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Sprat Festival 2017

After an extremely successful first edition and great interest of the audience, Kranevo will host the Festival of sprat for second consecutive year. Known as the most beloved fish on our coast, sprat will gather around tourists in another three-day adventure. Festival dates for 2017 are already known - 09, 10 and 11 June.

On this year's edition visitors will be able to enjoy lots of games, competitions, culinary demonstrations, outdoor cinema, sports, music and entertainment program.

"With the festival activities we have planned, our goal is to attract tourists and active people who want to have fun with their friends, families and children."

The full program of the event will be known within the coming days.

Source: www.festivalnacacata.com
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Norwegian to Launch New Flights from Helsinki to Varna

Fourth low-cost airline is launching new flight to Varna this summer. Norwegian starts operating the new route from 1st July 2017. Tourists will be able to fly directly from Finland’s capital to Varna once a week on Saturdays.

In addition to the new flights, Norwegian will launch more flights to Oslo and Copenhagen.

Source: www.blitz.bg
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Ryanair Announced New Scheduled Flights from Varna to Brussels in October 2017

Another low-cost carrier, Ryanair, announced today its first flight from Varna. Direct lines from the sea capital will be launched to Brussels Charleroi. Plans are Varna's visitors to be able to fly to Europe's heart twice a week.

The company promised to Bulgarian users even lower prices if they book their summer or winter vacation in advance.

Ryanair’s Sales and Marketing Executive, Denis Barabas, said:  

“Ryanair is pleased to announce that low fares have arrived in Varna, our 3rd Bulgarian airport, with a new twice weekly route to Brussels commencing in October, which will help deliver over 35,000 annual customers at Varna Airport. Our Brussels route will be ideal for both families and leisure customers and will go on sale soon.

Ryanair customers can look forward to even lower fares when they make advance bookings for winter 2017.

...To celebrate our new Varna route, we are releasing seats for sale across our European route network from just €9.99 for travel in February and March, which are available for booking until midnight Friday (10 Feb).

Source: www.offnews.bg
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Wizz Air Announces Launching of 5 New Destinations from Varna

Wizz Air carrier continues its expansion on the Bulgarian market. After significantly increasing their flights from Sofia, the airline announces its plans to expand flights from Varna airport too.

The new flights will connect Varna with five new destinations - Dortmund, Eindhoven, Larnaca, Munich (Memmingen) and Milan (Bergamo). The frequency of London (Luton) flights will also increase.

New routes operation starts from July 21, 2017, when a new base will be open in Varna. Investments of $98 million will cover the establishment of the base, opening 36 jobs with the airline.

One new aircraft will increase the number of routes, operated by Wizz Air from Varna airport to 7.

Schedule of the new destinations:



Source: www.money.bg
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Low-cost Carrier EasyJet Launches 2 New Flights from Varna in Summer 2017

Airline EasyJet announced today that flights to two new routes, London (Gatwick) and Berlin (Schönefeld), will be launched in summer 2017. This way Varna will become the second airport in Bulgaria the carrier operates.

Flights from Varna to London (Gatwick) will be carried out three times a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday) starting on June 6, 2017.

From June 28, 2017, Varna’s citizens and tourists will be able to fly directly from and to the German capital Berlin. Flights of this second new route will be carried twice a week – on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

EasyJet expects to carry over 18,000 passengers on the two new routes in the first summer of operation. The lines will be operated with aircraft Airbus A320, with flight duration to London – 3.40 h and to Berlin – 2.30 h.

Tickets are already available for sale at prices starting from 17 Euro one way.

Source: www.moreto.net
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Beach Library in Albena

Bulgaria’s Black Sea resort Albena opens beach library for third year this season. The library is first of its kind in Europe and boasts over 3,000 books in more than 15 languages.
The idea of the beach library is based on the bookcrossing  - “the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise."

“Everyone can borrow a book for free and even keep it if leaving another in return.” – founders explain.

Rich collection of titles in all genres can be found on the shelves - thrillers, crime novels, romantic and historical readings, memoirs, etc. Special attention is paid to the Bulgarian literature, in particular Yovkov’s work "Albena".  Limited edition of the book has been translated into 6 languages, so that tourists from all over the world can acquaint with the richness of Bulgarian literature.

For the convenience of visitors, consultants guide readers and help them choose a suitable book for their holiday. Tourists are encouraged to donate their own books - so the library expands constantly and the number of languages increases late in the season.

Sharing books proved to be not only a successful campaign to promote reading but a way to promote the cultural tourism in Bulgaria.



Source: www.uspelite.com
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Festival of Sprat in Kranevo

First edition of the new maritime Festival of sprat will be held on 10, 11 and 12 June 2016 in Kranevo.

To make this possible part of the resort will become a festival area prohibited for cars. The area will be divided on several scenes where variety of programs will take place.

Visitors can enjoy participating different competitions and demonstrations, workshops, lawn games, sports, music, outdoor cinema, culinary shows, beach activities, motto and acrobatic demonstrations.

"Too little attention is paid to the most beloved fish on our coast - sprat. So we will devote an entire three-day festival to it."- organizers comment.

Attractive competition for jokes on fishing theme, as well as sprat eat-off contest and beer drinking contest will entertain those who attend the event.

The mayor of Kranevo will demonstrate his culinary skills cooking a special fish soup for all visitors!

Youthful spirit in the area of ​​international children's camp will be brought back with Children's Dance Camp with leading choreographers, lots of music and activities.

Special Party Bus will connect Kranevo, Golden Sands, Albena and Balchik all weekend.

Source: www.novavarna.net
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Bulgarian National Bank Releases New Coin

As of 7 December 2015, the Bulgarian National Bank puts into circulation a new coin with a nominal value of 2 leva. At the same time the banknotes of 2 leva will continue to be a legal tender and will gradually be withdrawn.

On the obverse of the coin of 2 leva, in the center of the inner circle, is the nominal value with the number "2", streaked with lines. On the periphery are depicted crossing lines located in the inner circle and outer ring. At the bottom of the coin is the text "Leva" and the year of issue "2015".

On the reverse side of the coin
is a stylized image of Paisiy Hilendarski with the years "1722 - 1773" and the text "PAISIY HILENDARSKI" and "BULGARIA"on the outer ring.

Photo by Bulgarian National Bank



Source: www.novinar.bg
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Melon Celebrations in Bulgarevo

Traditional Melon celebrations will be held on 16 August 2015 in Bulgarevo village, Kavarna area. The guests of the festival will be able to enjoy culinary works made out of melon, as well as the competition for the biggest and the sweetest melon. Trademark of this year’s edition remains the attractive competition "Miss and Mister Melon".

 

The organizers of the fourth edition of the festival have also provided surprises and games for the youngest visitors. The event will be accompanied by a musical program, attended by folk singers and dancers.

 

Start time for the Feast of the Melon is announced for 18.00.


Source: dobrich.topnovini.bg

 



Source: www.dobrich.topnovini.bg
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Balkan Holidays Launches New Flight Glasgow-Varna for Summer 2016

Balkan Holidays has announced the launching of a new flight to Varna, Bulgaria from Glasgow Airport. The leading tour operator has added the service to its summer program, starting in May 2016. This is the first direct connection between the two cities and it will operate once a week.
 

Chris Rand, Sales and Marketing Manager at Balkan Holidays said: “This additional flight will help us deal with increasing demand for Summer holidays to Bulgaria which continues to top the polls in terms of providing the best value for money holidays in Europe.”
 

“The flights to Varna will also provide additional capacity for us as we become the sole UK operator to the resorts of Golden Sands, St Konstantin and Albena on the Northern Black Sea coast.” – he added.
 

Francois Bourienne, Commercial Director at Glasgow Airport also commented:
“Varna is an ideal combination of port city and seaside resort, while also being the perfect hopping-off point for some of the best stretches of beach in Eastern Europe – it is a great new route to add to our growing list of charter destinations. “
 

Source: novinite.com

 



Source: www.novinite.com
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Umbrella and sunlounge prices for Summer 2015

If you are packing your bags for a holiday in Bulgaria, this list might be very useful for you. Here are the prices of the umbrellas and sunlounges for 2015 on some of the most visited beaches over the Bulgarian Black sea coast.
 

Beaches under concession:
 

1) Moby-Dick – umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
2) Albena - umbrella –  7lv, sunlounge – 5lv
3) Batovski – free beach, without umbrellas and sunlounges
4) Kranevo-North - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 4lv
5) Kranevo-South - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 4lv
6) Golden sands - umbrella –  8lv, sunlounge – 8lv
7) Riviera - umbrella –  10lv, sunlounge – 7lv
8) Kabakum-North - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
9) Kabakum-South - umbrella –  2lv, sunlounge – 4lv
10) Kabakum-Rusalka - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 2lv
11) Sunny day - umbrella –  7lv, sunlounge – 7lv
12) St. Constantine and Helena-North - umbrella –  20lv, sunlounge – 10lv
13) St. Constantine and Helena (large beach) - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 5lv
14) St. Constantine and Helena (small beach) - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 7lv
15) St. Ilia - umbrella –  25lv, sunlounge – 15lv
16) St. Constantine and Helena-South - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 5lv
17) Bunite 2 - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
18) Bunite - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 7lv
19) Oficerski - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
20) Ribarski - free beach, without umbrellas and sunlounges
21) Varna-Central - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
22) Asparuhovo - umbrella –  4lv, sunlounge – 4lv
23) Shkorpilovtsi-Central - umbrella –  4lv, sunlounge – 4lv
24) Byala-Central I - umbrella –  3lv, sunlounge – 3lv
25) Byala-Central IV - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
26) Obzor-Central - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
27) Robinzon - umbrella –  7lv, sunlounge – 7lv
28) St.Vlas-Hospital - umbrella –  7lv, sunlounge – 7lv
29) Sunny beach-North - umbrella –  8lv, sunlounge – 8lv
30) Sunny beach-Central - umbrella –  8lv, sunlounge – 8lv
31) Sunny beach-South - umbrella –  8lv, sunlounge – 8lv
32) Nessebar beach-South - umbrella –  8lv, sunlounge – 8lv
33) Ravda-HTI - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
34) Ravda-Akademika - - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
35) Ravda-Olympic hopes - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
36) Ravda-Central - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
37) Ravda-NDK - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
38) Pomorie-East - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
39) Sarafovo - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
40) Sozopol-Central -  umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
41) Sozopol-Harmanite -  umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
42) Dyuni -  umbrella –  7lv, sunlounge – 9lv
43) Arkutino -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
44) Stamopolu pearl -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
45) Primorsko-North -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
46) Kiten-Atliman - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
47) Kiten-South - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
48) Camping Kiten - umbrella, 2 sunlounges and table – 10lv
49) Lozenets-Karaagach - free beach, without umbrellas and sunlounges
50) Camping-South - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
51) Lozenets - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
52) Arapya - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
53) Tsarevo-Central - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
54) Ahtopol-North umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
55) Butamyata - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
56) Silistar - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
 

Leased beaches:
 

