Minister Angelkova: The big Russian tour operators accepted Bulgaria in their ranks

14 March 2015

Bulgaria’s National Tourism Representation is already a member of the Russian Tour Operators Association. The accession is an acknowledgement of the country’s important place on the Russian tourist market and indicates the high regard that Russian tour operators have for Bulgaria as a travel destination. The announcement was made by the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova during a press conference at one of the biggest international Russian travel exhibits – Intourmarket. This year Bulgaria is featured with a stand of 200 sq.m. which has attracted much interest during the opening day of the fair.

“I hope that despite the difficult economic situation, the steps that the Ministry of Tourism has undertaken will help us accommodate Russian tourists during the upcoming season”, said Nikolina Angelkova. Despite a drop in numbers for 2014, Russia is remains the fourth biggest markets for Bulgaria, with a tourist inflow of over 650 000 tourists and a 9% share of the country’s overall incoming tourist flow.

Measures are already in place to relax the visa procedures for Russian tourists. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed that visas are now issued within one to three days and that 19 visa centers have been deployed on the territory of the Russian Federation. “During my visit to Brussels next week we will discuss possibilities for issuing of visas for third-parties, including Russian tourists, at airports”, said Minister Angelkova.

“We are also drawing up a charter programme which we hope to launch in 2016”, announced Nikolina Angelkova.  She explained that as an EU member state this idea should be coordinated with the European Commission’s Competitiveness Directorate-General. The programme should encompass the lead-up period to the high seasons (March-June for the summer season and October-December for the winter season). Such a step would help prolong the tourist season and will turn Bulgaria into a year-round destination. “Bulgaria must be competitive because tourism makes for 10-14% of the country’s GDP”, said Nikolina Angelkova.

“Russia is traditionally among the top five markets for incoming tourists to Bulgaria and the Ministry is working towards improving the conditions for Russian tourists”, indicated the Minister. Apart from traditional summer and winter tourism, Russian citizens are also attracted by balneo and SPA, golf, adventure and regional tourism.  “We’ve discussed with the Foreign Ministry possibilities to introduce additional visa relaxations for Russian pilgrims. There are over 4 200 monasteries and Orthodox churches in Bulgaria and we offer interesting pilgrimage routes”, said Nikolina Angelkova. According to the Minister great mutual trust has been established between the branch industries of the two countries. Despite bankruptcies of travel companies over the past years, not a single Russian tourist had been compelled to cut short their stay in the country due to the efforts of the Bulgarian tour operators.

Experts say that Bulgaria also boasts the best children camp facilities for Russian tourists. The flow of Russian children to Bulgaria over the past year has increase by 30% according to data by the Moscow embassy. “These numbers testify to the confidence that parents have in our country as any parent would want the best for their children”, added the Minister.


Facebook icon
Twitter icon
Google icon
e-mail icon