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Bulgaria Tourism Sector Offers Ideas to Deal with Global Financial Crisis

Date: 05.11.2008

The Bulgarian state must undertake urgent measures to maintain and increase revenues from tourism in the conditions of the global financial crisis, is the opinion voiced by representatives of different tourist businesses and organizations in the country.

They spoke at a joint press conference on Tuesday.

"Bulgaria is known as a budget travel destination and for this reason we do not expect our tourism industry to crash, but the upcoming year is the time for us to double our profits, exactly for these reasons," according to Stephan Sharlopov, Chair of the Bulgarian SPA Union.

Sharlopov said that the State Tourism Agency's budget needed to be quadrupled in 2009 and reach BGN 22 M.

The tourism sector forms 15% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the measures to successfully fight the crisis need to be aimed at preserving and increasing these profits, Irina Naydenova, Chair of the Bulgarian Tourism Agencies Association explained, adding that such goal could be reached by increasing the resources for tourist advertisement and complex programs to improve the quality of services in the sector.

Vetko Arabadzhiev, Chair of the Union of Tourism Investors pointed out that such resources could be provided by the establishment of tourist taxes or creating special municipal funds.

According to Arabadzhiev, Bulgaria is as tourist destination offering a combination of good value and services, with decent infrastructure and sufficient investments, a destination that would soon surpass Turkey, where the tourism sector is tied up with the USD, which would inevitably lead to a price hike in Bulgaria's southeast neighbor.

Arabadzhiev pointed out that publicity needs to be focused more on countries such a Russia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania and Poland due to the traditionally strong interest towards Bulgaria.

Other ideas voiced at the press conference included the development of cultural, yacht and spa tourism so that Bulgaria could distance itself from the limiting image of a predominantly sea and ski destination.

The press conference participants stated that they opposed changes in the law for tourism and united around the proposal to create an entirely new tourism law.

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