Deputy Minister Modeva Took Part in a Cultural and Tourism Forum Representing the Resources of the Cities of Beijing and Ningbo

28 February 2023
културно-туристически форум за китайските градове Пекин и Нинбо

Deputy Minister Mariela Modeva took part in a cultural and tourism forum representing the resources of the Chinese cities of Beijing and Ningbo, which was held in Sofia. The Deputy Minister congratulated the organizers and the guests on behalf of Minister Dimitrov and said that she is happy that we have the opportunity to welcome in Sofia the first Chinese delegation that arrives after the beginning of the pandemic. Bulgaria and China have traditionally maintained good bilateral relations in all areas. The Deputy Minister said that the new mutually beneficial policies and initiatives will contribute to deepening cooperation and understanding, thus strengthening the traditionally friendly relations between our peoples.

'The cooperation between our two countries in the field of tourism is developing intensively and by 2020 the number of Chinese tourists visiting Bulgaria was growing steadily,' said Prof. Modeva. In her words, Bulgaria is not only part of the western branch of the Silk Road, but also has the potential to be a year-round destination with its winter and seaside resorts, beautiful sandy beaches, mineral springs, spa facilities and golf courses. Our country is the heir of ancient civilizations — Thracians, Romans, Byzantines and Proto-Bulgarians, who have left in these lands more than 40,000 historical sites classified as cultural values. 'Bulgaria is third in Europe in terms of cultural and historical heritage. Besides these riches, our country is proud of its beautiful nature and incredible biodiversity. The Bulgarian combined touristic product attracts people from all over the world through hospitality and high quality service,' stressed Professor Modeva.

The Ministry of Tourism is committed to strengthen the mutual dialogue with China in the field of tourism and expand our joint initiatives with a view to further enhancing tourism exchanges and investment. The world is in challenging times for the global tourism industry, but also times of great opportunity. The Ministry of Tourism is actively working to create the conditions for the opening of a direct air route, which will contribute to the intensification of bilateral economic cooperation, including by increasing the flow of tourism between Bulgaria and China, and is following with attention and welcomes the development of all initiatives and projects in this direction. 'We look forward to working closely together to meet both the challenges and opportunities in the future,' Prof. Modeva stressed.

The forum was organized by the Beijing Municipality and the Ningbo Municipality under the guidance of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People's Republic of China. The focus of the forum is 'The Maritime Silk Road and the importance of China's Grand Canal connecting Beijing with the port city of Ningbo'. Bilateral agreements for cooperation were signed at the event between the private sector representatives of the two countries, new trends in marketing and advertising were discussed, as well as good practices related to the visa regime, which could facilitate the process and increase the tourism flow between Bulgaria and China.

Bulgaria was invited to participate in the international exhibition CHINA-CEEC EXPO 2023. For the first time, tourism services will be offered at the exhibition.

The delegation from Beijing was led by Mr. Shi Anping, First Rank Inspector of the Culture and Tourism Bureau of the City of Beijing and Vice Mayor of Tongzhou Municipality (Beijing). The delegation from Ningbo was led by Mr. Xu Xiaoshi, Deputy Director of the Culture, Television, Radio and Tourism Department of Ningbo Municipality, Mr. Dong Xiaojun, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China and other representatives of the local administration, as well as representatives of the tourism sector.

The data on the dynamics of relations between the two countries shows that the highest interest of Chinese tourists is in cultural and urban tourism in Bulgaria. About 22% of Chinese tourist arrivals are for business tourism in 2022.

Leading destinations for Chinese tourists in Bulgaria in 2022 are Sofia — over 2,800 Chinese tourists, Varna Municipality — about 475, Plovdiv — 375, Nessebar — about 240, Veliko Tarnovo — nearly 200 according to data from ESTI (Unified System for Touristic Information).

From 01 January to 17 February 2023, about 500 registrations of Chinese tourists were reported in accommodation. Most of them — about 300 — are in Sofia, followed by the municipality of Bansko, and in addition, visits of Chinese tourists have been reported in the municipalities of Plovdiv, Samokov, Varna and others.

According to UNWTO data, the number of trips of Bulgarians to China in 2019 is 21,098, which is much higher than the 4,619 trips reported by the NSI.

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