Leading Indian Tour Operators: Significant boost in tourist flows to Bulgaria expected after release of Bollywood blockbuster Dilwale

25 November 2015

The upcoming December premiere of Dilwale (The Big Hearted), a Bollywood romantic action comedy film that was shot in Bulgaria starring Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, is expected to boost the interest of Indian tourists to Bulgaria. This is what representatives of leading Indian tour operators shared at a meeting with the Bulgarian Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova, which took place in Mumbai. The meeting, organized by the Honorary Consul of Bulgaria in Mumbai Vinay Patil, was attended by over 80 tour operators and members of the Travel Association of Tour Operators of India.

“In 2016, the Ministry of Tourism will organize expedient tours for journalists for the Indian market, as well as a joint roundtable to promote tourist flows from and to both countries. There are real opportunities to significantly increase the number of Indian tourists to Bulgaria, especially since Bollywood has chosen us as one of their leading film-making locations”, said Minister Angelkova. She recalled that in 2016 another 10 Bollywood productions will be shot in Bulgaria.

Indian tour operators welcomed the idea of opening tourist information centers of Bulgaria in Delhi and Mumbai, which in their view will raise the awareness of Indian tourists and will make our country even more recognizable at the Indian domestic market. They expressed willingness to deepen the cooperation with their Bulgarian colleagues, arguing that of particular benefit would be the exchange of experience and information on the opportunities for year-round tourism that Bulgaria offers.

The main tourism issues discussed at the meetings in Delhi and Mumbai were related to travel arrangements and visa issuance to Indian citizens. Minister Angelkova presented the so far achievements in this regard – she specified that active work is ongoing to set up outsourced visa centers for issuing tourist visas to Indian citizens, thus substantially easing the current procedures. Minister Angelkova noted that the focus of future cooperation between the two countries could be the opening of a direct airline connecting Sofia with Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Amritsar.

Qatar Airways India expressed willingness to partner with the Ministry of Tourism in organizing familiarization trips to Bulgaria for Indian media and tour operators. This was stated at the meeting of Minister Angelkova with the management of the major international air carrier of India.

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