1) Part 3 of beach Krapets - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
2) Part 1 of beach Kavarna - umbrella –  4lv, sunlounge – 4lv
3) Bozhurets – Topola 3 – umbrella, 2 sunlounges, mats and towels – 35lv
4) Bozhurets – Topola 1 – umbrella, 2 sunlounges, mats and towels – 35lv
5) Beach Ikantaluka 2 - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
6) Beach Villas Chaika -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
7) Balchik – The palace - umbrella –  4lv, sunlounge – 4lv
8) Kranevo-Central - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 4lv
9) Panorama - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 5lv
10) Chaika-North - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
11) Chaika-Central I - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
12) Kabakum-Central - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
13) Byala-Central II - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
14) Byala-Central III - umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
15) Byala-South - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
16) Obzor-Motela - umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
17) Elenite 1 - umbrella –  8lv, sunlounge – 8lv
18) St.Vlas-East - umbrella –  8lv, sunlounge – 8lv
19) New beach St.Vlas- umbrella –  8lv, sunlounge – 8lv
20) St.Vlas-Central - umbrella –  8lv, sunlounge – 8lv
21) St.Vlas-West - umbrella –  7lv, sunlounge – 7lv
22) Dolphin - umbrella –  8lv, sunlounge – 8lv
23) Akrotiria-East -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
24) Pomorie-Bunata -  umbrella –  4lv, sunlounge – 4lv
25) Pomorie-South -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
26) Rosenets-North -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
27) Chernomorets-East -  umbrella, 2 sunlounges with mats – 40lv
28) Chervenika -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
29) Chernomorets-South -  umbrella and 2 sunlounges – 20lv
30) Gradina-Central -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
31) Kavacite-North -  umbrella –  4lv, sunlounge – 4lv
32) Kavacite-South -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
33) Smokinite-North -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
34) Smokinite-South - umbrella, 2 sunlounges with mats and table – 38lv
35) Camping Veselie - umbrella, 2 sunlounges with mats and table – 24lv
36) Dyuni-South -  umbrella –  4lv, sunlounge – 4lv
37) Primorsko-Central -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
38) Dyavolska reka -  umbrella –  6lv, sunlounge – 6lv
39) Mechata dupka -  umbrella, 2 sunlounges and table – 20lv
40) Camping Oasis -  umbrella –  10lv, sunlounge – 10lv
41) Little Oasis -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
42) Camping Nestinarka -  umbrella –  5lv, sunlounge – 5lv
43) Varvara – umbrellas and sunlounges are free of charge in the beach bars
 

Source: webcafe.bg



Source: www.webcafe.bg
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Fireworks Festival in Kavarna

Bulgarian beach resort Kavarna will host the third edition of the annual Fireworks Festival on 14th and 15th August 2015. Thousands of people will gather on the north Black sea coast to watch this spectacular view.
The illumination show will be a combination of light effects and music. Attractive fireworks will light up the sky accompanied by favourite songs on the background of the sea.
Special guests on the first day of this year’s edition will be Down Low. The hip hop duo comes to Kavarna especially for the event. Visitors will enjoy Johnny B along with Once Upon A Time, Moonlight, Murder, Potion and many more.
Bulgaria’s favourite hip hop duo Rumaneca and Enchev will take care of the good atmosphere on the second day of the festival program.

Source: www.manager.bg
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Albena Resort Becomes the Largest Free Wi-Fi Area in Europe

In summer 2014 all guest and visitors of the beautiful Albena resort will be able to access free Wi-Fi. The free service will be available not only in the resort hotels or restaurants, but also on the beach and the public areas such as alleys, parks, etc. This will make Albena the largest free Wi-Fi area in Europe. Taking advantage of the free Internet the tourists could easily combine the useful work and the pleasure lying on the sunlounge.

Source: www.novinar.bg
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Turkish Airlines Launches Direct Flights Varna – Istanbul

A direct flight connecting Bulgaria's Black Sea city of Varna and Istanbul in just 45 minutes, will be launched in May. Turkish Airlines and Varna airport have signed an agreement and as of 21 May 2014, there will be direct flights between the two cities 4 times a week, BGNES reports. The flights are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. In the summer tourist season the Varna Airport will see an increase in the number of flights to and from Russia as Bulgaria Air offers daily flights to Moscow. There will be regular flights to Brussels, Luxembourg, Bremen and Rostock in May, as well. From June start regular flights to Kiev, Oslo, Zurich, Yerevan and Dusseldorf.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Aquamania opens doors in Albena in 2014.

Aquapark Aquamania opens doors in Albena in 2014. A true water magic will spread out on a territory of nearly 40,000 square meters within the resort of Albena. The water park is expected to be completed by June 2014 and will surprise water attractions fans with the following " Mammoth " 183 meters long , " Tantrum " - 191 meters long , "Pro Racer ' - 156 meters long and " Free Fall " - 76 meters long. AQUAMANIA uses the natural benefits of Albena resort - the clean air, the lush vegetation and the river - half natural and the other half designed by Canadian design company specifically for the water park. There will be a restaurant&bar in the park as well. The entrance fee for AQUAMANIA is included in the all-inclusive service of " Ralitsa Superior " and " Vita Park " hotels.

Source: www.albena.bg
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Thracian Cliffs - the Best European Golf Resort for 2014

Only 3 years after its official opening, Thracian Cliffs was awarded as European Golf Resort of the Year 2014. The big award has been voted by the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators (IAGTO), which is the global trade organization of the golf industry. The prize was given on Thursday November 14th, 2013 at the IAGTO Awards gala dinner during the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) in Spain. The European Golf Resort of the Year award is voted by IAGTO's specialist golf tour operator members, which now number over 516 from 62 different countries. Each operator was asked to vote for what they considered to be the best performing golf resorts of the year. The following criteria were considered: Customer Satisfaction, Quality of Golf Courses and Accommodation, Value for money, Support from Suppliers, Tourist Boards & Airlines, Professional Conduct of Suppliers, Accessibility to Tee Times This big award serves as great recognition for this unique piece of land in Bulgaria. The Thracian Cliffs golf course can challenge every golfer and in 2014 it will validate its status as one of the "must-play" golf courses in the world. This prestigious prize for Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort is received just one year after Bulgaria was voted Undiscovered Golf Destination. Thracian Cliffs is very thankful for the continuing support from the industry and will carry on working towards delivering even higher levels of excellent golf services and experience in Bulgaria.

Source: www.standartnews.com
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Bulgaria's Bolata Joins Global Most Beautiful Bays Club

The picturesque Bolata bay near the town of Kavarna on Bulgaria's northern Black Sea coast is going to be included in the "Most Beautiful Bays in the World" Club. The information was reported by the Bulgarian Standard daily, citing the Chairman of the Association of Bulgarian Black Sea Municipalities, Atanas Stoilov, via the Kavarna Town Hall press center. The decision has been made several days ago in the Turkish port city of Bodrum during the Club's annual session. Bolata will become full-pledged member of the prestigious Club at its next regular meeting to be held in 2013 in Cambodia. The Bulgarian nomination has been presented and defended by the Club's Deputy President and Mayor of the Portugal's city of Setubal, Maria das Dores Meira. Meira is expected to become Head of the Club at the forum in Cambodia where plans are for Stoilov and herself to nominate another Bulgarian bay for membership – the one of the historical town of Sozopol on the southern Black Sea coast. Stoilov stresses that membership in the Club is a great opportunity to showcase Bulgaria as a global tourist destination, while having 2 of its bays in the Club will place it on the level of tourist countries such as Spain, Canada, and Portugal, and ahead of Turkey and Greece.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Bulgaria to Welcome Over 1 Million Romanian Tourists in 2012

Over 1 million Romanian tourists will visit Bulgaria in 2012, Bulgaria's Deputy Economy Minister in charge of tourism, Ivo Marinov, predicted. Marinov spoke at a tourism forum in Romania's capital Bucharest on Friday during the 8th World Meeting of Bulgarian Media, as cited by Cross. He noted that a total of 960 365 Romanians visited Bulgaria in 2011, an increase of 4.6% compared with 2010. He further predicted a 6% increase in the number of Romanian visitors in Bulgaria in 2012, year-on-year. Marinov pointed out that the Bulgarian government is starting an advertising campaign to promote Bulgaria as a tourist destination in Romania with funding from EU Operational Program "Regional Development". During the Bucharest tourism forum, Bulgaria was presented with some of its main spa and balneo tourism centers, Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, and the Black Sea city of Balchik. Marinov also said that Bulgaria expects between 6% and 8% more foreign tourists in 2012 year-on-year.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Czechs to Be 1st Passengers at Bulgaria's New Black Sea Airport in Balchik

Bulgaria's brand-new Black Sea airport in the northeastern town of Balchik is set to welcome its first passengers after being transformed from a military into civilian airport, its director announced. On May 3, Thursday, Balchik Airport will receive a 9-seat passenger jet from the Prague Airport Ruzyne in the Czech Republic, according to Krasimir Kostov, chief of the newest Bulgarian airport. As of September 21, 2011, the airport in Balchik was transferred in order to become the third international airport on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast after Varna Airport and Burgas Airport. For the time being, however, the new Bulgarian Black Sea airport can receive only small passenger jets and is not equipped to service larger planes. In June, the new airport is set to host an international aviation festival as a promotion initiative.

Source: www.novinite.com
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More Macedonian Tourists in Bulgaria

Bulgaria will try to attract a greater number of Macedonian tourists, as the country is to present itself at the Skopje Travel Market 2012 that is launched on Tuesday. New products, lesser known tourist routes and detailed information on Bulgaria's Spa and wellness centers will be presented at the Macedonian tourism fair, the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism has announced. Companies from Sofia, Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo and the Black Sea summer resorts will be featured at the Bulgarian pavilion. In 2011, a total of 382 826 Macedonian tourists visited Bulgaria, which is a 23.5% increase year on year.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Bulgarian Resorts to Welcome Mostly Romanians during Easter Holidays.

Bulgarian resorts will welcome guests mostly from Romania and Serbia during the forthcoming Easter holidays, according to statistics of hotel owners. Romanians will be the largest group of foreign tourists, with groups from Serbia and Macedonia also expected to arrive at the southern Black Sea resort. Hotel owners at the northern Black Sea resort of Golden Sands have reported an increase in bookings by Bulgarians over the last few days, adding that the upward trend is due to the lower prices and the higher quality of local resorts as compared to Romanian ones. The first groups of foreign tourists are due to arrive in Golden Sands on Thursday and there are bookings for short holidays in the first week of May. Hotel owners estimate that the number of foreign visitors during this year's Easter holidays will stay about the same as last year's. A total of 100 - 110 00 international visitors are expected to arrive during the period, 60% of them from Romania and about 25-30% from Greece.

