All priorities under the Operational Programme for Regional Development, including the development of tourism, will be initiated within a month and a half, Regional Development and Public Works Minister Asen Gagaouzov told journalists on Monday. He attended a national conference entitled "Money for Infrastructure and Tourism", BTA is reporting.
A little over 200 million euro has been earmarked for tourism development. The funding targets mostly the development of infrastructure in areas with a potential to develop tourism. The principal beneficiaries are the municipalities in association with NGOs and sectoral organizations. Money will not be provided to existing resorts, but to new areas which have the potential to develop tourism, Gagaouzov said.
Some 30 million euro will be used to advertise Bulgaria tourism, including through external advertising. Bulgaria will be sufficiently well advertised as a tourist destination if the money for the operational programme is added to funding from business sources and from the government, the Minister said.
The operational programme is worth 1,600 million euro in total. Over 130 projects have been presented under four or five measures of the programme. Funding is beginning to be used up under some of the measures.
Asked whether a Ministry of Tourism should be set up, Gagaouzov said fewer ministries are needed but more powers should be given to sectoral organizations.
Simeon II National Movement Floor Leader Plamen Mollov said a clear national programme is needed in the field of tourism, which will bring together the main priorities over a longer term. The tourism development strategy has a short-term effect and should be regarded as a step in a certain direction, Mollov said.
He finds that there is a delay as regards the strategic documents in the field of tourism and the government policy for the investments in the sector.