Zaritza Dinkova: The last six months were extremely dynamic and busy, but the efforts were worth

29 December 2023
Зарица Динкова: Последните шест месеца бяха изключително динамични и натоварени, но усилията си заслужаваха

In recent years, it has been continuously said that a strategic goal in the tourism sector is its sustainable development, and that Bulgaria should establish itself as a four-season destination.

When I took over as Minister, I found that Bulgaria had lost the confidence of important inbound tourism partners such as Germany, which is our main market, because of a number of promises made but not kept by previous governments. Trust is hard to gain, but it is quickly lost, so my focus internationally over these months has been precisely on rebuilding trust with our key partners, as well as creating new strategic partnerships for Bulgaria.

The last six months have been packed with important international events, meetings of the bodies of international organisations of which Bulgaria is a member, as well as a series of my meetings with line ministers in key markets for our country, including the UK, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belgium and Sweden. My team and I have met with business representatives from the Nordic market, Austria, Turkey, Greece and Spain to present to them in person the opportunities offered by our reform to support Black Sea municipalities.

Very dynamic and busy months, but well worth the effort. We now have 21 approved projects that will not only attract more tourists in the 2024 summer season, but also guarantee the multiplication of government investment in marketing and advertising Bulgaria. Thus, for the first time, the state is pooling its resources with those of local authorities and businesses.

It is high time to understand that tourism is also an international policy and an important tool for soft diplomacy. We cannot expect that we will increase the number of foreign tourists in our country if we do not show that our country is safe as a destination and that it is a reliable business partner. When tour operators make the choice between competing destinations and choose to invest in bringing tourists to Bulgaria, they take the risk of that choice. Attracting tourists is not easy in an increasingly competitive market, especially with years of political instability. That is why it was crucial that the state found a way to make its support clear and that I, as tourism minister, helped the business. Such a step was desired and awaited by them. Working with our political and business partners is key because it is necessary to work in parallel at both levels.

Tourism is not a service that is presented and delivered seasonally and campaigning. Developing a sustainable tourism product is not just a matter of national or local policy, but also of active international partnership.

Bulgaria's accession to Schengen will further increase interest in the opportunities our country offers for year-round holidays. In the coming months, I will work purposefully with local authorities to extend the scope of the reform. I will be FOCUSED ON WORKING with the large and established chains, as well as the small family-run hotels and guesthouses, which invest a great deal to offer tourists not just a holiday, but a real sense of home and warmth.

I would like to thank the team at the Ministry of Tourism for their professionalism and willingness to work even on their days off. Thank you to the representatives of serious business who believed in our ideas and offered us partnership. I believe that it is in this way, when we work as a team, that we will face a new and much more successful 2024, during which Bulgaria will take the place it deserves among the preferred tourist destinations.

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