Minister Angelkova had a conversation with her Greek colleague Elena Kuntura

06 November 2018

Bulgaria and Greece exchange almost the same number of tourists annually

The Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova had a working meeting in London with Elena Kuntura, the Greek minister of tourism, during the international tourism fair WTM. Despite working in a highly competitive environment, the two neighbouring countries have established very active relations in the sphere of tourism, said Minister Angelkova.

The partnership with Greece and the respective ministry has long traditions and is developing steadily. A meeting of 11 Balkan countries was held in Sofia in May in order to prepare a common Balkan route with the participation of both countries. We are planning to include in this route UNESCO sites and other places of national and international importance, pointed out Minister Angelkova.  She announced that, after long and comprehensive discussions, our country will soon present its proposals for the Bulgarian section of the route.

The two institutions and the business are considering other joint initiatives and exchange of information in order to attract distant and promising markets to this region. Bulgaria and Greece are members of the programme UNWTO Road Silk Road. The two countries participated in the creation of a road map under the project in cooperation with the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences-Sofia. Another purpose is to establish joint products under this project that will attract tourists from distant destinations to the Balkans, said Minister Angelkova.

Minister Kuntiura was personally invited by Minister Angelkova to attend the second International congress on world civilizations and historic routes which will be held on 15th and 16th November 2018 in Sofia in cooperation with the World Tourism Organization. She stressed the major significance of the cultural-historic heritage of the two countries and emphasized the role of the timely exchange of information to support the tourists. Greece will participate in any promising joint initiative in this respect, said Mrs. Kuntura.

At the meeting it was confirmed that the two countries exchange almost the same number of tourists annually. Based on the data provided by the National Statistical Institute, in 2017, Greece ranked first on the chart of inbound tourism with over 1,1 billion visits, which constitutes a 8,5% growth compares to the previous year. At the same time, Bulgarian tourists made over 1,3 million visits to Greece and it was the most preferred foreign destination for Bulgarian tourists.

Traditionally, Greece is preferred by Bulgarians for summer holidays and the Greek citizens show a great interest in holidaying in our winter resorts.

However, the data for the period June-September 2018 show that a substantial number of Greek guests visited Bulgaria in the summer as well. For the summer season of 2018, Greece has ranked third on the chart of international tourism in our country with over 464 thousand visits and the number of the visits of Bulgarian citizens to Greece was more than 628 thousand.

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