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Bulgaria's tourism growth slackens

Date: 21.10.2005

The pace of development of Bulgaria's tourism has slowed down over the last year, experts commented, painting a grim forecast for the future of the sector.

"Accommodation facilities along the Black Sea coast have doubled, while growth in the number of tourists is a one-digit figure," says Aneliya Damyanova, expert from the Center for Economic Development.

She took part in a public debate in the coastal town of Burgas on European initiatives for entrepreneurship incentives and increase in the administrative capacity for absorbing EU funds at the end of the week. The event focused on the Southeastern region and was part of a series of similar debates, organized by the Delegation of the European Commission to Bulgaria to disseminate relevant information about the consequences of Bulgaria's accession to the European Union.

According to Aneliya Damyanova the problems fretting the development of tourism in the Southeastern region are indicative of the challenges that the sector faces across the country.

Disproportionate specialized infrastructure, rampant overconstruction and urbanization of the landscape, poor water supply and sewage systems, brain drain and lack of marketing research and professional management are already dragging Bulgaria to the club of the cheapest tourist destinations in Europe, according to her.

"The Southeastern region has favourable conditions for the development of a all forms of traditional and alternative tourism. Its huge potential however is restricted to sea tourism, which has engulfed 98% of the facilities and revenues in the region."

Aneliya Damyanova called for development of multicultural tourism products in the region and adoption of legislation on Bulgaria's Black sea coast.

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