Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova: About 200,000 international tourists visited Bulgaria during Christmas and New Year’s holidays9 January 2017 | 10:38 | Bulgarian National Television
Host: We are now going to talk with outgoing Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova. The bad weather for some is some good news for others. While the media are inciting panic and hysteria around the bad meteorological conditions, others are enjoying the good weather and rich snow cover in the mountains. What about the tourism sector, are you satisfied? The winter tourist season was opened less than a month ago in December?
Nikolina Angelkova: Indeed, there is less than a month since the winter season started, much earlier than usual thanks to the snow, and we already have information about the number of international and Bulgarian tourists at the resorts during the holidays, speaking of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
About 400,000 Bulgarians visited and realised an overnight stay on the territory of Bulgaria during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, while probably about 140,000 Bulgarians went on a trip abroad, mostly to neighbouring destinations.
About 200,000 international tourists visited the country during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
In fact, the growth tendency has been preserved in December, too. In November 2016 we reported 25% growth compared with November 2015, which is about 400,000 more international tourists only in November, a moth that has never welcomed so many tourists before. We expect this tendency to be preserved in December, too and eventually report more than 8 million international tourists for 2016, which will be for the first time since statistical data on tourism have been kept.
Host: Another record. Obviously, you can boast only with such record-high figures and facts during your mandate. You mentioned a steady growth both in November and in December. The number of tourists in Bulgaria is constantly growing, we have welcomed international tourists during the winter holidays. What is the final balance stricken, is there a good profit?
Nikolina Angelkova: Of course. This is the most important thing and our major goal, apart from having such a huge growth in the number of international tourists, in the number of tourists in general who are visiting our country, is to have a huge growth in the revenues, too.
According to official ten-month data, we report about EUR 3 billion revenues, which is 15% more compared with the previous year. There are two more months and I think that by the end of the year the sum will increase to about BGN 6.3 – 6.4 billion, which is an impressive figure, a really impressive growth.
Host: What is your explanation for this interest? Is it because of the bad situation in our neighbouring countries, the crisis situation in Turkey, the outflow of tourists from Turkey, because Greece was awash with refugees?
Nikolina Angelkova: Why should we always look for a reason outside? For the first time we have an independent ministry of tourism and for the first time our government focused its efforts and attention to this sector, which is very important for the economy.
In fact, in tourism we have the following situation – in the first year you lay the groundwork and start building on it and in the next year you get the fruits. That is why it was very important for us to start advertising and start working on Season 2017 last year, as we expect this year to be as successful as 2016.
For the first time the efforts of the government were focused on the development and assistance of tourism’s development because it is a horizontal sector, it is depends on all other sectoral ministries – infrastructure, security, social policy, education.
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