Source: www.novinite.com
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BULGARIA AMONG 2012 BEST VALUE BREAKS - UK RANKING

Bulgaria has been ranked as the fourth best value break of 2012 in UK Post Office holiday barometer. A cup of coffee costs as little as 96p and a three-course evening meal for two adults (including a bottle of house wine) in local restaurant averaged at GBP 24.04. The annual Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer monitors the price of eight popular tourist items in 40 holiday destinations worldwide – including dinner for two, light refreshments and sun cream. Sri Lanka and Spain came out on top as the cheapest overseas holidays. Spain has overtaken Portugal to become Europe's cheapest holiday destination, narrowly beating the Czech Republic and Bulgaria and over a third cheaper than Turkey. Thailand is the cheapest Far Eastern destination – although just GBP 5 divides Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Holders of Schengen visas will be able to visit and stay in Bulgaria without Bulgarian visas

Accepting a proposal by the Prime Minister, the Cabinet today decided that until the date of Bulgaria’s full accession to the Schengen zone, Bulgaria unilaterally will apply a visa-free system for holders of valid Schengen visas. With this decision, Bulgaria will apply the Schengen acquis. The decision will allow holders of Schengen visas and residence permits to enter and reside in the Republic of Bulgaria for a period of no more than three months in any six-month period from the date of first entry, without needing to have a Bulgarian short-stay visa. In practice, this decision will affect the citizens of all countries that currently require visas to enter Bulgaria and the EU, respectively. It means that citizens of China, Turkey, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and many other countries who already have Schengen visas or residence permits need make no further effort to stay in the territory of Bulgaria. Holders of such visas mainly are business people with strong economic potential, seeking to make investments, while other potential beneficiaries are tourists wanting to visit Bulgaria’s seaside or mountain resorts. Progressive efforts by the Government to ease the visa system for citizens of third countries visiting Bulgaria for tourism or business have produced concrete results – in 2011, Bulgarian consulates issued 733 623 visas, 18 per cent more than in 2010. Bulgarian visa requirement for holders of Turkish special passports falls away The Government today agreed to grant visa exemption for citizens of the Republic of Turkey who have special (green) passports. The resolution, adopted on the proposal of Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov, will allow Turkish citizens holding valid passports to enter and transit through the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria without visas and reside temporarily therein for a period not exceeding three months within any six-month period from the date of first entry. Almost all EU countries exempt Turkish citizens with special passports from visa requirements. Granting this visa-free system to Turkish citizens with special passports is an expression of goodwill on the Bulgarian side and is in the context of good neighbourly relations with the Republic of Turkey. This move will give additional impetus to economic, cultural, commercial and academic links between the two countries. The Government's decision will facilitate human contacts between citizens of both countries.

Source: www.mfa.bg
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Bulgaria Ups Flights from Black Sea to Moscow in Summer 2012

Flights from Bulgaria's Black Sea airports of Varna and Burgas to the Russian capital Moscow are increasing next summer season. The agreement was sealed by the Transport Ministries of the two countries. Since the spring of 2010, there have been seven flights a week on the Varna-Moscow line, which were increased to 14 in the spring of 2011. At the beginning of summer season 2012, flights on each line will go up to 21 a week without restrictions in the number of seats offered per flight, informs Bulgaria's Transport Ministry. According to the Ministry, the increase of flights will lead to the increase of capacity of the Varna-Moscow and Burgas-Moscow lines and improve services for Russian tourists next summer. The Transport Ministry of the Russian Federation has awarded its Bulgarian counterpart with the order Gold Chariot for strengthening partnership in aviation.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Bulgaria's Varna Airport with 19 Regular Lines in Summer 2011

The international airport in Bulgaria's Black Sea city of Varna will serve 19 regular routes in the summer season of 2011. The summer schedule of Varna Airport enters into force as of March 27, 2011; the first foreign tourists for the nearby Black Sea resorts are expected to arrive on Monday, March 28. The new destinations that Varna will have direct flights to Colon, Germany; Katowice, Poland; Samara and Kazan, Russia. The destinations with the highest frequency of outbound Varna flights are Sofia, Vienna, and Budapest. As of June 2011, Varna Airport will have direct daily flights to Moscow's Domodedovo Airport. Bulgaria Air will launch direct flights to Moscow's Sheremetievo twice weekly, and to St. Petersburg – once weekly – as of May 28. Varna will also have Bulgaria Air flights to London Gatwick twice weekly. The other destinations that can be reached directly from Varna over the summer are Luxembourg, Duesseldorf, Ekaterinburg, Oslo, Kishinev, Zurich, Novosibirsk, Rostov-on-Don, Frankfurt, and Brussels. The first 164 foreign tourists for Bulgaria's 2011 summer season will arrive Monday night with a flight from Frankfurt.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Turkish Airlines Launches Direct Flights Varna – Istanbul

A direct flight connecting Bulgaria's Black Sea city of Varna and Istanbul in just 45 minutes, will be launched in May. Turkish Airlines and Varna airport have signed an agreement and as of 21 May 2014, there will be direct flights between the two cities 4 times a week, BGNES reports. The flights are scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. In the summer tourist season the Varna Airport will see an increase in the number of flights to and from Russia as Bulgaria Air offers daily flights to Moscow. There will be regular flights to Brussels, Luxembourg, Bremen and Rostock in May, as well. From June start regular flights to Kiev, Oslo, Zurich, Yerevan and Dusseldorf.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Aquamania opens doors in Albena in 2014.

Aquapark Aquamania opens doors in Albena in 2014. A true water magic will spread out on a territory of nearly 40,000 square meters within the resort of Albena. The water park is expected to be completed by June 2014 and will surprise water attractions fans with the following " Mammoth " 183 meters long , " Tantrum " - 191 meters long , "Pro Racer ' - 156 meters long and " Free Fall " - 76 meters long. AQUAMANIA uses the natural benefits of Albena resort - the clean air, the lush vegetation and the river - half natural and the other half designed by Canadian design company specifically for the water park. There will be a restaurant&bar in the park as well. The entrance fee for AQUAMANIA is included in the all-inclusive service of " Ralitsa Superior " and " Vita Park " hotels.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Irish Aer Lingus to fly to Sofia

Aer Lingus, Ireland’s budget air carrier, unveiled nine new routes to the UK and Europe, Bloomberg reported. The carrier will fly to Sofia all Thursdays and Saturdays from October 28. Earlier in the year the company launched its first Bulgarian route taking passengers to and from the Black Sea city of Burgas. Aer Lingus operates nearly 70 destinations across Ireland, the UK, Continental Europe and the United States.

Source: www.news.dnevnik.bg
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More air carriers add Varna routes

This summer, Varna will appear for the first time on the destination rosters of four airlines. Edelweiss Air will fly to Zurich; Lithuanian Airlines will offer flights to Vilnius while Air Italy Polska will open routes to Warsaw and Katowice. Ukrain

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgaria's Varna to Host Biggest Exhibit on Water

The biggest exhibit on water in Bulgaria, Bulgaria Boat Show is officially opening Thursday evening at the seaport of the country's sea capital Varna. The yacht exhibit will take place June 6 to the 8 and will present over 50 new yacht models. 20 of them will be on the water while the remaining will be showcased on land. The expensive yachts will be displayed on an area of over 2000 square meters. Bugaria Boat Show 2008 will showcase more Azimut yacht then the biggest European exhibits. The yacht Itama 40 will make its European debut in Varna while the models Azimut 68S, Atlantis 50, Ferretti 830 and 460, as well Azimut 105 - one of the biggest yachts on the international market will sail for the first time in the Black Sea. The luxury Italian yachts Atlantica 78, Azzurra 63 and One 43 that can travel with speeds of over 45 nods per hour are also an absolute novelty. In the course of three days the visitors of Bulgaria Boat Show will have the opportunity to watch yacht demonstrations and participate in yacht tests. In addition, the exhibit will showcase elite automobiles, watches and properties. The agenda includes fashion shows and luxury parties. Bulgaria Boat Show has the goal to advertise and make yachting more popular by presenting the use and the ownership of boats as a modern way for contemporary businessmen to spend family vacations and to relax.

Source: www.novinite.com
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British Tourists Flock to Bulgaria

Rental investors in Bulgaria are seeing a surge in demand for tourist accommodation this summer, it has emerged. Online travel agency Lastminute.com revealed that the number of June bookings for the country is 151 per cent up on 12 months earlier. This means that some owners of holiday accommodation in Bulgaria will see higher occupancy rates this year, as well as greater rental returns. According to Lastminute.com, the increase in the number of bookings is partly because consumers in the UK want to avoid Euro 2008, which kicks off in Austria and Switzerland this weekend. John Bevan, managing director of the firm, commented: "It would appear that it is too painful for fans to stay home and watch Euro 2008 without their team competing." This comes after the Times said that Bulgaria is a much more affordable holiday destination than places such as Italy, Portugal, France and Spain.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Wizz Air to become first LCC to open domestic routes Sofia - Varna - Sofia

Budget air carrier Wizz Air Tuesday announced on its website that it would expand its Sofia base by deploying an additional new A320 aircraft starting from 12 July 2008. The airline will start new flights from Sofia to the domestic Varna airport, on the Black Sea, becoming the first low cost airline to operate domestic flights in Bulgaria. Tickets are already on sale with one way all inclusive fares starting from as low as 9.99 euro for Varna. The average price for a one-way fare will be 60-80 levs if it is purchased on the day of the flight, said József Váradi, chief executive officer of Wizz Air. Travelers will pay additional charges for non-carry-on luggage. The Wizz Air fare is around ten times cheaper than competing offers from Hemus Air, the only other carrier currently flying between the capital and coastal airports Varna and Burgas. The price is even lower than bus and train fares available to these destinations from Sofia.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia Recommended for Ski Holidays

The eastern European destinations of Bulgaria, Slovenia and Romania have been recommended to British tourists looking for a bargain ski holiday. Bulgaria's Borovets resort is the cheapest ski holiday destination, with prices for equipment and accommodation half of what travellers would find in Vail, Colorado, according to Post Office Travel Services. For those people and for bargain hunters, Bulgaria and Romania represent excellent value." This comes after the Association of British Travel Agents reported that France had overtaken Austria as the most popular skiing destination in Europe.

Source: Novinite.com
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Bulgaria's Dental Tourism Flourishing Thanks to Britons

Dental tourism is an increasing trend with more and more Britons, who combine a holiday to Bulgaria's Black Sea coast with a visit to the dentist. Bulgaria, Turkey, Poland, Hungary, Croatia and Thailand are cashing in from a growing number of Britons who cannot get treatment on the NHS or cannot afford to pay huge bills for going private, the Finance Market online edition reported. The medical search engine, revahealthnetwork.com, has revealed that 35,000 Britons a year travel overseas for dental work and nearly 60,000 searched online for information on dentists. The company declared that Britons can save up to 70% by travelling overseas for dental treatment - before accommodation and flights are taken into account. Bulgaria is a preferred destination due to the low-cost, high-quality dental care. The prices that local dentists charge are about seven times lower than those in Great Britain.

Source: Novinite.com
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Budget carrier easyJet to open Sofia-London route in Nov '07

British low-cost air carrier easyJet Wednesday announced it has added Sofia to its destination network. The company will perform flights from London's Gatwick airport to the Bulgarian capital three times a week - on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from November 6. The carrier said return fares will start from 75.77 euro with airport charges. Lower fares will be available to early bookers. Low-cost carrier British Midland has also announced plans to launch flights to Sofia from London's Luton airport this fall.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Borosport to invest 70 mln levs in Borovets ski runs

Borosport AD, the company managing the skiing facilities in Bulgarian mountain resort Borovets under a concession arrangement, said it will invest 70 mln levs over the next 3 years in new ski runs, skiing equipment and installations for artificial snow. The combined length of the Borovets ski runs will be extended to 120 km over the investment period. The company will attempt to make the best of the skiing locations with altitude between 1,600 and 2,500 m where snow shortage, which has plagued many an international winter resort, is less of a problem.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Budget airline Wizz Air to fly Sofia-Dortmund

Low cost carrier Wizz Air said it is launching a twice-weekly service from Sofia to Dortmund. The one-way fare is 24.99 euro with airport charges. At the moment, Wizz Air flies from Sofia to London and Rome and from Varna and Burgas to Warsaw, Budapest and Katowice. The new routes will boost to 37& the carrier's share of the local budget air travel market and to 20% its share of the overall air travel market. According to Wizz Air, no-frills carrier account for 40-50% of the total market.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgarian co to build 5 mln euro shopping mall in Bansko

Local company Bansko Privilege Resort said it will invest 5 mln euro in the construction of a shopping mall in Bulgaria's skiing hotspot Bansko. The retail center is sited next to the lower end of the gondola lift and the Kempinski Grand Arena hotel and should open for business in mid-2008. The 6,000 sq m mall will have 2 underground and 4 above ground levels.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Low cost carrier SkyEurope opens Burgas service Jun 9

Budget carrier SkyEurope said it will launch flights from Bulgarian Black Sea town Burgas to Krakow, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest. The Burgas-Krakow route will be available three times a week from June 9, Burgas-Bratislava from June 16 and Burgas-Prague from June 23. No date has been set for the flights to Budapest. SkyEurope offers an onward coach connection from Bratislava to Vienna. Norwegian Air Shuttle launched a regular service from Burgas to Oslo on April 14. The flights will be available every Saturday through October. German no-frills carrier Germanwings started flying from Burgas to Berlin, Cologne and Bonn from May 20. The Burgas airport expects passenger traffic to increase by 10% to 2 mln in 2007.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgaria welcomes influx of Romanian tourists

Some 17,7000 Romanian tourists descended on the Bulgarian Black Sea resorts during the recent extended Labor Day holidays, shows data of the Romanian border authorities. The holiday rush brings the total number of Romanian arrivals to 40,000 for the past 3-4 weeks. According to Romanian news agency Rompress, the appeal of the Bulgarian resort destinations lies in the good value for money that they offer. The Romanian national association of travel agents estimates that Romanian tourists paid 110-120 euro per person for a 4-day package.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgaria Could be Europe's Next Golfing "Hotspot"

Real estate developers in Bulgaria have woken up to the massive pulling power of top quality golf courses, experts say.

