Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova held a meeting with Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan – Kentaro Sonoura

03 August 2015

The creation of a Bulgarian tourist information center in Tokyo is an impetus for furthering the cooperation between the two countries and for boosting the tourist flow. This is what the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova said during her meeting with the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Kentaro Sonoura which took place today in Sofia. The tourist center is to be opened soon in the very heart of Tokyo as part of a Memorandum which was signed between the Ministry of Tourism and the Japan-Southeast Europe Business Association (JSEEBA) as its funding will be provided entirely by the Association.

The Japanese Deputy Minister extended an invitation to Bulgaria to take part in the international ASEM summit which will be held in September of this year in Tokyo. He noted that the Japanese find Bulgaria a very appealing tourist destination and the country's more active presence on the Japanese market can lead to a significant growth in the coming years. “One of our main approaches in the advertising strategy of our country for 2016 is digital marketing. In relation to this we plan to be featured in some of the most popular Japanese websites”, the Bulgarian minister says. She also stressed the fact that there are many people in Bulgaria who speak Japanese in comparison to other countries in South East Europe, which is a prerequisite for more effective relations between the two countries.

“Japan is a key market for us andin the long term we plan a number of activities in order to boost the tourist flow”, said Minister Angelkova.  She stressed that n a mutual working strategy for the development of joint tourist products with Romania has already been drafted and Serbia is expected to join too. “The three countries are members of the Danube Strategy so we can develop a common Danube product geared towards distant markets”, added Nikolina Angelkova.

She noted that such products are currently offered by tour operators but was quick to note that this is a state policy aimed at putting the country in the spotlight. Moreover,  the launch of a joint product with Greece and Turkey is still at its iniitial stage and it will be mainly focused on cultural tourism.

“Although Bulgaria and Japan are geographically distant, they share a common background which will help expand the bilateral cooperation in all areas”, pointed out Kentaro Sonoura. Last year our country was visited by more than 12 thousand Japanese tourists. This makes for a 7% increase compared to 2013. Despite the small rates, the interest shown can be enhanced with consistent actions in the next 3 to 5 years.

The meeting was attended by H.E. Takashi Koizumi, Japanese Ambassador for the Republic of Bulgaria; Daisuke Tsubaki, Secretary of the Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan; Takeshi Ogino, First Secretary at the Embassy of Japan;  Aya Otaki, cultural attaché at the Embassy of Japan;  H.E. Georgi Vasilev, Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria in Japan;  Peter Nikolaev, consular in the ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria in Japan; and experts from the Ministry of Tourism.

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