UNWTO Head: Bulgaria Can Expect More Foreign Tourists in 2010

Sofia News Agency

The Bulgarian government forecasts a 5% increase in the number of foreign tourists in 2010, according to Economy Minister Traicho Traikov.

Traikov also said Wednesday that the number of Bulgarian holidaymakers within the country will also likely be on the rise in 2010.

The World Tourism Organization expects a 3%-4% growth on international trips worldwide in 2010, and a 1%-3% of the tourists within Europe, announced Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UNWTO.

Rifai is in Bulgaria for the meeting of the Europe Travel Commission of the World Tourism Organization which took place in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia on April 27-28, 2010.

According to Rifai, the forecasts of the Bulgarian government for an increased number of foreign tourists are realistic.

UNWTO data shows that the tourism revenue worldwide decreased by 6% down to EUR 611 B in 2009, and the number of tourists dropped by 4%.

In 2009, the number of foreign tourists in Bulgaria declined by only 0.7% but the income from their trips was down by 6.7% to BGN 2.7 B.

Bulgaria’s Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism Traikov said after his meeting with Rifai that the growth of tourists depended mostly on the offering of varied services and attractions.

Some of the ideas that Bulgarian tourism experts have discussed with members of the UNWTO include the setting up of a national tourism organization, defining tourist regions, and establishing a national tourism information system.

“The options for starting a national organization are to make it part of the Ministry of Economy or to set it up as a fully separate structure through a public-private partnership so that whoever contributes money for advertising can have a say in how it is spent,” explained Bulgarian Deputy Minister Ivo Marinov, who is in charge of Tourism.

Marinov said the structure and rights of a new Bulgarian national tourism organization may be incorporated in the new Tourism Act which will be adopted in the fall of 2010.



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