Bollywood star actor, producer and director Ajay Devgan is to star in a video to promote Bulgarian tourism, to be broadcast in the Indian market, Bulgarian Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova said.
Devgan is visiting Bulgaria on a location-hunting trip for a forthcoming production and has agreed to take part in the Bulgarian Tourism Ministry’s new advertising campaign, Angelkova said in Varna on June 12 after a meeting with local authorities and tourism industry representatives.
The ministry’s strategy for the promotional videos includes a “personal touch” element, with celebrities from target markets taking part in promoting Bulgaria as a tourist destination in their own countries.
According to Angelkova, India is a market with a population of 1.2 billion and Bulgaria had a “real chance” to expand its position there.
The number of Indian tourists who visited Bulgaria in 2014 was more than 8400, an increase of close to 60 per cent compared with 2013.
Indian tourists were interested mainly in Bulgaria’s historic sites, spa services, shopping and city tours.
In Varna, Angelkova discussed important issues regarding the development of Bulgaria’s tourist industry, including infrastructure, management of beaches, security in resorts, lack of qualified personnel, among other issues, the ministry said.
She said that her ministry was continuing dialogue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about facilitating the procedures for issuing visas, but the process takes time.
Angelkova said that among the most important tasks facing the ministry was currently finalising work on regulating the status of national resorts in the shortest possible time.
She said that tour operators expected an increase in the number of tourists from many countries this summer to compensate for the decline of Russia and Ukraine – from Germany, about five per cent, Greece 10 per cent, Poland eight per cent, Turkey 10 per cent, Belarus four to six per cent, Czech Republic and Macedonia three per cent, Serbia, and Austria up to 15 per cent, Moldova 40 per cent, France more than five per cent, Israel 10 per cent, Latvia and Lithuania, more than 40 per cent.
Meanwhile, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television reported that landslides along Bulgaria’s northern Black Sea coast and the shortage of staff were two of the long-term problems of the tourism business along that part of the coast, according to representatives of major seaside resorts near Varna. They demanded an adequate strategy for promoting Bulgaria abroad.
Angelkova is seeking 14 million leva (about 7.15 million euro) for promoting Bulgaria abroad in 2015, about triple the sum available in 2015. Earlier this year, the ministry spent about two million leva on promoting 50 lesser-known tourist sites in Bulgaria.
(Photo of Nikolina Angelova and Ajay Devgan: Tourism Ministry)