Tourism needs to become a national cause; this is a sector with potential to contribute most to the gross domestic product, said the Minister of Tourism Stela Baltova in the programme “The Week” on Darik radio. In her words, this cause is possible only through work with operational objectives, with a clearly defined strategic vision for tourism development in Bulgaria. In the short term this involves normal winter and summer seasons, as well as continuation of the policies and building preconditions for new policies in order to provide a high-quality tourist service. She stated she would work with her team to achieve that.
At this stage the winter season is developing successfully. There is a 19% growth of international tourists in December 2016 on December 2015. In December there is a 58% growth of tourists from Poland, 46% more from Germany, 10.6% from Russia, 33% from Great Britain, 27% from Greece and 15% from Turkey.
We expect a good summer season. The early bookings and reservations have started well. Bulgaria will participate in over 45 exhibitions with unified vision focused on cultural and historical tourism and will also promote Plovdiv as cultural capital of Europe in 2019.
Stela Baltova commented on the worldwide trends of growth in short-term trips as they are developing in our country.
We have to be ready to meet such a tourist in the best possible way, because he will stay in Bulgaria for a short time. Tourism in four seasons can be achieved if we successfully encourage this tourist to return. Such visitors are interested in another kind of tourism. They do not necessarily come on a vacation at the seaside or to ski. They want to see cultural and historical sites, to visit opera, ballet and sports events. We should have suitable products for these visitors, she added.
In this context, the Ministry of Tourism organizes two forums during the International Tourist Exchange “HOLIDAY SPA/EXPO”, which opens on 15 February 2017 in Sofia: “Short-term trips – a precondition for all-year-round tourism” and “How do low-cost companies change supply and demand?”
The provision of a smooth summer season entails good management of the beaches and providing health care services. The unguarded beaches are 97, by 31 March it will become clear which ones will remain unguarded, the acting Minister of Tourism Stela Baltova stated in the program “The Week” on Darik radio. According to Baltova, the goal is to reduce the burden of the state and to provide well-cleaned and well-maintained beaches. At the moment there are 49 effective contracts for concessions. For five of the beaches contracts are due to be signed and on three of them claims were lodged, said Stela Baltova. The Ministry of Tourism will exercise control in compliance with its powers over the implementation of concession and rental contracts.