среща Minister of Tourism Stela Baltova meets the tourism industry
Source and photo: Ministry of Tourism of Bulgaria

Minister of Tourism Stela Baltova meets the tourism industry

Minister of Tourism Stela Baltova held a first working meeting with the tourism industry and presented the priorities in her work. The discussion was joined by representatives of nearly 30 organizations and companies in the sector.

The establishment of a standalone Ministry of Tourism is an important political recognition of the importance of this sector, the interim cabinet will work towards its development and institutionalization, Minister Baltova emphasized at the very beginning.

She stated that her team will make maximum effort to ensure normal operation of the business by assisting the implementation of the interim government’s priorities.

„Geographically the world hasn’t changed but it has become smaller for the various types of businesses and nowadays we are noting the ever growing penetration of digital technologies, which multiply the tourism services. We need to “grab“ all opportunities to achieve a higher quality of the tourism services and be responsible to ourselves, to the business, and to our customers“, the minister said further.

She drew attention to the preparation of Summer 2017 and listed the key factors that her team will pay attention to – political stability, safety of tourists, combatting corruption and red tape. Among the crucial economic prerequisites the minister also identified the need for economic growth, people’s welfare, higher standard of living – factors, which boost the number of tourists worldwide. Other leading factors for dynamic development, which affect tourism, are the fuel prices, inflation, and exchange rates. Stela Baltova identified as one of the biggest problems in the sector the deficit of staff and the need for proper staff training.

Joint efforts are needed to work actively on the updating of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development of Tourism 2035, it was made clear by the minister. She expressed hope that discussion of the 2018 National Tourism Advertising Agenda, as well as of the options for funding tourism activities with non-budgetary under specific programs and projects, would commence as soon as possible.

The representatives of businesses stated various opinions on the topics discussed and made a number of proposals.

The Chair of the Bulgarian Tourism Chamber, Stoyan Lazarov, requested that a task group be set up to elaborate a concept for a brand new Tourism Act, he was supported by other attendees. He also raised the issue of establishment of a standalone unit for implementation of the Single Tourism Information System (STIS), making use of the experience of some municipalities and tourism organizations.