The number of tourists in globally is expected to triple in the coming 20 years, Veselin Vulchev, aide to Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Ivaylo Kalfin, said at a round table for the leaders of South East Europe countries' tourism authorities on February 21 2008.
The round table on the subjects of history, culture and tourism was a part of the events accompanying Holiday&Spa tourism exhibition that opened on the same day in Sofia.
SEE countries should be prepared to handle the increased number of tourists, Vulchev said. More than 3.5 million EU residents visited Bulgaria in 2007, a 30 per cent increase over the previous year. The number of tourists coming from SEE countries to Bulgaria also marked an increase, Vulchev said.
The countries from the SEE region need to create stimuli for an integration in the area of tourism. “Journeys of all kind should be encouraged,” Vulchev said. “ Let's keep our uniqueness, but remain equal,” he added.
The meeting between tour operators and hotel owners, also part of the tourism fair, was initially planed as a discussion on contractual and financial issues. Soon it has turned into an argument between the two sides, Focus news agency reported. Donka Sokolova, chair of the Bulgarian Association of Tour Agencies, said hotel owners tended to “work round” the operators. Hotel owners argued that operators often fall behind with payments and do not provide enough tourists for their hotels.
Both sides' representatives proposed ethic codex for tour operators and hotel owners to be created, as well as the development of unified price policy of the hoteliers towards the operators
More than 3.5 million EU residents visited Bulgaria in 2007, a 30 per cent increase over the previous year. The number of tourists coming from SEE countries to Bulgaria also marked an increase, Vulchev said.