пресконференция на НБТ Mrs. Polly Karastoyanova (left), Mr. Krassimir Gergov, Mr. Martin Zahariev and Doc. Roumen Draganov
Source and photo: NBT

Press Conference of the National Tourism Board Association

On 31 May 2017, at the National Press Club of the BTA News Agency, the National Tourism Board Association (NTB) held a press conference on: “Presenting the main topics featuring in the agenda of the upcoming Fourth Congress of the National Tourism Board, to be held under the patronage of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov”.

The press conference was given by Mr. Krassimir Gergov – Chair of the NTB Managing Board, Mr. Martin Zahariev – Managing Director of NTB, Doc. Roumen Draganov – Chair of the NTB Supervisory Board, and Mrs. Polly Karastoyanova – Deputy Chair of the NTB Managing Board.

The reason for convening the Fourth Congress of the National Tourism Board is the Association’s desire to re-initiate the debate about the amendment and upgrade of the policies and regulatory framework of the Bulgarian tourism sector, said Martin Zahariev. This is the first general meeting of the tourism business community after the election of the 44th General Assembly and the formation of the regular government.

Invited to attend are Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and five cabinet ministers: Nikolina Angelkova – Minister of Tourism, Boíl Banov – Minister of Culture, Lilyana Pavlova – Minister for the Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2018, Nikolay Nankov – Minister of Regional Development, and Emil Karanikolov – Minister of the Economy. Together with MP’s sitting on parliamentary industry committees, they will be the official speakers at the panel discussions announced in the agenda. With the participation of mayors, non-governmental organisations, leading investors, tour operators and experts from the tourism community, the discussions will address the main issues facing the tourism industry.

The tourism industry reports a considerable growth in the number of tourists in Sofia since the launch of low-cost flights.

The most important issue is the reform of the tourism industry, Mr. Zahariev pointed out, and Doc. Draganov added that the present legislation is too sluggish for the investors. Since 1998, only 3 laws have been passed, all of them flawed.

China is a new destination and that type of tourists are very active. So this topic will also be part of the Congress agenda, said Mr. Krassimir Gergov – Chair of the NTB Managing Board. Martin Zahariev’s position is that Bulgaria should either grant Chinese citizens visa-free access, or the visa process should be speeded up to take less than the current about 2 weeks. Besides, direct flights should be organised to Beijing and Shanghai.

Participants in the forum will also talk about the use of innovative digital communication strategies in tourism, the free stage of modern art as an investment in tourism, Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.

In its platform, NTB calls for a new conceptual framework of the Tourism Act, looking to achieve a separation of powers. Also, the state’s responsibility to manage the tourist attractions, which are public property, must be clearly outlined.