Travel and Tourism - Bulgaria - November 2013
Bulgaria is one of the smallest economies in the European Union (EU). Making the transition to a free-market economy has not been without its difficulties and Bulgaria still has issues to tackle. However, tourism has proved to be a jewel in its crown, attracting over 8.9 million visitors in 2012, according to the NSI. In the past decade, Bulgaria has become internationally recognised as a leading European destination and gained notoriety as one of the cheapest sun and sea locations in Europe.
In 2007, Bulgaria joined the EU, bringing considerable benefits to its tourism industry. One of the most significant developments from EU acccession was the liberalisation of its airline market, resulting in the entrance of new airlines from scheduled, charter through to low-cost airlines.
The focus on cultivating beach tourism has undoubtedly served the country well, but in order to grow tourism in the future, Bulgaria has to look to selling its cultural and natural assets. The country has an abundance of history dating back to ancient times, including historical buildings and monuments and nine UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism has recognised this strategy is needed and is marketing these features as part of its efforts to attract tourists year round. However, the country needs a strong brand if it is to compete more closely with the likes of Turkey and Greece. In 2013, it began work on its branding, starting with the creation of a new logo.
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