of the Council on package travel and related travel services was developed and was presented and discussed with the national associations of tour operators and travel agents. Work is already underway on the second stage — the formulation of a model for the Tourism Guarantee Fund itself. This will lead to overcoming the problems of securing the activities of tour operators and better guarantee the interests of citizens.
  • Tourism business awareness of EU funding opportunities through joint meetings and active work with the Minister for Innovation and Growth improved. As a result of the good coordination of the two ministers, the Tourism sector has been prioritized in several thematic areas of the ISIS 2021—2027 and under the announced programme for renewable energy in enterprises under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
  • We managed to do a 2-year job within 8 months — we categorized over 1,400 tourist sites with delayed and expired categorizations. Almost 150 categorisations and certifications have been made in the last two months alone. Without them, the hotels would have closed and they could not sign contracts with tour operators.
  • The actions taken to ensure publicity and transparency in the procedures for the rental of beaches by strengthening the internal control mechanisms and the provision of supervisors from the State Agency ‘National Security’, the Commission for Counteraction to Corruption and Confiscation of illegally Acquired Property and the Ministry of Interior have led to an increase in confidence in the work of the Ministry of Tourism and to the protection of the rules of free and fair competition. There has been a trend of significant growth in the annual rental price offers, with some sites being offered at prices exceeding the minimum rental prices by several times.
  • As a result of the increased control activities on the beaches during the previous term of office, the coordination and interaction with concessionaires and tenants of beaches has been improved, and a massive information campaign for strict compliance with the requirements of the concession and lease agreements was prepared and launched before summer 2023, and the concessionaires and tenants themselves have declared their willingness to work to improve the quality of services on the beaches.
  • This year, as a result of the active work carried out, a record number of beaches — 21 and one marina — received the eco label ‘Blue Flag’, which undoubtedly raises the prestige of the destination and is a guarantee of the cleanliness of the beach and the high quality of the tourist service offered.
  • Together with the Ministry of Health, adequate and prompt medical assistance was ensured on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in the upcoming summer season 2023. We have found a lasting solution to a significant problem on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast by signing a multilateral memorandum of cooperation between the concerned agencies, several maritime municipalities and the Multi-profile Active Treatment & Emergency University Hospital ‘N.I. Pirogov’ EAD.
  • A campaign for increased cooperation with specialised schools of tourism is underway (meetings have been organised in a number of cities in the country — Targovishte, Stara Zagora, Varna, etc.) to address the urgent issues of the shortage of trained tourism staff.
  • The interest of the consumers of the tourist service has been protected by cancelling the registrations of 101 tour operators without the mandatory insurance during the previous term of office and for the period February— April 2023 the registration of 98 more tour operators was cancelled for the same reason. At the same time, 17 tour operators and travel agents are registered.
  • There has been flawless coordination and interaction between the Ministry of Tourism, the Commission for Consumer Protection, the Executive Agency Automobile Administration and the Regional Directorates of the Ministry of Interior, Economic Crime Prevention Sector on the implementation of the control activities — a number of checks of the border check-points for unfair practices and ‘illegal excursions’ have been carried out since the beginning of February and the inspections will continue throughout 2023. The industry has repeatedly expressed its appreciation of this MoT initiative and continues to view it extremely positively.
  • Together with the National Operations Staff (NOS), we have found a solution to the key problems in the humanitarian programmes for persons hosted in Ukraine and the regularity of payments will be fully restored.
  • Most importantly — we have returned normality in the work of the ministry and the sector felt that we have a good partner working for its development.
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