Bulgaria seeks to become a world-class spa destination


Bulgaria has launched a major new tourism strategy highlighting the wide range of attractions the country has to offer as it attempts to raise its profile as a mainstream holiday destination

One key market for Bulgaria is the UK, with the launch of a new UK advertising campaign that promotes Bulgaria under the banner of "Magic Lives Here" and focuses on some of the country's lesser-known tourism products including spas and well-being, culture and folklore; and eco-tourism.

The campaign forms part of a wider effort by Bulgaria to position itself as a desirable tourist destination in three of its major markets: the UK, Germany, and Russia.

Traycho Traykov, Bulgaria's minister of tourism, says: "300,000 UK tourists visited Bulgaria in 2010. With the help of the new advertising campaign our target is to increase this number to around 500,000 by 2020.A lot of people still assume that Bulgaria is a country for mainly cheap beach holidays and skiing but there are many other offerings which deserve to become much better-known. Our new strategy positions Bulgaria as a destination that can offer the discerning traveller a wide range of experiences all year-round. Stronger promotion of health spas and wellness are key priorities for us. Bulgaria has been blessed with the gift of nature. Our country is rich in mineral springs. We have more than 600 sites that provide endless opportunities for health and beauty treatments."

The advertising campaign is being supported with a wider communications campaign of PR activities. Bulgaria Tourism has also launched an official new web portal available in nine languages. It covers more than 450 cities, resorts and villages and provides information on everything from conference facilities to UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

There are more than 100 spa and wellness centres in mountain areas such as Rodopi, Pirin and Rila and also on the Black Sea coast. According to the forecasts of the Bulgarian Union of Balneology and SPA tourism, the expected growth in the revenue in this sector could reach 20% in 2011.

In a boost to Bulgaria's ambitious plans to establish itself as a world-class spa destination, Sofia has been selected to host the 18th Annual Congress of the European Spas Association in 2013.

Minister Traykov adds that Bulgaria is now totally committed to long-term investment in its tourism industry, "We have already embarked on a plan which will see massive developments in infrastructure over the next few years including a new motorway network. We are also investing heavily in restoring historical attractions, improving the quality of our beaches and ski resorts and laying new hiking paths and mountain trails".

Bulgaria has 48 mountain resorts, 15 marine resorts, and 38 balneological resorts. The country is known for offering a wide range of services including massage, baths with mineral water, pearl baths, reflex therapy, traditional needle therapy, medicinal exercises, acupuncture, laser therapy, acupressure, paraffin treatment, apitherapy, phytotherapy, mud treatment, aroma therapy, anti-stress programs, dieting programs and programmes for losing weight, balneo-cosmetics, sauna, solarium, fitness, and medical cosmetics.



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