Happy National Day, Bulgaria!

Bulgaria is located in the South Eastern corner of Europe; and like all countries in that region, which we have celebrated in the last weeks, Bulgaria was occupied by the Ottoman Empire.

In 1396 Bulgaria was occupied by Ottoman forces; the occupation lasted until 1878. Bulgaria was declared a principal on March 3th 1878 after the Russian – Ottoman war. March 3th is a National Holiday to honor the Bulgarians who joined the Russian forces.

From 1878 till 1908 Bulgaria was principal – de jura under Ottoman rule. In 1908, after the revolt in Turkey, Bulgaria “promoted” itself to a Kingdom.

After WWII Bulgaria was in the Soviet sphere.

Since 2007 Bulgaria is in the EU. The country still has some “catching up” to do. The income / head in purchase power terms is about half of the EU average. The EU, which normally has no problem to throw tax money after all kind of projects, twice stopped the pay out of subsidies to Bulgaria because of insufficient progress in addressing corruption (it is like asking the fox to look after the geese – and then afterwards wonder where all the geese are? EU bureaucratic logic). Since 2007 about 15% of the population has left and now life in Western Europe!

Tourism

Bulgaria in 2019 had 12.55 million visitors (the population is 7.5 million).

The biggest contingents came from Romania (17%); Turkey (13%); Serbia; Northern Macedonia, Ukraine (5%); UK (4%).

According to the Ministry of Tourism the tourism industry accounts for 12% of the GDP (national income).

A lot of the tourism takes place along the Black Sea coast; the Bulgarian Black Sea coast is 380 km long; of which about 180 km are white sand beaches. That is probably not fair; the country has more to offer.

During the last years the growth rates (number of visitors) were 2019: 1.5%; 2018: 6.7%; 2017: 9.2%, 2016: 14%.

According to some travel magazines the challenge is to develop from an “alternative” destination to a preferred one.

 

 

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