The number of tourists arriving in Bulgaria in the first two months of this year has grown by 6% from 2010, said a senior government official in Veliko Tarnovo at the opening of a Cultural Tourism Expo.
Ivo Marinov, the Bulgarian minister responsible for tourism in the country, said that his country welcomed more tourist arrivals in January and February than ever before, with the majority of visitors coming from Greece, Serbia, Romania, Macedonia, Russia, Turkey and the UK. In Particular, there was a 50% rise in the number of visa applications from Russian tourists compared to last year, he said.
Mr. Marinov also said that revenues from tourists in January-February of this year were 5% up from the previous year, amounting to EUR 109 million.
Together with the Deputy Minister for Culture Todor Chobanov, he opened the annual Cultural Tourism Expo in the medieval capital of Veliko Tarnovo, which is now in its 8th year. The event features a number of participants from key Bulgarian attractions as well as representatives from foreign destinations.
Data produced by the show’s organizers showed that more than 32,000 tourists, both local and foreign, visited the country’s key cultural landmarks during the first quarter of the year, compared to just 28,000 last year.
Participants in the expo at Veliko Tarnovo were optimistic about the country’s tourism prospects growing during the rest of the year.
One of them, a Mr. Blagov Radin from the Association of Hotel and Restaurant Owners in Bulgaria, said that he hoped 10-15% more foreign visitors would arrive during the summer season.