"Five signature courses - from the likes of Ian Woosnam, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player - are planned," says Chris Goodall from English language magazine Quest Bulgaria. "Developers here have recognised that by setting a course in an excellent location and combining it with additional quality attractions such as spas, wellness centres, horse riding, tennis and so on, gives year-round appeal. Golf is offering buyers the opportunity to buy top real estate not linked specifically to sea or ski." With global golf tourism worth over GBP 10 B, Bulgaria has 12 new 18-hole courses in development or underway, with five due for completion by 2008. Of these five courses, 30% of the 2,300 residential units across them have already been sold. Experts point out that Bulgaria is set to prosper from its all-new putting greens, given the success of Spanish and Portuguese golf developments and low cost airlines further spurring on future golf development. According to the World Tourism Organisation, by 2020 nearly every third visitor to Europe will choose a central or Eastern European destination.

Source: Novinite.com
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Retro Passenger Ships to Travel from Bulgaria to Turkey

The high-speed passenger ships "Comet" transporting tourists between Bulgaria and Turkey will be back in a month for the beginning of the summer season. The retro ships were stopped from motion more than 15 years ago, but now the businessman Radostin Dachev from the seaside city of Burgas decided to revive the idea and has already bough one ship for 240 passengers, which will be named Laura. The vessel can move with 30 to 40 knots so the distance between Nessebar and Istanbul will take five hours to travel. The ship will start from the Nessebar Port late in the evening and will arrive in Istanbul early on the next morning. The "sea busses" as they are known in Bulgaria were travelling between the ports of Burgas and Varna and Burgas and Sozopol.

Source: Novinite.com
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1/3 of Sunny Beach holiday homes on the market

Some 1,000 vacation homes in Black Sea resorts Sunny Beach and St. Vlas have been listed for sale, shows data of local real estate brokerage portal imoti.net. A third of the apartments were bought at 600-800 euro/sq m three to four years ago and now the owners are trying to sell them at double the purchase price. The holiday homes have been listed after the rent income they generated fell short of their owners' expectations. Most of the units are occupied for no more than 3 weeks and that amount of rent income is insufficient to cover year-round maintenance, let alone eke out a profit, commented imoti.net analysts. The asking price of holiday homes in the two resorts starts from 450 euro/sq m and tops out at 2,500 euro/sq m with the average price at 900 euro/sq m. Oversupply has developers struggling to move properties still under construction at sale prices above 1,000-1,200 euro/sq m, forcing them to throw in incentives like furnishings. Only fully-furnished seaview properties command sale prices of over 1,600 euro/sq m.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Terra Tour Service to invest 71 mln levs in Pravets golf resort

Local company Terra Tour Service has announced plans to invest 71.8 mln levs in a golf resort near the city of Pravets. Northern Bulgaria. The project will be granted a First Class Investor certificate by the InvestBulgaria Agency, the local investment promotion authority Terra Tour Service is managed by Vasil Zlatev, father of Lukoil Bulgarian executive director Valentin Zlatev. The 60 ha resort will comprise a PGA-level course, clubhouse and 35 villas. Terra Tour Service, which owns 4 hotels, game parks, sports venues, spa center and a Pomorie holiday complex, plans to self-finance 30% of the project cost and borrow the remainder. The Pravets development is the 5th golf resort awarded a First Class Investor certificate after projects in Pomorie, Razlog, Kavarna and the village of Kurilo near Sofia.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Tourist Boom in Bulgaria Expected for 2007

Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the EU is expected to generate a boom in tourism around Eastern Europe, especially on the Balkans, according to Travel Blackboard e-zine. After the two countries joined the Union, experts envisage that 2007 the number of foreign tourists in Bulgaria will jump with 10%. Around 5.6 million tourists are expected to visit the country. Bulgaria's EU membership has made it more popular as a travel destination. Even in 2006, when it was still not known whether the EU will approve country's accession, the tourist agencies registered record revenues, unseen before. The small country on the Balkan Peninsula has the best offers for winter vacations with its ski resorts Bansko, Pamporovo and Borovetz.

Source: Novinite.com
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Varna, Burgas airports to have new passenger terminals by mid-'09

Bulgarian coastal airports Varna and Burgas will have new passenger terminals by mid-2009, said Andreas Helfer, general executive director of Fraport Twin Star Airport Management which manages the two facilities under a 35-year concession arrangement. The new terminals will streamline the check-in and luggage inspection process and will allow checked-in passengers to shop and have access to all other services available at EU airport lounges, said Helfer.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgarians to Travel to Mexico Without Visas

The Bulgarian citizens will be allowed to travel to Mexico without visas from March 11 2007, the Deputy Foreign Minister Gergana Grancharova announced. The decision was made after negotiations between the two countries, Darik News reported. The Bulgarians will have the opportunity to stay in Mexico for up to 90 days within six months, crossing the border only by their passports. Until now, only those Bulgarians, who had diplomatic or official passports, were allowed to enter Mexico without visas.

Source: Novinite.com
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FT: Bulgaria, Romania Set for Boom in Low-Cost Flights

Business
Bulgaria and Romania are likely to attract many low-cost carriers thanks to their accession to the European Union and fast growing economies, Financial Times Deutschland reported. "The two countries are hoping to enjoy the same travel boom experienced by their fellow former-communist neighbours in central and eastern Europe - such as Hungary, Poland and the Baltic states - when they joined the EU in 2004," the article says. It points out that in anticipation of EU membership both Bulgaria and Romania have already dropped protectionist measures designed to coddle their national flagship carriers. SkyEurope, based in Slovakia, WizzAir and a few other low-cost carriers already operate flights to Bucharest and Sofia. As of January 1, however, access became even easier. Any operator with a European Union air carrier licence no longer needs government permission to secure landing rights.

Source: Novinite.com
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Budget carriers increase flights to Bulgaria

Low cost carrier Wizz Air Monday announced it will add new destinations to and from Bulgaria with its summer flight timetable. Starting in June, Wizz Air will fly from Bulgarian coastal city Burgas to Budapest, Katowice and Warsaw. Flights to Budapest will be available from another Bulgarian coastal city, Varna. At the moment, Wizz Air flies only to London from Burgas, a route serviced by rivals Bulgaria Air, Hemus Air and British Airways. Budget carrier Sky Europe recently said it was launching a Mon-Sat Sofia-Vienna route from March 26. Ryan Air is expected to open this year routes from Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second biggest city, to Britain, Spain and Germany. Italy's Myair and German Wings are also due to start operating to and from Sofia this summer.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgaria Promotes Tourism on Holland Exhibit

Business

Bulgaria will present itself with a stand on the international tourist exhibition Vakantiebeurs in the Netherlands. The exhibition will take place in the city of Utrecht from 9 to 14 January. Bulgaria will have its information stand installed on an area of 60 square metres. The stand will be the place where six travelling agencies and the Municipality of Smoliyan from the country will present their tourist offers. The exhibition is expected to welcome more than 250 00o visitors this year.

Source: Novinite.com
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Budget carrier Ryan Air to launch Bulgaria route in '07

No-frills airline Ryan Air will start offering flights to Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second biggest city, from August 2007, said Plamen Nikolov, executive director of the Plovdiv airport. The low cost carrier will fly from Plovdiv to destinations in Britain, Spain and Germany which have a substantial population of Bulgarian expats. In Germany, Ryan Air will use the Hahn airport near Frankfurt. The destination airports in Britain and Spain have not been specified. In related news, it emerged that the Sofia airport is in talks with both Ryan Air and easyJET. EasyJET refused to provide more information. A slew of budget carriers will enter the Bulgarian aviation market in the second half of 2007 and in 2008, predicted Plamen Stanchev, director of the Sofia International Airport. The local no-frills segment is currently shared by Wizz Air and SkyEurope. Bulgaria's overall aviation market is valued at 400-500 mln euro annually. Italy's MyAir and Germany's German Wings will start operating from the Sofia airport with the start of the summer flight schedule on March 25, said the Sofia airport. Wizz Air and SkyEurope are expected to increase their flights to and from Sofia from the same date by 22 and 15 respectively. German Wings said it will fly three times a week between Sofia and Stuttgart and Berlin. The company also said it is interested in a service to and from Plovdiv. MyAir plans to offer 23 flights weekly from Sofia to Bologna, Torino and Milan. The executive director of the airport in Burgas, on the Black Sea, recently said Norway's Norwegian Air Shuttle, Britain's ThomsonFly, German Wings and Ryan Air were interested in operating from the coastal city.(Dnevnik)

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Tempo Holidays adds Bulgaria to '07 brochure

Australian tour operator Tempo Holidays announced on its website it is adding Bulgaria to its '07 catalogue, saying its 43rd destination extends options for Greece and Turkey travellers. The launch products will include a two night Taste of Sofia package and a seven day coach tour including 4 star hotels, Roman ruins, old Bulgarian monasteries, city tours of Plovdiv, historic Veliko Tarnovo. Tempo Holidays will offer private airport to city hotel transfers at Sofia.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgaria Welcomes More Russian Tourists

Business

Bulgaria has welcomed over 200,000 Russian tourists for the period until the end of September, which is 22% more than for the same period last year.

Bulgaria and the Russian Federation will step up their cooperation in the sphere of tourism according to a draft agreement ratified by the cabinet Wednesday, the government press centre announced.

Apart from the traditional interest Russian tourists display in taking vacations at the Black Sea, they have started going on winter, balneological and SPA programmes.

Excursions to destinations within the country have also acquired greater popularity among Russian tourists. The guests show great interest in cultural and historical sites, as well as in extended tours to third countries.

