Bulgaria promotes health and wellness tourism

 

Bulgaria has a new tourism strategy for the next decade, which includes the launch of an enhanced advertising campaign called 'Bulgaria: Magic Lives Here'.

Known primarily as a beach and skiing destination, Bulgaria is keen to showcase its other attractions including a rich history and culture, a diverse landscape and delicious food and wine. Bulgaria also wants to turn the spotlight on some of its fast-expanding tourism products including city breaks, spas and eco-tourism.

Launching in November 2011, the campaign will reveal little-known aspects of Bulgaria such as its natural mineral springs. The campaign's underlying message is that Bulgaria is both unexpected and value for money.

Ivo Marinov explains, "The awareness of Bulgaria is both low and outdated, and not enough is being done to shape positive perception about us. We have an ancient culture, rich in history and architecture, with mineral spas and preserved nature destinations. Bulgarian bio-climatic, hydrothermal, mud treatments and natural mineral spas are considered some of the best in Europe."

The campaign is targeted toward people who want their vacation to be an enriching experience, and consists of advertising in print and electronic media, the internet and outdoor advertising. Advertisements, advertorials and articles about Bulgaria will be published in specialised travel media as well as in more general media. The television campaign includes four new promotional videos of Bulgaria - "Image", "Nature", "Culture" and "Spa & Wellness". The other components of the campaign are outdoor advertising as well as internet campaigns with seven websites.

A new web portal, www.bulgariatravel.org is available in 8 different languages. Developed earlier this year, the portal contains an interactive catalogue of more than 450 tourist destinations, 50 short movies, 50 multimedia components in addition to 5000 pictures. The website also has a special search feature whereby visitors can look for destinations according to specific interests such as balneology, spa and wellbeing. Visitors can publish their comments, itineraries and reviews in a special section of the portal.

Bulgaria’s tourist boom has made the residents of the resort village of Ognyanovo, Southwestern Bulgaria, give up their traditional living of growing tobacco and take up spa tourism. Farmers like the change – they work less and earn more. Local residents use their savings to build and furnish small hotels. Last summer Ognyanovo’s ten hotels were full of tourists not only from Bulgaria, but also from neighbouring Greece. The local spa resort is famous for its healing mineral and thermal spas, whose permanent temperature is 43°C. In 2002 95% of the local population grew tobacco and only 4% catered for holidaymakers. Today 40% of the village residents work in tourism.

There are more than 550 known sources with 1600 springs. Predominant are waters with low mineral content. Cool mineral springs are found throughout the country. Bulgaria also possesses valuable deposits of curative firth mud and curative peat. Mineral springs in the southern part of the country are influenced by the Mediterranean climate; other springs are found in mountain regions with coniferous vegetation and crystal springs; and others are along the Black Sea coast. The Republic of Bulgaria has 48 mountain resorts, 15 marine resorts, and 38 balneological resorts.

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