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Plovdiv hosts the 9th Annual Meeting of Tourism Business and Local Government

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Plovdiv hosts the 9th Annual Meeting of Tourism Business and Local Government.

In the period November 22-24, 2023, members of the Association of Bulgarian Tour Operators and Travel Agents ABTTA from all over the country and representatives of Bulgarian municipalities that develop cultural tourism will meet in the city under the hills. The focus of the ninth edition of the forum is the sustainable development of cultural tourism in Bulgaria, therefore the meeting is under the motto "Cooperation between the public and private sectors - a platform for sustainable tourism development".

The forum is held with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Culture, the "America for Bulgaria" Foundation, travel agencies and tour operators, the Thracian Tourist Region Management Organization, the municipalities of Plovdiv, Varna, Pomorie, Veliko Tarnovo, Lovech, Sandanski, Chirpan, Bansko, Kyustendil, Kazanlak, Stara Zagora, etc. The three-day program is full of presentations, discussions, divided into thematic modules, B2B meetings, a practical seminar, a walking tour with a visit to cultural and historical landmarks in Old Plovdiv and the city center.

The forum was officially opened by Dimitrina Goranova - chairperson of ABTTA, Dr. Daniela Stoeva - vice-chairperson of ABTTA and Plamen Panov - deputy mayor for culture, archeology and tourism of the municipality of Plovdiv. ABTTA is a member of the European Committee of Associations of Tour Operators and Travel Agencies, EKTAA, the most authoritative professional structure in tourism in the EU.

The first module was dedicated to the topic "Investments in a sustainable future". The participants discussed how through investment and development of skills, innovation and development of a sustainable cultural-tourist infrastructure, a better quality and recognizable tourist product can be achieved. The panel discussion touched on issues related to the roles and responsibilities of the state, local government, business and science to build a high-quality and competitive national tourism product. In this part, Dr. Daniela Stoeva, Amelia Gesheva - Deputy Minister of Culture, Prof. Mariela Modeva - Advisor to the Minister of Tourism, Deputy Mayor Plamen Panov and the director of the State Opera - Plovdiv - Assoc. Nina Naydenova spoke. According to the program already on the first day, the participants visited the Great Episcopal Basilica of Filipopol, where a concert-presentation of the State Opera Plovdiv took place.

In the second module "Competitiveness based on knowledge", presentations on the tourism potential of the municipalities were made by Deputy Mayor Plamen Panov and the Executive Director of Thracian Tourist Region - Radost Ivanova.

In his presentation, Deputy Mayor Plamen Panov presented current data for Plovdiv. Tourism is on track for a full recovery in 2023, data for the first 9 months of 2023 exceed pre-pandemic 2019 levels, and some indicators show a double increase compared to the same period in 2022. According to NSI data for the period January-September 2023, Plovdiv realized the following results:

The total number of overnight stays in the accommodation facilities amounted to 492,315, and registered a growth of 30% compared to the previous period of 2022, and 27% compared to the same period of 2029. According to this indicator, the increase for Bulgarian citizens is 20% compared to 2022 and by 40% compared to 2019. For foreign citizens, overnight stays are 46% more compared to 2022, and exceed the levels of 2019 - 14% more.

The total number of overnight stays in the accommodation facilities during the first 9 months of the year recorded a growth of 27% compared to 2022, and a 20% growth compared to the same period of 2019.

In 2023, the recovery in tourist flow from many countries has so far exceeded expectations, recording a 61% increase in overnight foreign nationals in accommodation compared to 2022, and realizing 6% above 2019 levels. As the main generating markets, stand out: Turkey, Israel, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Romania.

Regarding the total number of overnight stays by Bulgarian citizens, an increase of 11% compared to 2022 and 31% compared to 2019 levels is noted.

For the period January-September, a 38% increase in total revenue from overnight stays in accommodation is reported compared to 2022 and an increase of 56% compared to 2019. For Bulgarian citizens, the increase is 74% compared to 2022. and 81% compared to 2019. For foreign citizens, the increase in collected revenues is 43% more compared to the same period of 2022. and 36% compared to 2019.

The work of the 9th Annual Meeting of the Tourism Business and Local Government continues with discussions and presentations on good practices and challenges facing Bulgarian tourism, defining problems and finding solutions; cultural heritage as a tourist resource and contribution to the local economy; culinary and wine tourism - how to develop a sustainable tourism destination and product based, hands-on workshop and more.

The 9th Annual Meeting of the Tourism Business and Local Government of ABTTA is being held at the Landmark Creek Hotel, Plovdiv with the courtesy of the Municipality of Plovdiv and the participation of the Ministry of Tourism.

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