Source: Novinite.com
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Bulgarian Cuisine Is a Real Lure for Tourists

Vacations for pregnant women and holidays for lonely people are the latest hit at the International Tourism Fair in London

Tripe soup, banitsa, Shopska salad, cheverme, strong brandy and special wines will lure tourists to come to visit Bulgaria. The traditional Bulgarian dishes can attract as many foreigners as the ski resorts in the country, say tour operators. We have to make advantage of this increasingly popular form of tourism as there's a lot of original dishes in Bulgaria that can pleasantly surprise gourmets all around the world, say experts. More than half of the tourists are interested in food that will be served to them during their stay, shows a British survey conducted at the International Tourism Fair in London. According to the study 83% of holidaymakers that travel with prepaid all-inclusive packages are ready to give up lunch and dinner to try local specialties. Alternative forms of tourism have become a real hit at the International Tourism Fair in London. There are two options for the seekers of gourmet pleasures. You can simply choose an itinerary from the reference book of the top 100 restaurants in the world or seek exotic experience with traditional dishes in ordinary local restaurants. Some of the most popular offers of tour operators are vacations for future mothers. The most suitable time for such a vacation is the second trimester of pregnancy, say experts. Upon their arrival in the hotel the future parents receive gifts for babies. Some of the most sought after hotels are those offering SPA procedures for pregnant women and childbirth classes. Future mothers can also order special massages for relieving back pains and tension in the legs. Holidays for lonely hearts are also becoming increasingly popular, say tour operators. Huge profits can be made on this market, as there are a lot of people who are willing to pay top dollar just to avoid the uncomfortable feeling to have dinner alone or be bored during their vacation. There are two types of loners. Some of them look for extreme experience and others just want to find a soul mate.

Source: StandartNews.com
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Bulgaria Welcomes 1,5 M Tourists for Summer 2006

Bulgaria's Black Sea resorts have received nearly 1,5 M foreign tourists for the 2006 summer season, shows a survey of the Analysis of Tourism Institute. The numbers were announced at the tourism forum "Bulgaria's Mountains". Rough calculations show the income from foreign tourists' visits for the summer season is about EUR 600 M. Bulgaria has scored a 8,3 % increase of the number of foreign tourist and a 4,6 % growth of income from tourism for the last year.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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Batch of carriers eye Bulgarian budget air travel market

Four no-frills carriers have notified the Sofia International Airport of their interest to offer regular flights to and from Bulgaria starting January 1, 2007 when the local aviation market opens to competition. Italian low-cost airline Myair will introduce on February 15, 2007 a new flight between Bologna, northern Italy, and Sofia, the company said in a statement quoted by news agency ANSA on Tuesday. The service will be available three times a week. Ireland's Ryanair, Britain's easyJet and Germany's Germanwings have also forwarded a flight schedule to the Sofia airport. Ryanair has proposed a service between Sofia and Frankfurt, Dnevnik learned from the Sofia airport. EasyJET wants to fly between Sofia and London. The company confirmed it was in talks with 50 airports, including Bulgaria. Several budget carriers are also seeking regulator slots from 2007 at the Burgas airport, on the Black Sea. Norwegian Air Shuttle, Britain's Thomsonfly, Germanwings and Ryanair are all interested in flying to Burgas, said Kalin Barzov, executive director of the airport. The Norwegian carrier has proposed flights to Poland, Norway and the rest of Scandinavia from March 2007. German Wings will fly from Burgas to Duesseldorf and Cologne. SkyEurope and WizzAir have the Bulgarian low cost market to themselves at the moment. Budget carriers were kept away form the Bulgarian aviation market over the past couple of years to preserve the market share of flag carrier Bulgaria Air which is currently undergoing a privatisation procedure. However, Sofia recently signed the open skies agreement that grants all European carriers access to the local market. The document is expected to be ratified by the Bulgarian parliament within a month.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Austrian Airlines Lures Bulgarians with Discounts

The Austrian Airlines in Bulgaria will offer discount prices to tickets to the most frequented sites in Austria within the "Welcome Aboard" initiative. The company launched the initiative in a bid to make more accessible the destinations within the European Union and encouraging Bulgarians embark on journeys to European countries on a daily basis. The initiative is part of an Austrian - Bulgarian professional tourism forum, which takes place in Sofia for a second year. The Austrian Airlines' preferential prices are for two-way tickets, do not include airport fees and are as follows: Sofia - Salzburg - Sofia - EUR 185; Sofia - Insburg - Sofia - EUR 185; Sofia - Vienna - Sofia - EUR 169. The new ticket prices will make it possible for more Bulgarians to get acquainted with Austria's cultural heritage and experience the treasures of Austrian nature, the airline believe.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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Rehn: Bulgaria, Romania Deserve Warm EU Welcome

On EU Doorstep Bulgaria and Romania have put remarkable efforts into becoming worthy of joining the EU and they deserve a warm welcome, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said presenting the monitoring report on Tuesday. Yet the report proposes some safeguard measures that would help keep both countries on the right track and guarantee that EU taxpayers' money is spent rightfully. Bulgaria has already done a lot in the areas of legislation and tackling corruption and the constitutional reform will lead to favorable changes in the judiciary and in fighting organized crime, Rehn said. Still there had to be more practical results, now that the laws have been mended. Accompanying measures will focus in the areas of the judicial system and the fight against organized crime, and they will also monitor how EU structural funds are spent in the area of agriculture. Should it turn out that this money is not used rightfully, assets could be frozen, or the cash flow simply stopped.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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EU Gives Green Light for Bulgaria, Romania to Join in 2007

The European Commission has invited Bulgaria and Romania to join the European Union in January, as they are able to take on rights as full fledged members on 1 January 2007.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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Fraport to sink 10 mln euro in Burgas airport by mid-'07

Fraport Twin Star Airports Management, the Fraport-controlled operator of Bulgaria's Varna and Burgas airports, said it will begin the construction of a new passenger terminal at the Burgas airport as soon as it obtained the necessary building permits. The new addition will double the current passenger capacity of the airport to 2.5 mln. The facility should be operational by mid-2009. Fraport Twin Star Airports Management will have to present to the Bulgarian transport ministry by November 10 all upgrades it intends to make for next year's tourist season. The airport operator, which will be based in Varna, said the cost of the near-term upgrades is seen at 10 mln euro.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Iceland Discovers Bulgaria as Tourist Destination

Icelandic tourists have been discovering Bulgaria as a favourite tourism destination this year, according to data by the state Tourism Authority. Along with Iceland, steady rise in the interest to spend the holidays in Bulgaria has been found with tourist from Ireland and Romania. Nearly 5% more tourists have come to Bulgaria in the first half of 2006 year-on-year, cashing in some EUR 450.1 M. For July alone the upward trend hit 10.61% more compared to the same month in 2005. The number of tourists from the UK, Ireland, Romania and the Scandinavian countries has been continuously on the rise, the Tourism Authority said. Greece tops the statistics with 332,559 tourists here, followed by Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia, Germany, the UK, Romania, Turkey, Russia and the Czech Republic.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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Alternative Tourism Gains Ground in Bulgaria

Alternative tourism is among the sectors to which Bulgaria puts weight, the country's state-run tourism agency announced in Salzburg, Austria. The country has presented its tourism development strategy at the Second European Conference on Rural Development in the Austrian city. The event was attended by a large number of delegates representing a total of 40 rural areas from European 26 countries. Bulgaria will make efforts to draw more visitors by further promoting cultural and natural tourism. The country will a work out a strategy, which envisages that summer and winter tourism development keep its pace. Safety, an increasing number of tour operators and programmes for alternative tourism and enhanced media awareness are among the strengths of alternative tourism in Bulgaria.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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Real Estate Prices in Bulgaria Up 20%

Real estate prices in Bulgaria have increased by 20% over the last year, according to London-based Night Frank Estate agents, cited by 24 Hours daily. Bulgaria ranks second in respect of property prices growth after Latvia, enjoying a 45.3% rise for the said period, the survey showed. The ongoing trend of significant increase is due to the low inflation rate, the growing life standard and the easy access to mortgage credits, according to experts. In five years, the Russian capital Moscow will rival London in the world's most expensive city competition, analysts note. The survey included Europe, the US and several Asian countries.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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Water park to be built in Rusalka-Elite resort

Bulgarian tourism holding Russalka Holidays said it will invest 2 mln euro in an aqua park in the Rusalka-Elite vacation complex, on the Black Sea. The water park should be ready for next year's summer season. The holding said there will be no further construction of accommodation facilities in the resort, located some 90 km north of Varna, to prevent overdevelopment.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Ancient Thracian Town to Draw Tourists to Bulgaria

A Thracian town dating back to IV century B.C. in central Bulgaria has the potential to become one of the country's archaeological hotspots, according to experts. Local authorities in the town of Kazanluk plan to turn it into a place of great importance to Bulgaria's tourism. The municipality and four Dutch companies will set up in September a foundation, aimed to promote the ancient town and fund its restoration. The attractive site, which is the only one of its kind preserved in Bulgaria spreads on a 50 dca area. Currently, the Thracian heritage is under water after the near dam overflowed it, but the mayor plans to drain the site by erecting a dam wall around it. Preliminary estimates show that the whole project will be worth some EUR 50 M and may be carried out in eight to nine months.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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Bulgaria Top Destination for 2007 - Survey

Bulgaria has topped as number one up-and-coming destination for travellers, according to a freshly released survey. The forecasts published by online travel company, Opodo, suggest that Bulgaria will be the top emerging destination for 2007. Close runner-ups to the Balkan state are Russia, Morocco and Cuba. According to Neil Mott, Opodo's UK country manager, 2006 has seen a strong rise in travel to Eastern European countries since whilst being accessible, they still hold a certain "mystique" for the traveller. "Bookings to Bulgaria have risen by 40% in the last six months and with the prospect of joining the EU in January 2007, we expect to see a significant increase in the number of tourists heading there to take advantage of the Euro," Mott added. Bulgaria, which shares borders with Romania, Turkey and Greece, has an extensive coastline along the edge of the Black Sea, the pan-European online travel company noted. A large number of holidaymakers and tourists are still choosing to travel to Australia, which came number five on the list, according to Opodo, ranking Brazil and India as sixth and seventh respectively. Dubai was listed as the eighth destination in the top ten, with China and South Africa coming in at number nine and number ten. Opodo predicts that the forthcoming Beijing Olympic games in 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, to be hosted by South Africa, will help draw tourists to those nations.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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German, Greek Tourists Turn Back on Bulgaria

Bulgaria sees a constantly decreasing number of holidaymakers from Germany, Greece and other markets that are considered traditional for the country. In 2005, the number of Greek tourists was down 15%, there were 14% less Macedonians and 4% less Germans. Central European countries, including Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, have also shown lower interest, according to a report by Bulgaria's non-governmental Center for Economic Development. In the meantime, the number of Romanian visitors doubled. UK citizens also showed boosted interest and their number was up 36%. Among the other growing markets were Finland and Turkey. Bulgaria's tourism growth culminated in the past years and is now on the decrease, CED say.

Source: www.novinite.com
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New British Airways Low Cost Service to Varna!

BA will be operating a new direct flight service to Varna from March 26th 2006, from Gatwick. Flights are Wednesday and Saturday. Prices are usually £55 each way + taxes. With some dates showing £125 or £155 for one way. You should be able to get a total price of £148.50 return incl tax.

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New lowfare direct airline Oslo-Varna

New lowfare direct airline Oslo-Varna is launched from 06 May 2006 with Norwegian Air Shuttle

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SkyEurope expands

SkyEurope expands eastwards and enters Bulgaria and Romania

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Italian Myair

The third low-cost airline to Bulgaria the Italian Myair has been granted traffic rights to launch services to Sofia till the end of 2005.

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Bulgaria has been included in the destination portfolios of a dozen Irish tour operators!

