More and more Bulgarians and Macedonians are visiting the neighboring countries for the purposes of tourism, entertainment and recreation. Here is some interesting information from a report made by the Bulgarian Focus Information Agency about a bilateral meeting, between the Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism and the Macedonian Ministry of Economy, on the 23-rd November 2017, where an agreement protocol for cooperation was signed.
“… Macedonia is one of the leading markets for the Bulgarian tourism. In the period from January to September 2017, more than 413 thousand Macedonian citizens traveled to Bulgaria, accounting for 5.8% growth compared to the same period in 2016. Thus, Macedonia takes the sixth place in the generating markets for foreign tourists. Over the past year, more than 527,000 guests came from the neighboring country, with an increase of 11.4 per cent compared to the previous year. Traditionally, Macedonian tourists come to Bulgaria to visit the Black Sea resorts but also have serious interest in winter resorts such as Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo.
The Bulgarians are also actively travelling to Macedonia, for the period from January to September of 2017 a little more than 319,000 Bulgarians have visited the neighboring country, which is a growth of 10.7%... ”
The Bulgarian National Television has reported on the 7th January 2018, that the two countries are preparing common tourist packages, which are also available for visitors from other countries. Here is what we learn from the report:
“Macedonian and Bulgarian cities will have shared tourist offers. This is envisaged in a project to create more interest for tourists visiting Southwestern Bulgaria and Southeastern Macedonia.
Simona Markovska, Chairman of the Pirin Tourist Forum, has stated: - The Blagoevgrad region is Blagoevgrad, Bansko, Gotse Delchev, Petrich and Sredna Struma, which includes Kresna and Strumyani, and from the Southeastern planning region in Macedonia are Strumica, Novo Selo, Radovish, Gevgelija and Doiran.
In the development of attractive tourist services, it is foreseen to include guides besides accommodation and food to the price of the excursion to show the tourists the sights of the place. There will also be a virtual platform where everyone can choose what, when and how they want to visit.
Simona Markovska, has also stated that: The Virtual Platform is what is actually the thing that has been working in recent years, over 50%, and that percentage of people is growing, choosing their vacation on the Internet, so it will be our virtual store to sell our services.
The data from the National Tourist Institute has shown that more and more Bulgarians choose to travel to Macedonia and in the last month (December, 2017) 40,000 Macedonian citizens have visited Bulgaria.
Raina Pashova, tourism expert, stated: The relieved mode of passage with only ID cards is also a sufficient motivation; the good food that many Bulgarians believe is one of the few quality foods left in our region.
The project is funded by the European Union. Cooperation is provided through the pre-accession funds they shared in Western Bulgaria and eastern Macedonia and declared them a common space.”
In the years, after joining the EU, Bulgaria has invested heavily into the development and promotion of rural tourism, where the main goals are not only economical and pointed towards modern entertainment, such as it is presented in some famous winter and seaside resorts, where the so - called night - club tourism is booming, but also more-so about acquainting the local and foreign tourists with the traditions, old ways of life and culture of the smaller Bulgarian communities and their picturesque sites.
And now with the EU on the horizon for Macedonia, more opportunities will arrive for the two countries to cooperate in this sector.
We will discuss the particular places in Bulgaria, that you can visit and to a broader prospective in our next articles.
Written by: Velin Nedkov