For the first time WTO has included Bulgaria in the issuing market list, Kroushkova said, addressing a forum dedicated to the opportunities for developing congressional tourism with the help of European funds. Bulgaria ranks 50th in another category: the number of tourists who have visited other destinations, she said.
This means that the large companies will begin to woo Bulgarian tourists and hoteliers will have to consider their policy carefully in order to succeed in keeping them at home for their holidays, she underscored and specified that by May the number of Bulgarians who travelled abroad has increased by nearly 29 per cent year-on-year. Greece, Egypt and Turkey are the most favoured destinations.
Kroushkova also reported a 16.6 per cent year-on-year rise in the number of foreign tourists visiting Bulgaria. The largest increase was registered with the guests from Romania and a growth of 80 per cent of visitors from Serbia and Macedonia was registered for the first time. In the case of Russian tourists the increase stands at 26.6 per cent.
Addressing the forum at the opening, MEP Bilyana Raeva spoke of congress tourism, remarking that Bulgaria has only three large congress centres - the National Palace of Culture, the Festival centre and Sports Hall in Varna, while the hotels have facilities that are intended for small and medium-sized events.
Congress tourism in the world is exceptionally profitable, Raeva said, noting that the average guest in this category leaves some 1,500 euro in the host country in three days, while the annual profit of the sector stands at about 1,000 million dollars.