First regulation on Bulgarian spa centers coming into force

09 February 2016

The Ordinance on the terms and conditions for certification of balneotherapy, spa, wellness and thalassotherapy centers was promulgated in the State Gazette.

This secondary piece of legislation introduces for the first time a minimum of statutory requirements that these specialized centers have to meet. From now on only entities certified in accordance with the ordinance will have the right to use the abbreviation "spa". The detailed requirements to the centers are arranged in several groups: building; equipment and furniture; service; tourist services offered; staff qualifications and experience.

The regulation’s entry into force will put an end to the vicious practice of hotels with minimum equipment defining themselves as spas. This will protect consumers who will now know what to expect when paying for a service and where they can receive it. For this purpose a register of certified centers will be established as part of the National Tourism Register, which will be accessible online.

Adoption of the Ordinance was among the top priorities of the Ministry of Tourism and was something awaited for by the industry in the course of decades. Our country ranks second in Europe in terms of mineral water resources and what is needed to become even more competitive in the international tourist market is to have clear rules in place. Combining balneo, spa and wellness services with other forms of tourism such as sea, winter, mountain, rural, golf etc. is becoming increasingly important as it stimulates growth of additional services and is a prerequisite for season extension, creating new jobs and attracting well-to-do tourists.

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