Minister Angelkova: Bulgaria is not tapping its full potential for mountain tourism growth

30 January 2015
среща-дискусия за развитието на планинския туризъм

Despite its huge potential Bulgaria ranks in one of the last places in Europe when it comes to mountain tourism equipment. This is what the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova said during a discussion meeting on mountain tourism. Other participants in the round-table discussion were the Minister of Youth and Sports Krasen Kralev, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Georgi Kostov, the Deputy Minister of Economy Daniela Vezieva and others.

“Our country is lagging behind in the development of mountain tourism”, said Minister Angelkova. In Austria per every 10 sq m there is 1 km of ski tracks, in Germany – per every 300 sq m there is a 1-kilometer ski piste, in Bulgaria per every 579 sq m there is a 1-kilometer ski track. “There are 32 ski zones in Bulgaria and 110 ski lifts,” noted Nikolina Angelkova.   Just for comparison the Czech Republic has 176 ski zones and 816 ski lifts, in Austria – 254 ski zones with 3028 ski lifts and in France – 325 ski zones and 3595 ski lifts. “We can hardly be competitive on the tourism market with such indicators”, added the Minister of Tourism.  According to the Minister, Bulgaria has the potential to construct new ski tracks and facilities without causing damage to the environment, the parks, the flora and the fauna.

Minister Angelkova urged for a balanced approach to solving these issues and cited Spain as an example for how tourism can be used to create new jobs and increase revenues, thus becoming a major factor for overcoming the economic crisis. She suggested that all interested parties join efforts in finding the right decisions for fostering the development of the winter and mountain tourism the way Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Switzerland, Andorra and other countries have managed to do.

The mountain should not be seen solely as a place where one can practice winter sports – it is suitable for hiking, recreation and adventure tourism and the state should secure the right conditions for that. “Our country ranks second in Europe in biodiversity and the mountain lifts are the greenest possible means of transportation”, reminded Nikolina Angelkova. She added that the country has plenty of opportunities for the creation of new eco-friendly ski zones and lifts. “Together with golf tourism, winter tourism attracts high class tourists who spend four times more than the overall summer tourists”, added Minister Angelkova.

Bulgaria stands a real chance of becoming a leading European winter tourism destination. “We are already an established ski destination with a serious market share and we are part of the calendar of the International Ski Federation which makes us quite competitive and we should build on that”, Nikolina Angelkova stated.

“Only through joint efforts can we establish Bulgaria as an easily recognizable all-year tourist destination”, added the Minister. “We should direct our actions towards changes in the legislation, the modernization of existing facilities and long-term planning and do so in full compliance with the national and European legislations. The existing ski facilities should guarantee safety, especially those that have become obsolete. We should find a compromise solution on how to upgrade the mountain infrastructure so that it meets the needs of the locals and responds to tourists’ expectations”, concluded Angelkova.

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