Minister Dimitrov participated in the Global Leadership Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council

29 November 2022

Sustainable development of tourism in the context of current global challenges and policies was among the topics in the speech of the Minister of Tourism, Ilin Dimitrov, PhD, during the Global Leadership Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council, held in Saudi Arabia.

The basis of future actions and policies in the sector in our country are to promote the implementation of innovations, attract new investments and optimize business processes in the sector, Minister Dimitrov said.

“Generating added value is key to the development of the Bulgarian tourism product. Our country should be promoted as a year-round destination, including all the possibilities of the tourism industry,” the minister said. He stressed that Bulgaria will make the necessary efforts to provide all tourists with a complete and, above all, safe experience.

Bulgaria has excellent specialists in the field of information technology and this will contribute to a more effective digitization of our tourism product. The development of a digital map of Bulgaria in the near future is a great opportunity to increase our visibility. It will enable consumers to use a modern and easily accessible service in terms of identifying a wide range of sites, destinations, dining and entertainment venues, Minister Dimitrov said. “Crises have given us many lessons, but also opportunities for improvement and development, he said in the Global Leadership Dialogue session. We are actively working with internationally renowned organisations and platforms of interaction such as the WTO and the World Travel and Tourism Council to support businesses and consumers. One of the most important elements of the sector that needs serious investment is the training of tourism personnel. Bulgaria should be very active in this aspect,” Minister Dimitrov further said. The Global Leadership Dialogue is attended by a wide range of government officials, ministers, business representatives from different parts of the world. It is supported at the highest level by the WTO in the person of Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili.

On the sidelines of the forum, Minister Dimitrov met with his Cypriot counterpart Savvas Perdios, held an informal conversation with the Minister of Tourism of the Hellenic Republic, Vassilis Kikilias. We will work on joint products for consumers from distant markets, Minister Dimitrov announced, adding that the relations between Greece and Bulgaria in the sector are balanced, fruitful and extremely intensive. The two sides also agreed to develop a new joint Tourism Action Programme, to work actively within common formats such as the EC, WTO, BSEC and many others, to develop cross-border regional development projects to enhance the welfare of border areas.

During the Global Summit, Minister Dimitrov also met with representatives of the Saudi tourism authorities. He was received by H.E. Princess Haifa Mohammed Al-Saud, Adviser to the Minister of Tourism of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia H.E. Ahmed Al Khateeb, and today, he also held talks with the Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef. During the meetings, Minister Dimitrov underscored that Saudi Arabia is one of our country’s promising partners in the sector. The Arab country is particularly interested in Bulgaria as a destination that offers rich opportunities for spa tourism and has many mineral springs and beautiful mountains. In the spring of 2023, the first direct flights between Sofia and Riyadh are expected to start, which will greatly encourage bilateral tourism. The investments that Saudi Arabia plans to make for the development of its tourism sector are really significant, Minister Dimitrov reported. He invited potential Saudi investors to invest in the development of tourism projects in Bulgaria. “We have a predictable and fruitful environment for investment in the sector,” Minister Dimitrov said.

During the Global Meeting the Minister also met with representatives of tour operators and airlines operating on the Bulgarian market. The topic of discussion was the optimization of visa regimes in cooperation with the responsible institutions such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will bring serious economic benefits to our country. Bulgaria is becoming more and more recognizable and popular as a destination, with good prospects for 2023, noted the discussants.

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