This year will be an extremely difficult one for Bulgaria’s tourism industry because of strong competition in the region, Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova said.
There was some decline in early summer bookings from the Russian and German markets, and while there was a slight increase in the flights to Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Bourgas, a decrease in flights to Varna was expected, Angelkova said.
Speaking at a meeting in Sofia of the National Tourism Council, she said that her ministry was putting an emphasis on targeted advertising in major markets.
Together with national resorts, investment forums were being prepared, to develop them as centres of congress tourism and expand the length of the tourism seasons, she said.
The year 2018 had been one of the most successful for tourism in Bulgaria throughout its history, with more than nine million foreign tourists visiting, according to Angelkova.
She said that since the establishment of the Tourism Ministry as a stand-alone ministry, record results had been achieved in comparison with 2015 – a 31 per cent increase in the number of visits by foreign tourists and a 34 per cent increase in revenue from international tourism.
Given the dynamics in the tourism industry and the international competition, two steps were needed. First, legislation to improve the quality of the tourism product, and second, the development of diverse types of tourism besides winter and summer.
The aim was to develop Bulgaria as a year-round destination, directing services to different types of tourists – children, millennials and the 55 plus, Angelkova said.
Secondary legislation had been prepared in line with the Cabinet’s policy of reducing administrative burdens, she said, adding that the activities of tourist companies were being strictly monitored to ensure compliance with the Tourism Act and urgent steps were taken in the event of non-compliance.
Since 2015, revenue from concessions of beaches had risen from 13 million leva to 18.2 million leva in 2018, Angelkova said.