Bulgaria Eyes Polish Tourists
August 1, 2014
Bulgaria has launched a drive to attract tourists that could see Poles again flocking to that country for their vacations, much as they did in the Soviet era.
Organized tours started arriving in Bulgaria from Poland in the 1950s. Tourist traffic between Poland and Bulgaria has since been up and down due to social and economic changes in the region. Between the early 1960s and the late 1980s, the number of Polish visitors to Bulgaria rose steadily, peaking at almost 1 million in 1988. The trend reversed in the years that followed but recently, the figure has been up again. Last year, almost 250,000 Polish tourists headed to Bulgaria and, compared with 2012, Polish tour agents sold 33.3 percent more vacations in that country, making it the sixth most popular foreign destination for Poles.
Realizing how important the tourist industry is to the country’s economy, the Bulgarian government is seeking to expand and improve the range of services and facilities offered to tourists. Apart from promoting popular forms of tourism such as summer vacations at the seaside and in the mountains, the government hopes to extend the tourist season and position Bulgaria as an all-year-round destination. To this end, promotional campaigns have been launched on several target markets, including in Poland.
The campaign in Poland was launched in the spring to show what Bulgaria has to offer and encourage Polish visitors to explore attractions that have not had much publicity so far. Apart from sunny beaches, the campaign boasts of Bulgaria’s natural beauty, spas and history that dates back to the times of the ancient Thracians and includes the Roman, Proto-Bulgarian and Byzantine Empire eras.
Anelia Genova, director of the Department of Marketing, Promotion and Tourist Information at Bulgaria’s Ministry of the Economy and Energy, says the campaign aims to show that Bulgaria is still the same hospitable country Poles remember from years ago, and that it has a lot to offer to tourists in all seasons. The campaign includes advertisements in the press, radio and on the internet, and outdoor displays in four major cities in Poland (Warsaw, Cracow, Pozna˝ and Wroc│aw). The campaign will continue until the end of this year as part of a larger promotional project spanning six countries: Poland, Germany, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Sweden.
Bulgaria’s coast stretches for 400 kilometers along the Black Sea and offers a wide variety of landscapes, from rocky cliffs with impressive vistas to vast dunes and quaint, peaceful harbors. The country has a total of 130 kilometers of sandy beaches and a mild climate with day temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius on average in summer. The temperature of the sea averages 22 degrees.
Visitors to the Black Sea coast can see many traces of Bulgaria’s ancient culture and history. One such site is the town of Nesebar, which since 1956 has been an architectural and archeological reserve. In 1983 it was designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. Founded over 3,200 years ago, Nesebar is one of the oldest towns in Europe with artifacts showing how people lived here in antiquity, in the Middle Ages and during the Osman empire. Nearby is the town of Sozopol, whose history dates back to ancient times as well.
Bulgaria has an extensive range of hotels and other forms of accommodation ranging from camp sites and small, family-operated boarding houses and farms with room and board for tourists to comfortable five-star hotels, spas and balneotherapy centers. More than 50 resorts are located along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast alone. Forecasts for Bulgaria’s tourist sector are good and the government is expecting the number of foreign visitors to grow 6 percent this year. A large part of those will likely be tourists from Poland.