Bulgaria, China mull measures to boost tourist flow

April 1, 2015 5:55 am 

SOFIA, March 30 — Bulgarian Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova and her Chinese counterpart, Li Jinzao, discussed measures here on Monday to increase the number of Chinese tourists travelling to the Balkan country.

Angelkova informed Li that her ministry had prepared a draft action plan and would send it to the Chinese government for coordination and jointly outline specific steps and time horizon for its implementation.

The establishment of a Bulgarian-Chinese Chamber of Tourism and inviting leading Chinese media and tour operators to Bulgaria to get acquainted with the local tourist product and make recommendations on attracting more Chinese tourists were among the ideas of her ministry, Angelkova said.

Angelkova also said Bulgaria wanted to benefit from Chinese social programs for sending people abroad, such as pensioners, because the conditions offered by her country in this regard were quite high, especially spa and health centers, she said.

The minister said Bulgaria was also ready to discuss possible options for easing the procedures regarding tourist visas.

Meanwhile, Angelkova said she had discussed creating joint products for Chinese tourists with neighboring countries such as Turkey and Romania.

In turn, Li, who is head of the China National Tourism Administration, said he wholly supported and accepted these suggestions.

He added that Bulgaria would be more competitive as a tourist destination if it offered a unique tourist product which combined spas, skiing, cultural and historical tourism.

Li also suggested placing signs in Chinese in the main tourist sites, providing more guides who speak Chinese, and offering Chinese television channels in the country's main hotels. Furthermore, offering Chinese dishes in the hotels would help attract more Chinese tourists, Li said.

He also invited Bulgaria to participate in tourism fairs in Xi' an and Kunming in June and November respectively.

Angelkova promised she would lead the Bulgarian delegation to Xi'an and hoped that the bilateral tourism action plan would be signed there.

In 2014, the number of Chinese visiting Bulgaria was 16,000.

Last Thursday in Budapest, China and Central and Eastern European countries officially launched a year-long event to promote tourism cooperation between the two sides. (PNA/xinhua)

RMA/EDS

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