Nikolina Angelkova, Minister of Tourism: Tourism is a cause, it brings better future for everyone, we can deal with the crises and challenges together

27 September 2019

Today we celebrate 27 September – the World Tourism Day

Dear colleagues and partners,

I would like to congratulate you on the World Tourism Day - 27 September which has been celebrated for more than 40 years under the  aegis of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) with the UN. On this date we express our gratitude to all people for whom tourism is a cause and who have accepted this difficult and responsible profession with both their head and their heart.  This profession is destiny of thousands of men and women in Bulgaria and is now hereditary for whole families. It requires a lot of effort, great working capacity, feeling of entrepreneurship, but also imagination as tourism is not simply a serious business, but also experience, emotion, even philosophy and attitude.

I would like to congratulate the foreign tourists who have chosen our country as their destination – for many of them this is not the first or even the second time to be here. Bulgaria always has lots to tell and show them from its nature, history, culture, way of life, traditions, authentic folklore. Our country can guarantee to its guests a calm but interesting visit, and contact with a large number of artifacts, plentiful mineral waters, picturesque terrain, various accommodations and entertainments for every taste. And all this – during all four seasons. I congratulate those Bulgarian tourists who have voted for the Bulgarian resorts choosing to spend most of their vacation in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria has huge potential to develop the sector which, together with the connected subbranches, generates almost 12% of the GDP and 11% of the total employment in Bulgaria.

On behalf of the tourist sector I would like to thank Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and my colleagues from the government for their support of tourism which has become a priority for the national economics. Thus the efforts of many institutions and organizations were focused for the sustainable development of its horizontal structure.

Throughout the years following the establishment of a separate Ministry of Tourism excellent results were achieves regarding the number of tourists, accommodation and the receipts from them for the whole history of the sector. In 2018 for the first time we exceeded the limit of 9 million foreign tourist visits. The income from the inbound tourism exceeded 7.3 billion BGN. More than 4 million people were accommodated in high-class hotels which comes to indicate that we offer a quality product at an attractive price.

Now, despite the strong international competition, we continue to build on our achievements in a number of markets. From the beginning of 2019 till July inclusive, our country attracted more than 5.1 million visits of foreign tourists. In the period June-July 2019 the NSI recorded a 2% rise of the foreign tourists staying in hotels of 10 beds or more along our Black Sea coast. During that period the visitors from Ukraine were with 26% more in comparison with June-July 2018, from Moldova – with over 14%, from Great Britain and Greece – over 9 %, from Turkey – over 6%, from the Netherlands – over 9%, from Hungary – almost 35%, from Slovakia – around 17%, from Ireland – almost 45%, from China – over 13% etc. This was the strongest June-July period according to number of Bulgarians staying in hotels with 10 or more beds over the last years. The overall increase among our fellow countrymen is almost 13%.

I believe that with joint efforts we can continue this positive trend in the tourist industry although today, at the end of season summer 2019, we are facing a critical situation of international scale which will inevitably affect Bulgaria as well. We are confronted by extremely difficult and complex challenges. We depend on collaboration with the responsible business so that together we can minimize the possible negative consequences for tourism and to overcome the case of the bankruptcy of one of the biggest world tour operators. I believe that we will act like real professionals and will protect the interests of all tourists in our country as well as of the Bulgarian tourist companies in order not to damage the image of our country as a destination for organized tourism which provides secure and comfortable stay.

This year the topic of the world celebration of 27 September is “Tourism and Jobs: A better future for all”.   According to data of the WTO the sector generates 10% of the work positins in the world and participates actively in the aims for sustainable development because of its potential to offer worthy jobs and to  stimulate the local culture and the typically regional products. 

According to the International Labour Organization the accommodation and restaurant activities together with the services of the private sector will create most employment possibilities over the next five years. The micro-, small and average enterprises are the main driving forces in our professional sphere. The international researches indicate that about half of the teams work in companies of less than 10 people and about three quarters – in companies having personnel of less than 50 people. This sphere creates more employment possibilities for youths and women than any other sphere and opens more job positions in the rural and distant regions.

In our country there are about 27 000 enterprises in the hotel and restaurant industries. In 2018 the total number of the people in Bulgaria engaged in tourism and  the connected economic activities are over 346 000, but more joint efforts are required to increase their number and skills in order to “secure” the business with enough qualified personnel. The aim of the competitive product is uncompromising quality. These and many other issues regarding the preparation and engagement of the employees are dealt with in the Inter-Agency Council for Personnel in Tourism which we established with the Ministry of Tourism. We apply good world practices and the experience of leading countries when taking decisions and for all legislative initiatives.

The tourist industry is one of the most powerful levers to stimulate the economics of the planet. According to data of the World Tourism Organization, in 2018 the countries around the world have reported a total of 1.4 billion visits of foreign tourists and the rise in comparison with 2017 is more than 5%. According to World Travel & Tourism Council tourism and the connected subbranches  have created in 2018 a global GDP of 8.8  trillion dollars which is 10.4% of the world GDP and thus have accomplished a 3% increased in comparison to 2017. Tourism and its accompanying activities provide for about 10% of the work places on the Earth – last year 319 million people were occupied in this sphere.

These achievements must be encouraged and developed in each country. New, dynamic ideas are required to increase the potential of tourism, to open more and better work positions via digital transformation and modern technologies.

Life confronts us with new challenges and their successful solution guarantees good future of all people via tourism. We can and we will do it together!

Congratulations! I wish you all health and excellence!

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