Minister Angelkova at the conference in Sofia regarding the establishment of new Danube cultural routes: Culture and tourism have the potential to make us stronger and more united

30 September 2019

Her Royal Highness Princess Dana Firas, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of “Petra National Trust” , took part in the forum

“Bulgaria is using all possibilities to strengthen the role of tourism and through it to help for the long-term development of the Danube region. Culture and tourism are essential for the success of the EC strategy for this part of the continent and have the potential to make us stronger and more united.” These were the words of the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova during the opening of the conference in Sofia on: Establishment of new cultural routes in the Danube region.

Dana Firas, Princess of Jordan, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of “Petra National Trust”, took part in the forum organized by the Ministry of Tourism and the Council of Europe. Her Royal Highness is in the country at the invitation of the Bulgarian Minister of Tourism. The Minister of Culture Boil Banov also took part in the discussions. 

Minister Angelkova emphasized the significant contribution of our country to the establishment of three different types of thematic destinations – cultural-historical, wine-culinary and balneo- and SPA which had considerably increased the interest of the tourists. “This is also a way to bring people together. The number of visits to these sites has increased significantly – for some destinations the rise exceeds 100%”, announced she.

 “As an European initiative the Danube cultural platform aims to expand the cultural routes. Despite the big international competition, our country is winning bigger and bigger recognition as a destination of strong tourism and the whole government supports the sector,” added the minister. “Almost 12% of the GDP is formed by tourism and last year it attracted for the first time over 9 million foreign tourists,“ pointed she. “Bulgaria is getting more and more attractive on the geographic map. Tsarevets, Panagyurishte, the bridge of Kolyo Ficheto, Veliki Preslav, Pliska, Nessebar and many others are among the most visited places of interest. The routes are our chance to obliterate the borders and prejudices,” said Minister Angelkova.

The Princess of Jordan Dana Firas drew attention to the fact that the cultural heritage is our identity but it also connects us to all parts of the world. “The investments improve the possibilities of tourism and the quality of life. The Danube region is very important as it unites member states of the EU and states which are not part of it. Our discussion is happening at a time when we can clearly see the damages from the short-sighted thinking on development. When tourism is well organized, there is balance between its development and the preservation of the cultural heritage. Here I have seen exactly this. It is an honour to be in Bulgaria – a country rich in cultural and historical heritage,” said Her Royal Highness. “It is important to meet and discuss various initiatives. I am impressed with the vision of Minister Angelkova,” she summarized.

After the end of the conference Minister Angelkova announced before the media that the ministry was ready to start a pilot initiative – preparation of memorandum for cooperation with “Petra National Trust” for training of the coming generation how to preserve the cultural heritage by using the experience of the organization. The establishment of public councils for the large cultural sites  which would help their preservation and promotion was also considered.

“Culture and creative sectors play an important role for the development of the country and I am sure that our cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism will continue,” said Minister Banov. “Our joint work will contribute to the expansion of the collaboration of the countries in the region as well as for exchange of good practices. The government recognizes cultural tourism as a key topic. It is a main priority and we will continue to work on it and to upgrade the achieved”.

“I am happy because this conference is held in Sofia – a city of millennial history where cultural tourism holds an important place,” these were the words of the deputy-mayor of the capital, ass. prof. Dr Todor Chobanov. “A huge part of the tourists visit Bulgaria precisely because of the cultural tourism in our country. I greet the efforts of both ministries as the number of the tourists who have chosen the cultural tourism is increasing every year. Our museums are very interesting for the foreigners,” said ass. prof. Chobanov.


Constanze Metzger, Routes4u senior project officer of the Council of Europe, emphasized the importance of the Danube region which is rich not only in natural and cultural resources but also in great cultural variety. “We are talking about two new route projects – the Iron Age and Cyril and Methodius,” said she. “The cultural routes cross at least 3 countries and are trans-national, they preserve their heritage. Europe is not just a political and economic union but a union of cultures,” commented Metzger. “The two routes will turn out to be successful only if we collaborate and thus transfer the past into the future. They will be most efficient if the local communities are included and if we all benefit from our strengths,” summarized she.

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