Bulgaria has been included in the destination portfolios of a dozen Irish tour operators, said the Bulgarian Tourism Authority. Some 29,000 Irish tourists visited the country in '05, up 100% y/y. Also, the number of the Danish companies selling Bulgaria as a holiday destination has also increased, going from 15 to 17 after the recent tourism bourse in Copenhagen. The number of Danish tourists rose from 53,000 in '04 to 72,000 last year.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Apocalyptica will inaugurate the summer tourism season in Bulgaria!

Finnish rock band Apocalyptica will inaugurate the summer tourism season in Bulgaria's Black Sea town Kavarna on June 1, Kavarna mayor Tsonko Tsonev announced. Apocalyptica's visit is part of their world tour and their only concert in Bulgaria will be in Kavarna, Tsonev explained. Tsonev managed to turn Kavarna into a rock capital on the Balkans Peninsula. After bringing rock dinosaurs Deep Purple, Saxxon, Ronnie James Dio, the energetic mayor braces for the new wave of rock with Scorpions, Accept, Destruction, Gamma Rey and Victory.

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Greek Aegean Airlines Take off to Sofia

Greek Aegean Airlines will start servicing flights from Athens to Bulgaria's capital Sofia on March 27. The prices for one-way travel are set at EUR 98,00, EUR 16 of fuel surcharge included. The total charge for the return ticket is EUR 196. The prices do not include a EUR 60 airport tax. Aegean Airlines carried a total of 4,007,515 passengers last year, marking an increase of 12.3 percent on 2004. The company announced a 2-euro surcharge on tickets as fuel primage due to the high oil prices.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Bulgaria Awaits Legendary Sting in the Summer.

The summer of 2006 will turn out to be among the greatest experiences for all Bulgarian music fans as some of the greatest world music stars have already placed the Balkan country on their tour maps. Legendary Sting, Alice Copper, Ronny James Dio are only a small part of the world-known names that will come to bring ecstasy to their fans in Bulgaria on the invitation of the PickAndMore agency. Sting's fans will be delighted on June 12 in the Black Sea town Nessebar and will be part of his tour "Broken Music." Another pop icon Anastacia will once again take the stage in Nessebar in June. On June 30 another Black sea town - Kavarna - will welcome Alice Copper and Ronny James Dio. Both Copper and Dio have been to Bulgaria before. Copper one in Sofia and Dio three times. Finnish rock band Apocalyptica will inaugurate the summer tourism season in Bulgaria's Black Sea town Kavarna on July 1. On July 8 Nessebar will welcome Nazareth and Joe Satriani. Whitesnake will once again hit the stage in Kavarna on July 25 and last music show will be the concert of Simply Red in Nessebar on September 1.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Tourism Authority Lands Hand to Sofia 2014

Bulgaria's Tourism Authority has declared its full support and cooperation to Sofia 2014 bid. The recently appointed tourism chief Mario al-Jebourri and Sofia Mayor Boyko Borissov signed an agreement for strengthening the administrative and expert capacity of the two institutions to improve the bid's chances to win. As part of the accord, the municipality and the state agency will develop Sofia's tourist infrastructure and plan joint events promoting the hosting of 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Plans provide that Bulgarian venues, organized outside the capital city as well. Under the concept, the mountain pearls of Borovets and Bansko will focus the main activities to be part of the Olympic games. The project would cost more than USD 1 B to build, most of that for the alpine center at Bansko. The bid budget is seen at approximately USD 13 M. The first phase of the assessment by the IOC will be complete by June 22. Until then a group of experts and representatives of international sports federations will thoroughly assess the qualities of each city's bid. Seven cities will compete with Olympics 2014 bids, including also Salzburg, Almaty, Sochi, Borjomi, PyeongChang and Jaca.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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Boom of 6.3% Predicted for Bulgaria's Tourism Sector in 2006

Bulgaria 's travel and tourism sector is expected to grow 6.3 % in 2006 and by 4.3 % per annum, in real terms, between 2007 and 2016, a survey of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) shows. According to the survey tourism in Bulgaria in 2006 will generate USD 6725.6 million of economic activity. Bulgaria's travel and Tourism economy (direct and indirect impact) in 2006 is expected to account for 16 % of GDP and 400 000 jobs (13.6 % of total employment). These figures place Bulgaria on the 68th position in absolute size worldwide from a total of 174 countries represented in the survey and on the 43rd place in Relative Contribution to national economies. Travel and tourism in the Central and Eastern Europe in 2006 is expected to generate USD 244,631.3 B of economic activity. The Central and Eastern Europe travel and tourism is expected to grow 5.9 % in 2005 and by 5.8 % per annum, in real terms, between 2007 and 2016. Each year the World Travel & Tourism Council, together with its research partner Oxford Economic Forecasting, produces comprehensive reports that quantify and forecast the economic impact of Travel & Tourism for 174 economies and the world. WTTC's mission is to raise awareness of the full economic impact of the world's largest generator of wealth and jobs - Travel & Tourism.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Bulgaria Invites 1 M Koreans to the Seaside

Nearly 1 million Koreans are expected to come to Bulgaria's seaside after 2007, local media reports. Bulgaria's embassy in Seoul will make a special presentation of the Balkan country, 24 Hours daily reported Saturday. Official figures show that annually nearly 9 million Koreans travel around the world. In 2005 alone one million people from the Asian country have visited different European countries. Only 3,000 of these tourists, however, have visited Bulgaria and a 1/3 of them enjoyed Bulgaria's winter and summer resorts. Now the biggest Korean tourism agencies have been invited to the presentation and some of Bulgaria's tour operators will be asked to join it. The presentation scheduled for April will also be attended by diplomats from the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Romania. Preliminary information shows that in May and June representatives of the biggest Korean tourism companies will make a tour in Bulgaria and the other 4 countries participants in the presentration.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Bulgaria in TUI Top 10 Summer Hotspots

German concern TUI, Europe's largest travel company, has placed Bulgaria in its Top 10 of summer holiday hotspots. Bulgaria is placed on the tenth position in the prestigious TUI ranking for the priority summer 2006 destinations, Romanian newspaper Cotidianul reports. A spokesman from the German concern explained that Bulgaria is the hottest destination from the countries from Eastern Europe as over the last years it has considerably developed its hotels and infrastructure. The main reason for the tourists to chose Bulgaria is the great development of that destination. TUI has not included Romania in its list, Cotidianul points out. As main drawback of Romania as tourism destination in the lack of hotels and the poor infrastructure compared to Bulgaria. Greece, Egypt, Turkey, UK, Germany are also among the top ten destinations of TUI.

Source: www.novinite.com
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TUI Nordic sees 10% uptick in Bulgarian bookings

Tour operator TUI Nordic expects to sell 10% more Bulgarian holiday packages in '06 after assisting 65,000 Scandinavian tourists to book summer vacations here last year, said the company's local representative Valentin Yosifov. Bulgarian hoteliers are hoping Scandinavian tourists would offset the ebb on the German market where TUI is reporting a 15% y/y decline in bookings. TUI Nordic is financing a hotel in Tsarevo, South-eastern Bulgaria, which will cater exclusively to Swedish and Norwegian holiday-makers.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Independent: Bulgaria Enchants Britons

"Investment has been the incentive for most buyers in Bulgaria, with off-plan apartments forming the bulk of sales. But a new trend is emerging as a growing number of Brits encounter the charms of this diverse country and opt to move there permanently", Independent wrote. Sunny Beach on the Black Sea Coast has so far drawn the most buyers, and signs of development are everywhere in this buzzing resort, the newspaper continues. The newspaper has talks to real estate experts explaining that most of UK buyers often opt for period properties in small villages. "Bulgaria has high unemployment and some of the lowest wages in Europe, around EUR 200 per month, and this alone will attract companies to base themselves there, resulting in many more British employees being relocated", Independent cited an British real estate expert as saying. Prices on Bulgaria's coast have risen significantly in the last few years, many agents reporting year-on-year rises of 25% in most resorts and even 100% in certain hotspots but, while investors are attracted to the coastline, people moving permanently often prefer to be based inland.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Bulgaria use of Visa cards for online payments abroad up 126% in '05.

The value of Internet payments made by Bulgarians using Visa credit cards zoomed up by over 100% in 2005, shows data of the international credit card company released on Wednesday, March 15. The value of electronic payments to non-native vendors topped $14.3 mln, up 126.7% over 2004, while their number posted an year-on-year gain of 195% to 155,000. In the Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Bulgaria trailed only Romania in terms of the value of electronic Visa payments in 2005. Romania also came tops in the ranking for the highest year-on-year growth in the value of online Visa payments with 160.8%, followed by Serbia and Montenegro with 149.7%, Bulgaria and Croatia with 84%. Internet users in Bulgaria last year were estimated at 2.2 mln from a population of 8 mln. The number of Visa credit cards issued in Bulgaria was reported at 584,000 at the end of 2005. Bulgarians used bank cards to pay online for goods and services worth 42 mln levs, according to data of national card operator BORICA. The company does not track online transaction initiated with cards issued by United Bulgarian Bank and DZI Bank which have stand-alone ATM networks. Most online payers use ePay.bg. BORICA said the portal registered 645,000 payments in 2005. The value of the average transaction via ePay.bg was 38 levs. The overall number of online payments with bank cards rose by 102.3% in 2005 while their value was up 115.6%.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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British Airways to launch Varna-London flights in late March.

British Airways will open a regular Varna-London service on Mar 29. The flight will be performed on Wednesday and Saturdays until the end of May. Two more flights will be added from June 6. Return fares will start from 150 euro. Low-cost carrier Thomsonfly, a unit of Thomson Holidays, will also launch flights from London to Varna and Bourgas in May. According to preliminary information, return Varna-London fares will start from 239 British pounds. Flights to Manchester, Newcastle and Cardiff will also be available from Varna this summer. Thomsonfly will perform its inaugural flight to Bourgas on May 26. The company will fly to the coastal Bulgarian city from Doncaster and Sheffield. Fares will start at 126 British pounds. A temporary passenger terminal will be built at the Varna airport ahead of the summer onrush, said airport director Yanko Yankov. The overall cost of the measures that will be implemented to improve ground services for the upcoming tourist season is 3.2 mln levs.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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German tourists cooling on Bulgaria.

The ITB international tourism fair that wrapped up in Berlin confirmed Bulgaria's declining popularity as a holiday destination on the German market. German tour operators ITS and TUI said bookings are currently lagging the year-ago period by 5% and 20%, respectively. Both companies reported a y/y drop in bookings in '05. Bookings at another major German tour operator, Alltours, are 1% below the year-ago mark. The pullback is attributed to the overbuilding of Bulgarian sea resorts, the poor infrastructure and inadequate advertising.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgarian carrier Hemus Air to start flights to London, Berlin.

