Ministry of Tourism takes part in a political debate in Brussels on the sector’s future

28 November 2017

Europe is a top tourism destination worldwide, if we wish to preserve that status, we need to tackle a number of challenges – infrastructure, accommodation capacity, qualified human resources, administrative burden, innovations, and digitalization. This was stated by the Deputy Minister of Tourism of Bulgaria, Irena Georgieva, during the political debate entitled The Future of Tourism in EU, which was held today in Brussels by the European Commission. The forum was dedicated to the European Tourism Day.

Deputy Minister Georgieva emphasized that the tourism industry is a strategic sector and a source of economic growth and employment. This also holds true for Bulgaria, which welcomed over 8 million international tourists in 2016 – more than its own population.

Our government is working actively to modernize infrastructure and have better connectivity with neighbouring countries because this is crucial to the development of tourism and to the promotion of transport on the Danube and in the Black Sea, she said further. The Bulgarian Deputy Minister also announced that in recent years the growing number of international tourists is surpassing the growth in the accommodation facilities’ capacity. Therefore, attraction of more investors from large hotel chains is being encourage for the construction of new facilities, higher-end ones – both for the mass scale winter and summer vacations, as well as for medical spa, medical, cultural-historical, and other types of specialized tourism. The Ministry also set up the interactive I love Bulgaria platform, which has in-depth information about tourism locations in our country and the various services offered by such locations.

Irena Georgieva also announced that the Ministry of Tourism is implementing specific actions to overcome the discrepancy between the educational curricula and the actual needs of businesses for qualified tourism staff. The opening of a tourism staff qualification centre is an upcoming event. Amendments to the Tourism Act will also digitalize various administrative services, which will facilitate the activities of tourism businesses, investors, and users, she emphasized.

Deputy Minister Georgieva paid specific attention to Bulgaria’s upcoming presidency of the EU Council as of the start of next year. The Ministry of Tourism will organize two summit events during that period – a ministerial meeting on February 13, 2018 - Tourism and Economic Growth – and an international forum dedicated to tourism and energy on May 23, 2018. Furthermore, next year Bulgaria will also preside EU’s Strategy for the Danube Region. On 18 October its annual forum will be held, which is dedicated to economic growth and territorial cohesion.

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