Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/27/2014 -- Growth in the Bulgarian travel and tourism sector slowed during the review period (2008-2012) driven by decline in domestic trips at a CAGR of -3.78%. However, growth in domestic trips was recorded in 2012 supported by the economic improvements in the country. Timetric expects the Bulgarian tourism sector to record healthy growth over the forecast period (2013-2017), in line with growth in supporting industries. The government and tourism agencies have been making continuous efforts to increase tourism activity in the country.
- Despite the National Strategy for Tourism's (NST) attempts to reposition Bulgaria as a high-class tourist destination, it is still viewed by tourists as 'cheap'. The country's biggest advantage is that it is an all-year-round holiday destination, with both beaches and ski resorts. However, poor infrastructure, insufficient advertising and poor service means it is not reaching its full potential.
- Tourists from emerging markets such as Brazil and India increased during the review period; in 2012, 3,000 Indian tourists visited the country. The Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria, in association with the Bulgarian Tourism Authority and National Tourist Board, started to promote the country's tourism offerings in India to encourage a further increase in tourist arrivals. With rapidly rising incomes in Russia allowing citizens to spend more on holidays, and Bulgaria's favorable visa policy, Russian tourists to Bulgaria increased from 201,124 in 2008 to 449,734 in 2012, at a review-period CAGR of 22.28%.
- The Bulgarian outbound market is very small, with only 758,296 trips made in 2012. In 2010, the number of outbound trips declined by 24.6%, primarily due to deteriorating economic conditions, rising unemployment and a decline in disposable income. Economic improvements led a return to growth at a rate of 16.7% in 2011, but the country slipped into recession again in 2012, resulting in a 2.3% decline in outbound tourism in the same year.
- The Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism aims to make Bulgaria more attractive to different tourists by developing health and wellness tourism, spa tourism, and meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) tourism through construction activities. According to the Bulgarian Union of Balneology and Spa Tourism, Bulgaria has over 100 spa and wellness centers; the industry is performing strongly due to rising demand for these services.
- In 2013, the Ministry commenced work on new branding at a cost of BGN1.6 million (EUR800,000). In March of the same year, a new brand logo was created to accommodate the views of all service providers and consumers in the travel and tourism sector. The rebrand aimed to position Bulgaria as an attractive and affordable tourist destination to increase tourism from key source markets including Germany, Russia, Romania and the UK.
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Companies Mentioned in this Report: Bulgaria Air, Wizz Air Bulgaria, S7 Airlines Bulgaria, Austrian Airlines Bulgaria, Lufthansa Airlines Bulgaria, Best Western Hotels Bulgaria, Melia Hotels Bulgaria, FPI Hotels & Resorts, Riu Hotels & Resorts Bulgaria, Grifid Hotels, Accor Hotels Bulgaria, Hilton Hotels Bulgaria, Hertz Rent a Car Bulgaria, Avis Rent a Car Bulgaria, Europcar Bulgaria, Magic Tours Ltd, Stars Travel Ltd, Valenta Plyus, Astral Holidays
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