Bulgarian private carrier Hemus Air will launch flights from Sofia to London and Berlin from April 9 and intends to operate a regular service to all European capitals within 2 years, said the company's executive director Dimitar Pavlov. Hemus Air will fly to London's Heathrow Airport on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays. Hemus Air will become the first Bulgaria carrier to resume flights to Heathrow after the landing and take-off slots of bankrupt national flag-carrier Balkan Airlines were sold for Gatwick slots. The flights to Berlin will be available on Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays. The return fares to London and Berlin start at 199 euro without airport charges. Hemus Air said it is also in talks with potential partners to launch flights to Istanbul. Pavlov said the company will try to join one of the existing airline alliances. The company executive confirmed Hemus Air's interest in the upcoming privatisation of national flag-carrier Bulgaria Air. The flag-carrier is in bad shape and should be privatised as soon as possible, said Pavlov. The privatisation of the flag-carrier should be used by the Bulgaria air carriers as an opportunity to form an alliance, said Pavlov, adding that the native airlines will find life very difficult after Bulgaria joins the Open Skies agreement in the fall. The privatisation strategy requires eligible strategic investors to have sales of 150 mln euro for each of the past 2 years and 750,000 passengers, a requirement that none of the local carriers can meet. Hemus Air, owned by Balkan Hemus Group, intends to bid for Bulgaria Air in the capacity of financial investor via the Central Co-operative Bank (CCB). According to the DAXI legal information system, Balkan Hemus Group is wholly-owned by foreign trade company Chimimport. Chimimport owns CCB Asset Management which, in turn, controls CCB. Liechtenstein-registered Chiminvest Institute owns 98% of Chimimport.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgaria's "New Eldorado For Wine"

Recent years have seen a revival in Bulgarian winemaking, London-based Decanter Magazine wrote in its March issue. There is an almost infectious enthusiasm for a new wave of high-quality wines, according to the story. It pointed out the intense inflow of foreign investments, and the role of EU cash through SAPARD. "Bulgaria is the new Eldorado for wine," a French winemaker was quoted as saying. Marc Dworkin is in charge of the Bessa Valley project at Pazardjik near Plovdiv. Decanter recalled that in its communist past Bulgaria was one of the four favourite sources of red wine. The attention that the country is getting now as a tourism hotspot should be an opportunity fir Bulgaria to get itself back on the wine map, the magazine suggests.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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Bulgaria's Tourism Sector "Needs State Support"

Bulgaria's tourism sector will need additional state support, should the authorities lift the currently used state preferences, it appeared after a meeting between Bulgaria's president and representatives of the tourism sector. Bulgaria's President Georgi Parvanov, Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski, Mario Al-Jebouri, chair of the State Tourism Agency and representatives of the tourism sector in the country discussed the main problems in that field. More than an hour they debated on the problems of the tourism sector and the taxing policy. Tourism sector has a special place in the efforts for Bulgaria's adaptation to the EU demands, President Parvanov underlined. One of the main problems for the tourism business in connected to the taxing policy and Sofia's capability to synchronize it obeying the EU demand, he also pointed out. The plans for increasing of the VAT of 7% to 20% for the tourism sector are among the main concerns of the tourism representatives.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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Bulgarians Boost Foreign Trips

Bulgarians tend to travel more outside the country, according to data published on Saturday. Last year cross-border travels increased by 9.1% as compared to 2004. The state radio said that Bulgarians realized more than 4.2 million trips in a year. Most of those were travelling for business. Neighbours Turkey, Greece and Serbia and Montenegro were the most popular destinations for the trips, according to the fresh report. But it was Finland, Ireland and Luxembourg that saw the most rapid increase in Bulgarians' interest.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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Bulgarians Enter World Traveller's Poll

Bulgarian votes will be included in an influential world survey on favourite travel destinations. The next edition of the annual Lonely Planet Travellers' Pulse Survey will reflect the Bulgarian preferences for the first time, media said. Bulgarians will be able to vote via an online form, available until April 19 on the website of the Usit Colours travel agency. Last year, voters rated Australia as the most desirable place to visit next. The land of kangaroos was followed by Chile, Brazil, New Zealand and India. Australia also topped the list of favourite destinations that travellers had previously visited, followed by the ever popular Italy, Thailand, New Zealand and France. Almost 20 000 respondents from 167 countries took part in the vote.

Source: www.novinite.com
Source: www.sofianewsagency.com
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Sofia, Seaside Presented at Moscow Top Forum

Bulgaria's capital Sofia and the seaside resorts of Nessebar and Tsarevo will be introduced to international tourism professionals, starting Sunday. Ten Bulgarian firms are taking part in Moscow's ITM 2006. The expo is universally recognised as the leading travel industry event for Russia. Companies from 46 countries have signed up for the event. Bulgaria's representatives will provide other participants with information about the country's tourism advantages. But the most attractive part will probably be the tasting of Bulgarian wines. Organizers have declared March 21 the Day of Bulgaria in the framework of the forum.

Source: www.novinite.com
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No-frills carrier Germanwings sees potential in Southern, Eastern Europe

Low-cost carrier Germanwings sees promising potential in Southern and Eastern Europe, Joachim Klein, member of Germanwings board of directors, was quoted as saying by Global Travel Industry News. Currently, the Balkan destinations serviced by Germanwings are Athens, Thessaloniki, Ankara, Antalya, Istanbul, Izmir, Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik. Sources from the Bulgarian tourism industry confirmed that Germanwings is indeed eyeing the Bulgarian market but currently performs only occasional charter flights for tour operators TUI, ITS and Thomas Cook. The sources said Germanwings will launch flights to and from Bulgaria after the country joins the Open Skies agreement this October. The Bulgarian air travel market already accommodates 2 budget carriers. Hungary's Wizz Air started flying to and from Sofia in late 2005 and plans to add Bourgas to its destinations this summer. Slovakia's SkyEurope also flies to Sofia and intends to launch a service to Varna and Bourgas this summer.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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More Hungarian tour operators to market Bulgaria

Hungarian travel companies Utas Tours, TGV Tours, Jalta Tours, Avantgarde and Gulet Touristik have added Bulgaria to their '06 catalogues after the UTAZAS tourism fair that wrapped up in Budapest. Bulgaria reported a fractional drop in the number of Hungarian arrivals last year when they topped 44,520. A total of 20 tour operators market Bulgaria as a holiday destination in Hungary.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgarian parliament oks national flag-carrier sell-off strategy

The Bulgarian parliament approved on Thursday the strategy for the privatisation of a 99.9% stake in national flag-carrier Bulgaria Air. The two-stage competitive procedure is open to strategic and financial investors but not consortia thereof. The Bulgarian state will retain a golden share and will ensure post-privatisation control options in a bid to prevent a repeat of the privatisation flop with Bulgaria Air's predecessor Balkan Airlines. Eligible candidates will be strategic investors domiciled in Bulgaria wherein at least 51% are held by Bulgarian individuals or corporate entities or individuals or corporate entities from the EU or the member states of the European Free Trade Association. The strategic investors will be required to certify annual proceeds of at least 100 mln euro for each of the past two years and traffic of at least 750,000 passengers Eligible financial investors should certify 250 mln euro in assets or 150 mln euro in equity. The investor will be expected to raise the carrier's capital from 13 mln to 30.1 mln levs.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Tour operator TUI sees doubling of Bulgarian summer bookings

Thomson and Portland Holiday Direct, units of tour operator TUI UK, plan to increase the number of Bulgarian holiday packages sold in Britain to 70,000 this year, up from 33,000 in '05, Dnevnik learned from TUI Bulgaria manager Valentin Yosifov. TUI's carrier Thomsonfly will offer charter flights to Bulgarian coastal cities Varna and Bourgas this summer. No schedule has been announced for the upcoming charter service. Portland Holiday Direct markets 8 hotels in Bulgarian sea resorts Zlatni Pyasatsi, Slanchev Bryag and Obzor. The Thomson website does not list the out operator's affiliate hotels in Bulgaria. In contrast to TUI UK and Thomas Cook, the other British tour operators selling Bulgarian packages have reported a slowdown in bookings for the summer holidays. First Choice said the year-on-year decline in bookings was 20% in early March. Balkan Holidays-London was 3-4% behind the year-ago figures. My Travel was doing 5% better year-on-year but that company operates with a very limited capacity in Bulgaria. Britain is the second most important foreign market for Bulgaria's tourism industry after Germany.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgaria Leader in Real Estate Yields

Bulgaria was declared top overseas property hotspot in a ranking of a London consultancy that compared the total return on cash in real estate markets. With yields rising to 12 per cent and capital gains remaining impressive at 36 per cent, Assetz assessed the total return on cash invested in Bulgaria at 116 per cent last year. This statistic has pushed Bulgaria above Cyprus in the chart for total returns on cash invested, backing up the popular claim that Bulgaria is now comparable to Spain in the 1980s. While experts have been predicting for a number of years that Bulgaria will emerge as a leading choice for investors, the new research firmly positions the country at the top of the chart, says Stuart Law, managing director of Assetz. The Assetz research suggests that the steep incline in house price increases will level off to some extent before the year's end, but market growth is expected to remain high. "The ski resorts of Bansko and Borovets continue to draw a huge amount of interest from property seekers, with significant construction projects now underway to accommodate the demand."

Source: www.novinite.com
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Croatia added to easyJet destinations

British low-cost air carrier easyJet will start to fly from London's Gatwick airport to Croatian cities Rijeka and Split from this summer, reports breakingtravelnews.com. The company's regional reach includes also Athens, Istanbul and Ljubljana. EasyJet has been tipped as one of the budget carrier interested in using the Sofia airport. The Bulgarian capital is already on the destination rosters of no-frills carriers Wizz Air, SkyEurope and My Air.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Hunting Tourism Revenues Up in Bulgaria

Revenues from Bulgarian hunting tourism have increased by half a million levs on a year-on-year basis. In 2005 Bulgaria cashed in BGN 4.2 M (about EUR 2.1 M) from this type of tourism, Deputy Agriculture Minister Stefan Yurukov announced on Wednesday. Yet, compared to the 80s of the previous century, revenues drastically slumped by 50%. According to data from the National Forestry Authority, nearly half of all 3044 acting registered hunters in the country were Bulgarians. Foreigners are getting more and more intrigued to come on a hunt here, Yurukov said. Predominantly they come from Germany, Spain and France. Sofia opened Wednesday an international exhibition running under the motto Nature, Hunting, and Fishery, attended by 168 firms from 21 countries.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Varna port arrivals seen at 20,000 in '06

Traffic via the passenger cruise terminal in Varna is seen at 20,000 this year, up from 11,500 in '05, said Valentin Kitanov, chief of the terminal facility. The number of cruise ships at that will dock at the terminal will increase to 16 from 11 in '05. The first cruise ship for this year's season is expected to arrive on Mar 28.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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103 Foreign Millionaires Swoosh Down Bansko's Ski Tracks

103 millionaires from Austria, Germany, and Italy gathered to try out the slopes of Bulgaria's skiing resort of Bansko for a couple of days. The business moguls were invited by the resort's concessionary Yulem Stockholding Company. Bulgaria's State Tourism Agency head Mario Al-Jebouri also joined the skiers for a couple of quick rides. He then held a lecture on the advantages of the winter tourism in Bulgaria. The foreigners were very pleased with the resort and admitted that they expected a lot less from Bulgaria. Bansko is in no way inferior than many world-class resorts, they commented.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Romania Says It Lost Tourism War to Bulgaria

Bulgaria's higher quality of services and lower prices are beyond comprehension for Romanians, Romania's newspaper Cotidianul wrote in an article entitled "Romania Lost Tourism War to Bulgaria". The article attributes the successful development of Bulgaria's tourism to the privatisation of hotels, the contracts with powerful tour operators and the flow of investments. "The hotels were modernized and brought up to international standards. In this way the money, given by giants such as TUI and Neckermann, gave yields through tourist packages at low prices. Bulgarians got both money and international tourists, including many a Romanians." When tourism revenues for 2004 were totalled in Romania, the price tag was a mere EUR 505 M, against EUR 2,2 B in Bulgaria, Cotidianul points out.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Bulgaria to open railway mkt to foreign carriers

EU-based railway carriers will gain access to the Bulgarian market when the country's admitted to the union, say the amendments to the Railway Transport Act posted for discussion on the website of the transport ministry. Bulgaria has so far licensed only 2 private railway carriers, Bulmarket and National Railway Company. The new-comers will pay to the national railway infrastructure operator a user charge set by the government. The new bill also envisages the award of concession contracts for railway sections that are not part of pan-European corridors.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgaria's Tourism Opportunities Presented in China

Bulgaria is being presented as a tourism destination at the Beijing International Travel and Tourism Market that kicked off on Monday to continue to April 5. Bulgaria is participating in the event for the second time, the State Tourism Agency explained. Last year Bulgaria's stand was visited by 2,088 representatives of the Chinese tourism industry. A total of 31 destinations were presented. China is one of the potential markets for the Bulgarian tourism. The Beijing International Travel and Tourism Market is taking place for the second time and is only opened for professionals. As a part of the demands of the Chinese government Bulgaria was declared for an official destination. So far the biggest obstacle for the Bulgarian and Chinese tourists is the lack of direct flights between the two countries.

