Minister Angelkova: Rules on the activity of mountain guides introduced

16 October 2015

Uniform qualification requirements and procedures for exercising the activity of mountain guides are introduced for the first time in Bulgaria. These rules are governed by a regulation published earlier today on the website of the Ministry of Tourism for public discussion, Minister Nikolina Angelkova informed at “The Mountains of Bulgaria: Four-Season Hospitality” tourism fair in Pamporovo.

“Most likely uninteresting to the public at large, the topic of mountain guides is substantial in view of the growing number of mountain accidents evidencing how important is for everyone practicing sports or tourism in the mountains to take a responsible attitude”, said Minister Angelkova. In recent years there have been many situations where people have suffered serious accidents in the mountains because of overestimating their own abilities. ”Therefore, setting out the basic rules for practicing this activity is of particular importance and I hope that a growing number of people will seek the services of mountain guides”, added Nikolina Angelkova.

The new ordinance provides for arrangements and uniform requirements that everyone practicing this activity has to comply with. All certified mountain guides will be entered in the National Tourism Register; thus the information will be publicly accessible on the website of the Ministry of Tourism. A number of meetings have been held with the industry to discuss the text of the new regulation and many of the tabled ideas have been taken into account.

Minister Angelkova highlighted the positive results of the last winter season. “We have recorded more than 8% increase of foreign tourists in Bulgaria and almost 5% higher revenues from international tourism”, she said. Nikolina Angelkova recalled that thanks to simplified visa procedures the arrivals of Turkish tourists have soared by nearly 30% during the 2014/2015 winter season. Increase has been recorded from other markets as well - UK 15%, Germany 11%, Israel 26%, Macedonia and Serbia 9% each, Greece 6%, etc.

Furthermore, Eurobarometer data cited by the Minister indicates serious interest by Bulgarian nationals to active recreation in domestic mountain resorts. 33% of Bulgarians state “visit to the mountains” or “outdoor walk in nature” as a main purpose of their vacation and most of them organize it within three nights on average. In terms of winter tourists, a positive indication is the fact that 75% of Bulgarians have opted for spending their holidays in their native country.

Minister of Tourism announced that preparations for the new winter season have already begun and the first meeting with supervisory authorities, the industry and local authorities will be held today to verify the level of their preparedness. The expectations for the season are to be at least as good as the previous one. “It is too early to make any specific statistical forecasts, but the initial expectations are that there will be interest from the Balkan countries, mainly Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia as well as from Israel, Moldova and the Netherlands. We also hope to maintain the good level of British travelers”, the Minister said. For the upcoming season the Ministry will rely on digital marketing; the industry in turn has discussed incentives to encourage domestic winter tourism such as student discounts, free training, etc. Effective in the 2015/2016 winter season will be the regulations on information security and safeguarding of ski runs and ski patrols and on the requirements for mountain huts.

Minister of Tourism also drew attention to the consistent policy of the Smolyan region for development of year-round tourism. As per data of “Pamporovo” AD, for the last winter season the resort has had a leading position in the domestic market with 68% share of Bulgarians and 9% increase in total visits. “A positive indication is the fact that for many Bulgarians the area has been a favorite place for recreation also during the summer months and that in July this year the tourists registered in places of accommodation in Smolyan region are 54% more as compared to the same period of last year”, Minister Angelkova said.

The organizers of the fair handed to Minister Nikolina Angelkova their official position on the new video promotion of the country granted to the Ministry of Tourism by Nu Boyana Film Studios. The opinion note says that the promotional clip of Bulgaria featuring world cinema stars like Sylvester Stallone, Salma Hayek, Adrien Brody and Antonio Banderas is a very good opportunity to promote Bulgaria and requests the video to be provided for show at various promotional initiatives and through appropriate channels.

“The Mountains of Bulgaria: Four-Season Hospitality” fair in Pamporovo (14-17 October) is among the important national tourist exchanges. Participants in its 12th edition are Bulgarian municipalities, districts and tourist associations along with representatives of other Balkan countries. During the four-day fair they will discuss topical issues of mountain tourism, as well as cooperation opportunities for year-round delivery of tourist services in the region.


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