Minister Angelkova held a meeting with 70 diplomatic missions in Bulgaria

02 December 2014

The Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova held a business breakfast with 55 ambassadors and 15 representatives of diplomatic missions in Sofia being aware of the Bulgarian potential as a year-round tourist destination as well as the main features of the newly established Ministry of Tourism.

The latest data provided by the NSI indicated that nearly 7 million foreign tourists visited Bulgaria last year or it was a growth of 5.6% within the period January-October 2014, which is above the European average. Minister Angelkova has set out for diplomats the structure of the new ministry and the key focuses in its policy in respect of feasibility of more visits and revenue rise in the sector, which forms nearly 15% of GDP of the country.

The new ministry plans to open representatives in various countries in order to promote there the advantages of Bulgaria as a tourist destination. "You are friends of Bulgaria and the fact that you are a kind of ambassadors of our country in your countries, helps us to turn Bulgaria into a  better known destination for four seasons," Angelkova said expressing hope the meetings between the diplomats to become a regular event.

The Minister stressed the importance of a set of factors that affect the Bulgarian image - convenient transport and infrastructure links, more flexible visa regime, more active legislative initiative to promote business and investment, accelerating the development of infrastructure projects through financing funds, the best use of EU funds under the operational programs, and etc. These are all topics that we have been actively working, and talks on establishing a fund for infrastructure projects in tourism have already been made.  Angelkova also said that the ministry will register the tourist sites and attractions and will coordinate with business the status of national resorts so that to be able to plan their attendance objectively and to raise revenues. Meetings regarding the readiness of our resorts for the 2014/15 winter season are scheduled for this week.

She pointed out the importance of the Danube Strategy for sustainable tourism development in the Balkans and Bulgaria's readiness to develop and offer joint products with its neighboring countries, which will attract visitors from distant markets. In turn, diplomats raised the issue of facilitating the procedures for issuing visas and the need for more direct flights to the country. They stressed that joint efforts are needed to make Bulgaria a popular destination abroad. It has been highlighted the huge natural, cultural and historical richness and abundance of mineral springs, which Bulgaria has, but unfortunately this potential has not been well known abroad yet.

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