Bulgaria to Launch Tourism Ad Campaign in Six Countries
Bulgaria is about to roll out a tourism advertising campaign in six countries amid fears of dented arrivals.
The campaign will target potential tourists in Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Poland and Sweden in two part for a period of eight months.
A chronic lack of advertising and the fallout of the global financial crisis have dealt a blow to Bulgaria's image as a tourism destination, as well as dented domestic and foreign arrivals.
Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Spain and Italy are Bulgaria's rivals in the battle for clients along the sea coast, according to a survey conducted a year ago by the economy ministry at home and abroad.
In Bulgaria foreign tourists enjoy the classic combination of hotel, beach and sea, but are frustrated by the poor infrastructure. Many of them also say they do not feel safe enough.
Despite that 90% of all respondents said they are willing to return to Bulgaria on a new trip, especially in the summer. For even though the weather may be too hot for the lack of a single tree along the streets in Bulgarian resorts, they are one of the best bargain destinations and do not get tourists hot under the collar at their price tags.
The respondents in the survey, including consumers, tour operators and tour agents, said Austria and Italy are the key rivals as far as winter resorts are concerned.
Bulgaria has invested millions in skiing in recent years and although resorts are typically smaller than in France, Austria or Italy, so too are the bar bills.
The Czech Republic is the only player on the European modern balneo-SPA market that can measure up to Bulgaria's wealth of springs of healing mineral waters and mushrooming SPA centers and hotels, the survey shows.
The first modern balneo-SPA hotels in Bulgaria were built in the towns of Devin and Velingrad, while now they are mushrooming across the country together with the creation of SPA centers in hotels, the most attractive of which are those along the Black Sea coast. The foundation on which this booming industry thrives is a wealth of springs of healing mineral waters.
It is namely the wide use of mineral waters that makes the Bulgarian variation of the SPA culture unique as compared to the Russian bath, the Turkish bath, the Scandinavian sauna or the Asian massage centers.
The main weakness in Bulgarian tourism is the lack of brand definition for Bulgaria, according to the survey.
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Yes, Bulgaria definitely needs to promote itself much stronger than before. In Poland, many people still keep Bulgaria's view as a "socialist beach paradise" in mind. It is because Turkey, Greece, Spain and Egypt do a lot of advertisment and Bulgaria hardly any. When I first came to Bulgaria for summer in 2010 it was very hard to find my wife's support for the idea, she was very sceptical. From then on we go to Bulgaria almost every summer and it is not only because Bulgaria's is less expensive than those countries. One thing which needs improvement is the number of flights to Burgas which is not sufficient, the Burgas airport needs further development
Better advise all the prospective tourists to learn Bulgarian because in my experience many of those working in tourist areas refuse to speak or understand anything else and I have heard them insulting tourists if they think they cannot understand what they are saying