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Bulgaria braces itself for 8 million tourists per year

Date: 11.01.2007

Bulgaria has set an annual target of eight million tourists, double the number of visitors this year, the regional development minister said.

Minister Assen Gagauzov joined the sixth edition of the major tourism event "Bulgaria Dream Area", which highlights the challenges the sector faces after the accession to the European Union.

Bulgaria's tourism sector generated more than EUR 2 B of revenues this year from four million visitors. The sector accounts for 14% of Bulgaria's GDP and creates more than 140,000 jobs.

Experts from the Finance Ministry and the ministry of Economy and Energy presented at the conference the opportunities for tourism development by absorbing EU structural funds.

They pointed out that these opportunities are spread in a number of "operative programs", which are the main documents for EU funds absorption in the period 2007-20013.

The "Regional development" program, focal for the tourism sector, will be accessible to only 88 out of all 246 municipalities in the country, where the tourism product is not well developed, the experts warned.

Beneficiaries in the program are municipalities, which want to invest in restoration and preservation of tourism sites.

Other programs, relating to the tourism sector, deal with environment, competitiveness, human resources development and transport.

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