Bulgaria promoted as tourist destination in Russia

Bulgaria showcased its tourist appeal at the 15th Travel and Tourism international exhibition in Moscow with its largest stand to date, spreading 462 sq m, which hosted the smaller stands of 44 Bulgarian companies.

The world’s third-largest tourist expo, taking place March 18-22, hosts the stands of 3000 exhibitors from 118 countries on 55 000 sq m of exhibition space. The exhibition comes hot on the heels of another Moscow-hosted exhibition, Intourmarket, which housed the stands of 24 countries worldwide.

“These are only two of the 67 expositions where Bulgaria is taking place this year,” Anelia Kroushkova, head of the Bulgaria’s State Tourism Agency, told The Sofia Echo.

The two expos in Russia are part of the seven large international exhibitions – hosted by Moscow, Kiev, Berlin, Frankfurt and Madrid – where the state agency is sharing exhibition space alongside Bulgarian tour operators. At 60 smaller expos the agency will participate on its own, carrying out image promotion for the country.

Russia is an important market for Bulgaria, Kroushkova said, adding that advertising Bulgaria as a tourist hotspot goes through TV adverts as well. All nationwide Russian TV channels and the regional channels covering Moscow city and the Moscow region are featuring Bulgaria’s country promotion. The TV advert first ran on February 18-29 and will later be aired anew on May 5-25.

Kroushkova refuted claims that the country’s TV promotion in western Europe was on CNN alone. Adverts have been running on Eurosport and Euronews as well, she said.

Bulgaria will also be promoted as a tourist destination in late spring, when Romanians tend to buy tourist packages for the summer season. Similar promotions might take place in Serbia and Macedonia.

The annual advertising budget of the State Tourism Agency is 3.8 million leva. If it were higher, Bulgaria would have increased the number of TV ad showings and expo attendances, which is the tourism promotion scope defined by the strategy of the state tourism authority, according to Kroushkova.

The agency will attempt to raise its budget through the absorption of European Union structural funds, Kroushkova said. The agency is eligible to apply for EU funds under the Regional Development operational programme. If it is launched soon, the agency could have the first funds by year’s end, Kroushkova said.

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