Nikolina Angelkova: Russia remains among top five markets for Bulgarian tourism

20 November 2015

Russia is steadily among the 5 leading markets for Bulgarian tourism. Last year Bulgaria was visited by over 650,000 Russian tourists, which represents 9% of the total inbound tourist flow. Over 300,000 Russians already possess real estates in Bulgaria. All this is a precondition for increasing the tourist flow and for maximum utilization of the potential of our bilateral relations. This is what Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova stated at the opening of the roundtable “Prospects for the development of Bulgarian-Russian relations in the field of tourism. Specific opportunities to enhance the interest of Russian tourists to Bulgaria”.

Minister Angelkova announced that the conference sets the beginning of a series of discussions on leading markets for Bulgarian tourism. The fact that this series opens with a meeting with our Russian partners underscores the importance of the Russian market for the sector. “Summer'2015 was a complicated season for our mutual tourist flow, but despite all difficulties, the results proved much better than the initial forecasts and in some places local businesses even recorded gains. This is especially true for 4 and 5 star hotels. For the period June to September 2015 the number of foreigners who have stayed in our high category hotels is over 1.2 million, which is almost 10% increase, while the revenues from their stay has seen 12% growth against the same period of 2014”, stressed the Minister.

In this context, she added, in terms of number of tourists this year Russia ranks fourth among our generating foreign markets. This summer Russian tourists in Bulgaria amounted to around 400,000 which represents 10% of the total tourist flow.
Minister Angelkova drew attention to the partner contacts with Russian regions. “We want to reveal to them the diversity of our country and to strengthen the mutual contacts through competitive bids for other types of tourism beyond the traditional sea and winter holidays”, she said, adding that since the beginning of the year an independent representation of Bulgaria with a tourist portfolio has opened in Moscow. It was awarded the status of an associate member of the Association of Tour Operators in Russia (ATOR), which is a high attestation of its work. This has placed on an entirely different basis the relations between our two countries in the field of tourism.

Thanks to the joint efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bulgaria has eased the procedures for issuing visas to Russian citizens, the Ministry of Tourism having allocated over BGN 330 thousand from its budget to provide for the processing and issuance of documents prior to and during the summer season, Minister Angelkova explained in the remarks.

She recommended to encourage bilateral business efforts to enhance tourist flows in the wings of the seasons and to expand the charter program. “At present we are actively preparing ourselves for Winter’2015 and in parallel are launching massive advertising activities for Summer’2016. Fortunately, Bulgaria continues to be among the destinations sought by Russian tourists”, said Minister Angelkova. Historical and cultural tourism and strategic partnership with major international tour operators and low cost airlines are among the highlights in the promotional and marketing activities of the Ministry for 2016. Promoting Bulgaria among Russian tourists as a year-round destination is aimed at Russian children's camps programs in the country, intensification of pilgrimage, development of contacts between high schools and universities.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Minister of Tourism Irena Georgieva, who made a detailed presentation on the Bulgarian-Russian relations in tourism and the profile of the Russian tourist. The Consul General of the Russian Federation in Varna Sergey Lukanchuk focuses on the need to continue onerous tourist visa issuance policy and expressed hope that as of next season charter flights to Bulgaria will be opened from Kaliningrad too. The Executive Director of the Ural Tourism Association Mikhail Maltsev expressed satisfaction with the restoration of the Bulgarian Consulate General in Yekaterinburg. Through its activities, increase in flights to Bulgaria and development of perennial joint products, the tourist flow from the Ural region to Bulgaria can be increased by 25-30%, he predicted.

The forum involved representatives from nearly 100 governments, organizations and companies specialized in tourism from both countries. Statements were also made by the Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy Zornitsa Rusinova, by Natalia Larionova, member of the leadership of the Russian Union of Tourist Industry, by Nina Lesina from the Union of Journalists in Russia, by representatives of the Bulgarian ministries of foreign affairs and transport, tour operators, hoteliers, etc.


Facebook icon
Twitter icon
Google icon
e-mail icon