Thomas Cook is looking for possibilities to increase its market share in Bulgaria as tourist flow to the country is set to reach between 160 000 and 180 000 people

26 February 2015
Thomas Cook is looking for possibilities to increase its market share in Bulgaria as tourist flow to the country is set to reach between 160 000 and 180 000 people

Thomas Cook and Neckermann are looking for possibilities to increase their market share in view of a predicted flow of 160-180 000 tourists. This became clear during a meeting between the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova, Thomas Cook’s contracting manager for Bulgaria Alexander Wrede and Hristo Galbachev, the chief executive officer and chair of the board of directors of Astral Holidays – the official authorized agent for Thomas Cook and Neckermann in Bulgaria.  

The representatives of the tour operator said that they expect a difficult summer season but will continue working on all of their traditional markets. At the moment an increase in the number of additional flights of Neckermann Polska to Varna is observed. About 60 to 65 000 tourists from the Scandinavian countries are also expected to visit the country.

“I initiated this meeting because I wanted us to get in contact and to assure you that you can rely on my cooperation”, said Nikolina Angelkova. The representatives of Thomas Cook said that they appreciated the fact that Bulgaria already has its Ministry of Tourism with which they could cooperate or address any issues to.  

“Traditionally we have about 2 million overnight stays at the Black Sea during the summer season which makes Thomas Cook one of the biggest tour operators in Bulgaria”, said Alexander Wrede. He noted that some publications in the media about Thomas Cook terminating its flights to Bulgaria were quite an unpleasant surprise.  “Indeed, this year, we tried to restore our charter program from Great Britain to Varna which has been out of service for six years now but the demand was low and we gave up the launch of the two planned flights”, explained Alexander Wrede. According to him there isn’t much demand in Great Britain for our northern Black Sea coast destinations and the other types of tourism that are developed there.

“Varna and the region offer wonderful conditions for golf tourism that we must present to the English market”, said Minister Angelkova. She mentioned that a tourist attaché is to be appointed in Great Britain. “Hopefully this will boost our growth on this market”, said Nikolina Angelkova.  The participants in the meeting agreed to coordinate their efforts in making Bulgaria more recognizable.

Possibilities for other forms of cooperation and the realization of other initiatives that would improve the tourist product were also discussed at the meeting. “Thomas Cook is an important partner for us because it covers most of our target markets – the whole of Europe, including Great Britain”, said Minister Angelkova. She noted that the data which the tour operator can provide could also be quite valuable in terms of the planning of our promotional campaign on these markets. 50% of the tourists in Great Britain plan their vacation online while in the Scandinavian countries this share reaches up to 70%.  In Germany, on the other hand, a scarce 10-15% book their holidays online, was explained at the meeting.

According to the representatives of the tour operator, internationally, there’s beeb great demand for tours that include major tourist attractions. Minister Angelkova informed them that cultural and historical routes have already been created and they will be promoted through the so called “celeb tours”. “Our main goal is to present Bulgaria as a year-round destination, focusing on cultural and historical tourism”, explained Nikolina Angelkova.

Next week Minister Angelkova is expected to hold a meeting with the management of Thomas Cook and Neckermann during the International Tourist Exhibit ITB Berlin.



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