The Ministry of Tourism is working hard to attract investors to the sector and world brands of the highest class hotel chains such as Four Seasons, Taj, Marriott and others. This was stated by Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova during a working meeting with the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA). She added that global chains such as Hyatt and Marriott have been already building several new luxury sites along the Black Sea coast, in Sofia and the interior of the country. A few weeks ago, the new InterContinental hotel in Europe, officially named Sofia, was officially opened in the capital, explained the minister.

Minister Angelkova explained that one of the main goals of the ministry is to establish Bulgaria as a sought-after and competitive tourist destination for four seasons. “The fact that our country is geographically situated in close proximity to one of the strongest tourist countries in Europe and the world does not discourage us, on the contrary – it is ambitious,” she said.

In the last three years since the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism as an independent institution at the end of 2014 Bulgaria has recorded record results in the whole history of the industry. For the period from January to September 2018, visits of foreign tourists to Bulgaria are already 31% more than the same period in 2015, revenues have increased by 38%.

The minister also cites data, according to which our country is becoming an increasingly recognizable and attractive route for millions of tourists who exceed their own population. NSI statistics show that a total of more than 7.9 million foreign tourists visited Bulgaria for the period January-September 2018, with growth of 5.5% compared to the same period last year.

Revenues from international tourism totaled 3.2 billion euros in January-September this year, the latest data from the BNB show. Growth in the same months of 2017 is 7 per cent.

Minister Angelkova also announced that it will be expected at the beginning of next year to unveil the Unified Tourist Information System (ETSI), which will connect real time information records of the accommodation with the Ministry of Tourism, the National Revenue Agency and the Ministry of the interior. “The aim is to make tourists stay even safer, but also to lighten the sector, taking into account the actual number of nights. Only those authorized by law will have access to this information, “said the Minister of Tourism. She explained that information courses will be organized to help the business, and experts and representatives of the contractor will be available to introduce the changes.

The amendments to the Categorization Ordinance will introduce the possibility of electronic submission of all applications to the registers not only by electronic signature, but also by facial recognition. The Ministry of Tourism is among the first administrations to offer face identification to its users. This will be done electronically and will be demonstrated within days. With such an identification, users will request a specific service and access to registration modes. The change will make it easier for entrepreneurs and investors, and the provision of administrative services will take place in very short terms.

In the presence of business representatives, the Minister recalled that the ministry had already taken measures to reduce the administrative burden in line with the government program. “There are now 19 types of fewer paper documents in our registration regimes,” the minister explained.

Vasil Velev, chairman of BICA, said that for the Association and for business in general, the tourism sector is of great importance also because of the tourism-related activities and industries, production, airlines and roads.

The members of BICA and Minister Angelkova discussed joint initiatives to provide staff in tourism, to improve the transport infrastructure to tourist sites, measures and incentives to extend the summer season, increase the advertising funds, etc. Both sides expressed their satisfaction with the good cooperation after the establishment of an independent Ministry of Tourism and the confidence that it would be even more beneficial.

Minister Angelkova handed Mr. Velev’s diploma for fruitful co-operation in tourism with AICB and expressed satisfaction for good working together.