Minister Angelkova: Single telephone number for servicing Russian tourists in Bulgaria to be launched as of February 1

29 January 2016

A special telephone number will start operating as of February 1, 2016 enabling Russian tourists to receive updated information about tourism opportunities in Bulgaria at the price of a local call. The telephone number is 0700 20 991 and the first week after its launching will be a test period aimed at further streamlining of the system. This was announced by Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova at a joint briefing with Oleg Safonov, Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation.

The two of them described as very successful the sittings of the working groups on tourism and culture held in the framework of the session of the Bulgarian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation. The protocol signed after the sittings contains a set of specific measures for approximation of the two countries and promotion of the mutual tourist flow. “Children under 16 who visiting the country for children’s and organized tourism will get free visas,” said Nikolina Angelkova. She went on to explain that there are a number of children's camps along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and for them many of the formal procedures will drop out. Children traveling to our country for organized events also will be able to benefit from the exemption. “I hope these measures will encourage children’s travel. In parallel to that, we continue working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on broadening the incentives towards other social groups as well,” added Minister Angelkova.

It became clear during the briefing that security is of primary importance for Russian tourists. “Our country continues to work both in this direction and on the protection of tourists’ consumer rights,” the Bulgarian Minister said. These and other topical issues will be discussed at the forthcoming Bulgarian-Russian roundtable on cooperation in tourism, which will be held in Moscow on February 25, 2016. To take part in the meeting are industry representatives, MPs, Mayors, etc. They will discuss the possibilities of offering Russian customers more specialized forms of recreation in our country, beyond the traditional ski and sea tourism. Such forms are balneo, spa and wellness tourism; cultural, historical and religious tourism; hiking, military-cognitive and many other types of tourism which Russians have shown serious interest in.

We maintain a very active dialogue in tourism and I am confident that together we can unleash the full potential of tourist flow between our two countries, said Oleg Safonov. He declared support on behalf of both his team and Russian business for all initiatives promoting Bulgaria as a year-round tourist destination. Bulgaria will be specially presented at four major tourist fora next month - in St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Kazan and Samara. A joint meeting between lead representatives of Russian regions and the Bulgarian tourist sector will be held in March in the framework of the largest tourism fair, "Inturmarket". Bulgaria ranks 8th among the destinations most sought after by Russian tourists, said Oleg Safonov assuring that Russian interest remains high. He described as realistic Bulgaria’s endeavor to increase its share on the Russian market in 2016.

This is the first visit of Oleg Safonov to Bulgaria following a period of over five years without a visit of such a rank. In the framework of his stay he had a number of meetings with Bulgarian mayors, visited some of the main tourist attractions in the cities of Sofia and Plovdiv and payed a visit to Bachkovo Monastery. Russia remains one of the most important markets for the Bulgarian tourist industry with over 480 thousand Russian citizens having visited Bulgaria last year only and income generated from them in the summer season exceeding BGN 400 million. 



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