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Plovdiv Got the Award Balkan Leader in Tourism 2016

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Plovdiv became Balkan Leader in Tourism 2016 during the second edition of Balkan Awards for Tourism Industry 

Plovdiv which becomes more and more successful cultural, events, wine and religious tourism destination, received the prestigious award during the second edition of Balkan Awards for Tourism Industry 2016. 

The official ceremony took place last night at Premier Best Western Hotel in Sofia. The event organizers are VIP Communication, in partnership with Bulgarian Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Italian Chamber of Commerce, Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association, London Business Club and others. The award was received by the Manager of Plovdiv Tourism Department Videlina Gandeva, on behalf of the Municipality of Plovdiv. 
Plovdiv was given the prestigious award not only for being the oldest continuously-inhabited Eurpean city with variable cultural and archaeological heritage of over 700 historical sites and 300 000 artefacts from 7 archaeological periods, but also for the successful fulfillment of a sequence of ambitious projects as a part of Municipality's strategies for the city's development. 
Many of the sites in the city have been completely renovated. Kapana District has been turned into the first quater devoted to artistic industries with over 60 separate locations. The first Digital Planetarium in the country can be seen in the entirely reconstructed Natural History Museum. The Small Basilica and Roman Stadium are now not only unique historical sites, but also favorite places of citizens and visitors. Currently, an archaeological research is being carried out at the Bishop's Basilica - the biggest Early-Christian Basilica in the Balkans, which is going to be a candidate for the List of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites.  In the Old Town, Antov's and Birdas Houses were restored and opened for visitors, as well as the oldest and most impressive Revival house - the one of Klianti. 
Plovdiv got the Golden Apple Award by World Association of Journalists and Travel Writes - FIJET. The award, which is equivalent to Oscar in tourism industry, was given to the city's Mayor Mr. Ivan Totev in September this year.  In recent years, the city has been developing dynamically and getting well-deserved recognition all around the Globe. According to Daily Telegraph, Plovdiv is Europe's oldest continuously inhabited city and Bulgaria's best business hub for 2014-2015. It was proclaimed the sixth must-visit destination in the World in 2015 and listed in TOP 10 Leading Cultural Destinations Worldwide. The experts from Lonely Planet have considered it one of the most desired travel destinations. This year, it was recognized as a leading tourist destination in the list of European Best Destinations 2016.  
Plovdiv received two awards at the first edition of  BALKAN AWARDS FOR TOURISM INDUSTRY 2015 – Cultural Tourism Award for 2015 and Balkan Capital of Culture 2015. 
In  April 2016, the city became a host of the World's most prestigious wine contest - Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. The annual conference of regional European televisions CIRCOM also took place in the city, as well as the 5th National Meeting dedicated to Museums and Sustainable Development. For the first time in Plovdiv was carried out FARA 2016 - the country's biggest event in marketing industry. All these activities, and many more, brought new visitors to the city. 
The guests of the last two international events hosted in Bulgaria -  the conference of Bulgarian American Commission for Educational Exchange FULBRIGHT on Museum Expositions and Standards, which was attended by representatives of Smithson Institute and leading American experts in the field of cultural heritage and museum sciences; and International Conference of World Civilizations and Modern Tourism, organized by the Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism, also visited the city of Plovdiv as a part of their program.
A good example for the beneficial partnership of Plovdiv Municipality with companies from the tourism branch and Bulgarian foreign-trade representatives is the annual International Meeting of Tourism. This is one of the successful projects of Plovdiv Municipality, as a result of which the foreign visits are increasing sustainably year after year.  
The diverse Cultural calendar of Plovdiv includes more than 100 prestigious events every year - opera, chamber, symphonic concerts, theatre festivals, rock concerts, exhibitions, performances and other cultural products from various fields of art, and has long been recognized among foreign visitors. As a result, the number of visitors has increased significantly, those in the Old Town only being over 800,000. Visits in the museums have also increased with over 58%. The National Institute for Statistical Researches indicates a huge increase of overnight stays in Plovdiv - about 18%. The Old Town itself is the most visited reserve in the whole country. 
These achievements result from the city's diverse and attractive tourist product, as well as effective marketing campaigns. This is mostly due to the policy of the Municipality, in common efforts with experts and partners from all institutions and non-profit organizations, all working TOGETHER. TOGETHER is the slogan and concept due to which Plovdiv was proclaimed European Capital of Culture for the year 2019 - the year when the city will represent Bulgaria and Europe to the World.  

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