‘In­dia is a big mar­ket for us’

Bul­garia is woo­ing In­dia as its po­ten­tial mar­ket. Anelia Gen­ova, Di­rec­tor, Mar­ket­ing, Pro­mo­tion & In­for­ma­tion in Tourism Direc­torate talks to to know more about the same...

TravTalk - India - - Nto - KAR­ISHMA KHANNA

Q What growth do you see from In­dia?

In­dia is a new and enor­mous mar­ket for Bul­garia. We started to de­velop it in cur­rent year and we had the first two or­gan­ised In­dian groups in May and June. Our tar­get is the MICE seg­ment in In­dia. We are also pro­mot­ing Bul­garia in In­dia as an ex­cel­lent desti­na­tion for in­di­vid­ual and fam­ily trips.

Q How do you plan to in­crease In­dian visi­tors?

We plan ac­tiv­i­ties like par­tic­i­pa­tion in tourism ex­hi­bi­tions, work­shops and tours for rep­re­sen­ta­tives of In­dian tour op­er­a­tors and me­dia in co­op­er­a­tion with the Head of Com­mer­cial & Eco­nomic Of­fice of Bul­garia to In­dia, Ste­fan Ionkov. We have or­gan­ised two fam trips in Septem­ber for tour op­er­a­tors and one me­dia tour in the same month.

Q What itin­er­ary do you rec­om­mend for an In­dian tourist?

The Bul­gar­ian sea­side is very pop­u­lar as one of the best sum­mer des­ti­na­tions in Europe. We are happy to pro­mote all our re­sorts as they have a per­fect com­bi­na­tion of na­ture, ex­cel­lent ho­tels and en­ter­tain­ment for the whole fam­ily. Al­bena re­sort, for ex­am­ple, is a su­perb va­ca­tion place for fam­ily trav­ellers and city of Plov­div is an amaz­ing vivid city with a va­ri­ety of spa re­sort all around.

Q Is In­dian food eas­ily avail­able?

Yes it is. Nowa­days, we have many In­dian restau­rants all over Bul­garia and the pack­ages of­fered by the Bul­gar­ian DMCs en­sure that In­dian food will not be miss­ing to the In­dian tourist groups. Also, we have purely veg­e­tar­ian dishes and this also an­swers to the In­dian re­quire­ments.

Q Since there is no di­rect air con­nec­tiv­ity, do you see that as a chal­lenge?

Yes, this is a chal­lenge, but also an op­por­tu­nity to com­bine a visit of 2 coun­tries with a sin­gle air­line ticket. For in­stance – fly to Is­tan­bul and visit Bul­garia and Tur­key – the Bul­gar­ian DMCs will take you from Is­tan­bul air­port and it will take you about 3 hours by car to get to Bul­garia. You can also com­bine vis­its of Euro­pean coun­tries such as Aus­tria, Ger­many etc.

Q What are your ex­pec­ta­tions from agents?

Bul­garia of­fers spe­cial pack­ages for the In­dian mar­ket, tai­lored for the In­dian re­quire­ments. Same in­clude day­time ac­tiv­i­ties, nightlife, vis­its of top golf and spa re­sorts and sea­side re­sorts.

Q What are your promotiona­l plans for the In­dian mar­ket and how many In­di­ans visit Bul­garia each year?

We will or­gan­ise trips for rep­re­sen­ta­tives of tour op­er­a­tor com­pa­nies and me­dia, TV crews and work­shops. In 2012, Bul­garia was vis­ited by 4,722 In­di­ans. In 2011, they were 3,849. Thus, there has been a growth of 22.7 % in 2012 as com­pared to 2011.

Q What are your visa poli­cies?

On 25 Jan­uary 2012, the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters of the Repub­lic of Bul­garia adopted a de­ci­sion, ac­cord­ing to which by the date of Bul­garia’s ac­ces­sion to the Schen­gen area, our coun­try will uni­lat­er­ally ap­ply a visa-free sys­tem for hold­ers of valid Schen­gen visas. They will have the right to en­ter and re­side in the Repub­lic of Bul­garia for a pe­riod of no more than three months in any six-month pe­riod from the date of the first en­try, with­out need­ing to have a Bul­gar­ian short-stay visa. The de­ci­sion en­tered into force on 31.01.2012. In case the In­dian trav­eller has a valid Schen­gen visa – he can use it to en­ter Bul­garia. If not, he is wel­come to the Bul­gar­ian Em­bassy in New Delhi to ap­ply for a Bul­gar­ian en­try visa.

Q How are you pro­mot­ing the MICE seg­ment?

In Bul­garia, there are nu­mer­ous expo and congress cen­tres, con­fer­ence halls, ex­hi­bi­tion ini­tia­tives and fes­ti­vals in all re­gions of the coun­try. And this, com­bined with va­ri­ety of op­tions for ac­tiv­i­ties such as shop­ping and ac­tive nightlife make Bul­garia a per­fect MICE desti­na­tion for In­dian MICE groups. The av­er­age spend of a MICE vis­i­tor is ap­prox­i­mately US$ 1,000 per week.

St Alexan­der Nevski Bul­garia

Anelia Gen­ova

Di­rec­tor, Mar­ket­ing, Pro­mo­tion & In­for­ma­tion in Tourism Direc­torate

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