Tourism 2017: And the winner is ….. Bulgaria

Written by on December 30, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Tourism 2017: And the winner is ….. Bulgaria

There is nothing like taking an extended walk through Old Town Sozopol. The distinguished tourist with that large Nikon camera hanging around his neck would typically walk to the outer edge, until he sees the most romantic restaurants ever. Those offer a stunning view of the Black Sea, apart from great salads.

Hiking the Balkan mountain range is a lasting experience as well. While the first tick bites the adventurous tourist, he or she will shoot that breathtaking view with that Nikon. Priceless is the moment the fearless traveller runs away in panic, after spotting something which looks like a bear and behaves like one too.

The third tourist type will most likely enjoy his or her excellent, inexpensive meal at a “Happy” restaurant in Sofia. After checking out Nevski Cathedral, he or she will find the Archaeological Museum, the old stones at Serdika Metro, and Vitosha Boulevard, which he or she will walk up and down, and up again.

Bulgaria, the tourist haven. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

These types of tourists, along with skiers in Bansko and Borovets, literally invaded Bulgaria this year. The Ministry of Tourism just released its latest numbers, which are impressive indeed. From January through November of 2017, the country registered exactly 8,425,620 foreign tourists. The growth compared to last year amounts to 7.3 percent. Holy cow!

Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova is probably the happiest person in Bulgaria: “The data are very good. If we keep this increase, we have a real chance to go over 9 million tourists for this year. That would be a record and we will work hard to reach this goal”, she said.

One thing is certain: In spite of the killer numbers she was in a position to announce, Minister Angelkova will not sit in the pool with a Gin Tonic in her hand, since there is more work to do. She announced the Ministry of Tourism would continue its efforts of transforming Bulgaria into a year-round tourist destination.

Especially tourists from three of the five neighbouring countries came to Bulgaria a lot. The Greek are crazy about Bulgaria. So are the Romanians. And the Turks. Bulgaria counted 1.06 million visitors from Greece during the period mentioned above. This is an increase of 8 percent.

Thanks to Wizz Air and Ryanair, Sofia is a popular tourist destination. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

The Romanians hit the second place: 1.05 million squeezed themselves into their Dacias, in order to cross their southern border. Regarding Turkish tourists in Bulgaria, the increase is a whooping 12 percent.

Germans generally travel like crazy, and they did come to Bulgaria a lot. To be exact: 853,120 of them stepped on Bulgarian soil. It was mostly sand at the Black Sea beaches. The increase here is 5 percent.

Nikolina Angelkova is already eyeing 2018. And she did mention a big number. She wants to “strive to reach 10 million foreign tourists who would prefer our country for rest or travel.” Her goal is not unrealistic. At the same time, the question is: How long can Bulgaria maintain this kind of growth in the important tourism sector?

In the meantime, the Bulgarian National Bank has been counting all the cash those tourists left behind. The number they came up with is 6.3 billion leva in revenues. They still have to add the income for the last few weeks of 2017.

Sofia, Bulgaria: The new tourist magnet

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