More than 100 tourism companies and industry organisations from Bulgaria and Russia discussed measures to increase the tourist flow in 2016

25 February 2016

The round table organized by the Ministry of Tourism in Moscow attracted a very high interest. More than 100 tourism companies and industry organisations from Bulgaria and Russia took part in it and discussed measures to increase the tourist flow in 2016. The meeting was attended by the Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria, Nikolina Angelkova, and the Head of the Federal Tourism Agency of Russia, Oleg Safonov.

The Bulgarian delegation included also the Deputy President of the National Assembly Krasimir Karakachanov, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Friendship Group Bulgaria – Russia, Krasimir Velchev, the Chairperson of the Economic Policy and Tourism Parliamentary Committee, Petar Kanev, and his deputy Daniela Saveklieva, the mayors of Kavarna and Velingrad, Nina Stavreva and Kostadin Koev, the Deputy Mayor of Sofia, Todor Chobanov, the Deputy Mayor of Burgas, Yordanka Ananieva, representatives of other Bulgarian municipalities and resorts, of Varna and Burgas airports, tourism associations, etc. From the Russian side, the round table was attended by the Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators in Russia, Maya Lomidze, representatives of federal sectoral administrations, organisations for economic cooperation, tourism associations and companies, chambers of commerce and industry, trade unionists, educational institutions, etc.

“Today’s hearing of Bulgaria in the Russian Duma is appreciation of what the Government and the businesses are doing for the Russian market”, said Minister Angelkova. According to her, the most important from now on is that the industry can offer attractive services so as to report a substantial growth in the Russian market in 2016. For its part, the Ministry will continue to actively present our country at the forthcoming largest tourism fairs in Moscow – Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (MITT) and Inturmarket. It is planned to conduct in parallel with them specialised forums for children’s tourism and to promote links between the regions of Russia and the local authorities in Bulgaria. The Head of the Federal Tourism Agency Oleg Safonov pointed out that Bulgaria offered high quality products and that it was very important to develop not only the mass summer tourism but specialist services as well – balneo and spa, religious and cultural tourism, etc.

“Bulgaria has an enormous chance to attract more Russian tourists”, said the Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, Maya Lomidze. She stressed that in the upcoming summer the price would be a major factor when choosing a destination and therefore it would be important for the Bulgarian business to offer attractive packages. According to her, our country is easily accessible and visas are issued quickly and without further formalities.

The representatives of the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association emphasised that they had already started working in this direction by preparing a list of concrete proposals to Russian tourists, which will be presented to Minister Angelkova. Among them is the possibility for organised Russian groups to use the free transfer from the airport to their hotel, additional specialised services at preferential or zero rates, etc.

“The Bulgarian Parliament and the Bulgarian Government have been working to create the best travel conditions for Russian tourists, our goal being to assist the tourist business as much as possible”, pointed out the Vice-President of the National Assembly, Krasimir Karakachanov. He paid attention to the fact that Bulgaria and Russia are two close nations connected by a rich history.

The Deputy Mayor of Sofia, Todor Chobanov, said that Sofia Municipality was ready to organise ice-breaking tours for Russian journalists and tour operators. He pointed out that Sofia was a leading destination for cultural and historical tourism, as here are concentrated a number of sites that attract interest in religious tourism. Attractive for Russian tourists are the sites of common cultural value – the Cathedral Temple St. Alexander Nevski”, a number of monuments, etc. concentrated in the capital city.

During the meeting it was stressed that Bulgaria had a lot to offer to Russian tourists all the year round, and that children’s tourism was a major trend in the tourist flow from Russia to our country. In this connection, it was appreciated that this season persons below 16 years of age will receive a free visa on arriving for organised children’s recreation in Bulgaria.

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