Source: www.novinite.com
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President Parvanov Invites UK's Business to Bulgaria

After the political support voiced by British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Bulgaria's route to the EU, we are now looking for the business' support, President Georgi Parvanov told the Lord Mayor of the City of London David Brewer and business representatives. Over the last few years Bulgaria is known for its stable macroeconomic indexes and high levels of growth of the investments. Therefore we ask you to support our ambitions for diversification of the structure of the exchange of merchandise between the two countries, Parvanov said. In Parvanov's words Bulgaria is expecting a greater interest from UK companies in the IT sector, the banking field, energy and tourism. The Lord Mayor of the City of London David Brewer voiced his support to Bulgaria's timely EU entry. In his speech he pointed out that some 40-50 UK companies are working in different sectors in Bulgaria, underlining, however, that there is a greater potential for the business relations. The reforms in the judicial system will surely attract new investments, Brewer added.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Greek Aegean Airlines Enters Bulgarian Market

Greek Aegean Airlines started servicing flights from Athens to Bulgaria's capital Sofia every day in support of the growing efforts of Greek businesses to penetrate the markets of Eastern Europe. The maiden flight took place on March 27, but the company is and is about to disclose its further plans in Sofia next week. The flights' schedule is designed to serve both business travelers, as well as passengers traveling to Sofia for tourism and recreation. The price for one-way travel is set at EUR 98, including EUR 16 of fuel surcharge. The total charge for a round-trip ticket is EUR 196. The prices do not include a EUR 60 airport tax. Aegean Airlines carried a total of 4,007,515 passengers last year, marking an increase of 12.3% on 2004. AEGEAN continues to seek government permission to add flights to other Balkan destinations like Istanbul and Bucharest and is also interested in Cairo in North Africa.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Smart Wings arrives on Bulgarian sea coast

Czech budget carrier Smart Wings was quoted by news agency SeeNews as saying on Mon it would launch flights from Prague to the Bulgarian Black Sea cities of Varna and Burgas in June '06. Flights will be operated two times a week, on Tuesday and Friday, the company said in a statement published on its website. At present, Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air and Slovak-based SkyEurope operate in Bulgaria. Sector companies like Norwegian Air Shuttle and Italian Myair.com also plan to launch flights to the Balkan country in '06, said SeeNews.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Austrian Retirees Open Tourism Season in Posh Bulgarian Resort

A total of 700 tourists from the Austrian Pensioners' Association are to arrive for a vacation at the Bulgarian posh resort Albena. In the days to May 18 some 1300 Austrian tourists will come to the Black Sea resort. They will be aquatinted with Bulgaria's his history and will visit several cultural and historical treasures in Balchik, Varna and Nessebar.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Bulgarian Tourism Organizations Unite

The National union of the Bulgarian tourism industry will be established on April 25. The new organization will unite the Bulgarian hoteliers and restaurateurs association (BHRA), the Bulgarian association of the tourism agencies (BATA) and the Bulgarian tourism chamber (BTC). Donka Sokolova, BATA chair, told local Darik radio that there should be such an organization that would protect the interests of the companies working in that sector. BHRA chair Blagoy Ragin called for the organizations to solve all problems between them ahead of unification. The tourism sector is one of the fastest growing fields of Bulgaria's economy.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Bulgarian Property Market "Steals Spain's Limelight"

While property investment in Spain has rarely been off the radar for years now, emerging property markets including Bulgaria and Cyprus have inevitably stolen some of the limelight, UK experts believe. House price growth has remained strong in Spain, however, and investors continue to flock to the country with the intention of making considerable returns, both through rental income and capital gains, the website of London real estate consultancy Assetz commented. According to Spain Herald average house prices in Spain are now higher than EUR 6,000 per square metre in nine cities in the country. Figures from the Tecnitasa property valuation company show that Sevilla, Oviedo and Zaragoza have now joined the elite list that already includes Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Marbella and Santander.

Source: www.novinite.com
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Balchik awards marina concession

The municipal council of Balchik, on the Black Sea, has granted a 35-year concession for the civic yacht port to the Marina-Balchik consortium which lodged the only bid for the contract. The concessionaire undertakes to invest 2 mln levs in the facility, increasing the moorage capacity from the current 60 yacht berths to 160. A yacht marina is also planned further south in the resort of St.Vlas. The investor, Venid-Yacht, plans to build a facility for up to 300 vessels.

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Bulgaria Presented at Belgrade Tourism Bourse

Bulgaria as a tourism destination will be presented at the 28th edition international tourism bourse in Belgrade - IFTS'06. More than 520 national and regional companies will be presented at the expo that opened doors Wednesday. In 2005 534,474 tourists from Serbia and Monte Negro have visited Bulgaria. The main interest of the Serbian and Montenegrin tourists was in Bulgaria's sea and winter ski tourism, the State Tourism Agency announced. They have showed an increasing interest in the southern Black Sea region - Nessebar, Sunny beach, Sozopol and in the posh winter resorts of Borovets and Bansko.

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BA Cuts Prices, Challenges Low Cost Airlines

British Airways announced it is slashing prices to almost all short-haul European destinations. The company is the first traditional airliner to down one-ways by up to 50% of the total charge for a round-trip ticket for all classes. The fare for a one-way ticket from Sofia to London is cut down to EUR 80, airport taxes excluded. British Airways announced low fares for the Club Europe class to London's Gatwick airport. The new fares for the business class start from EUR 362, airport taxes excluded, down from the current EUR 1339. With the new prices of two-way tickets, the cut for the most popular destinations in Bulgaria averages EUR 60. Two-way ticket holders can change the date of their travel at the price of EUR 50. By reducing its fares, British Airways throws down the gauntlet to low cost airlines easyJet and Ryanair. Besides, the airliner will continue to offer its traditional extras, including free food and drink on all flights.

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Balkan Holidays: Bulgaria winter bookings up 35%

Tour operator Balkan Holidays said the number of British tourists that visited Bulgaria's ski resorts Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo during the '05-'06 winter season rose 35% to 25,000, said Ilia Chuturkov, the company's marketing and advertising manager. Some 165,000 Britons booked vacations in Bulgaria last year through Balkan Holidays, up 50% y/y. Earlier this year, the company reported a 3-4% dip in bookings for the upcoming summer season.

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Berlin Busses to Invite Tourists to Bulgaria

Busses in Berlin will be adorned with ads of a new tourist destination - Bulgaria - Mario Al-Jebouri, head of the State Tourism Agency, announced. Nine bus lines in some of the most-populated areas of Berlin will advertise the Balkan hotspot to all the passers-by, Al-Jebouri has said. This was a trendy, unorthodox, and not so expensive way to tempt foreign tourists with Bulgaria's beauties, he added. The advertisements will say "Destination Bulgaria" and will bear the contact info of the Bulgarian embassy in Germany and of the State Tourism Agency. The Agency is also planning to open Bulgarian tourist offices in countries where tourism is highly developed. Germany, Russia, Spain and the UK are among the counties where such offices may soon open doors. Companies that have business interests in these countries will finance the offices, which will have the statute of a national tourist centre.

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Bulgaria Revives Tourism-Wine Bond

A festival in Bulgaria's far south has tried to rediscover the connection between local tourism and wine-producing traditions. "Wine and Tourism" filled the sunny town of Sandanski with good mood for a total of three days, media reported. Its aim was to boost the partnership between local tourism complexes and the wineries. This year, ten Bulgarian companies took part in the fest. But, according to a report of the state radio BNR, organizers have the ambition to draw international interest for the forum.

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Bulgaria Advertised at Arabian Tourism Expo

Bulgaria's State Tourism Agency has its own stand at the Arabian Travel Market tourism exhibition that opens Tuesday in Dubai's World Trade Center. During the following four days the Arabian Travel Market will gather exhibitors of over 90 countries, in what promises to be the must attend tourist event in the region. Bulgaria offers excellent conditions for family recreation, eco-tourism, cultural, rural, conference, hunting, balneotherapy, seaside, and skiing tourism, the event's website states. Along with the exhibition, the Arabian Travel Market offers seminars and a golf tournament.

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British Airways will fly with the Bulgarian air company to London every Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Bulgaria's flag carrier has added to its summer schedule regular flights from the Black Sea coast of Varna to a number of European capitals, the city airport announced. Bulgaria Air and Austrian Airlines will jointly service daily flights from Varna to Vienna. British Airways will fly with the Bulgarian air company to London every Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. As of June 6 British Airways plans to add another two flights to its schedule, to be conducted on Mondays and Tuesdays. The Bulgarian flag carrier will fly every Thursday from the Varna airport to Amsterdam (as of May 18), to Madrid (every Friday as of June 2), and Milan (as of July 5). During the summer period Malév Hungarian Airlines will operate flights from Varna to Budapest on every day of the week but Monday.

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TUI sees 10% bump in Austrian arrivals '06

European tour operator TUI expects to sell 10% more Bulgarian holiday packages to Austrian customers in '06, said the company's local rep Valentin Yosifov. The bookings, seen at 6,000 this year, will be made through TUI's subsidiary Gulet Touristik. TUI partners with the Austrian Airlines, Lauda Air and Air Via.

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Varna airport sees 10% uptick in '06 flights

The airport in the city of Varna, on the Black Sea, kicked off its '06 charter program with 26 domestic and international flights on May 1, said Ivilina Koeva from the airport's press office. The airport will process 1,225 charter flights in May. Over 10 new air carriers will fly to the Varna airport this summer. A total of 50 airlines will be using the facility. The number of flights is expected to increase 10% this year. The airport services 1.5 mln passengers in 2005. The biggest gain was recorded by regular business services. Hungary's Malev and the Austrian Airlines and the airport's top 2 ticket sellers.

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Bulgaria to Lure More Russian Tourists

Bulgaria will be presented as a tourism destination at the international expo MITF '2006 in Moscow. The country's presentation is organized by the State Tourism Agency. The Moscow International Travel Fair will be held in Moscow in May11 to 14. It provides the tourism companies with helpful information ahead of the Summer 2006 season and is an important part of the advertising campaign of Bulgaria as a tourism destination on the Russian market. MITF 2006 is being organized by the Committee for tourism, Moscow City Government, International Travel Fairs and Moscow Exhibition & Convention Agency.

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UAE air carrier mulls flights to Bulgaria.

RAK Airways, a UAE air carrier based in Ras Al Khaimah, said it may launch flights to Bulgaria as the Balkan state could offer onward connections for UAE-bound European travellers. The base of the air carrier is 70 km from Dubai. Bulgarian general consul to UAE Milen Keremedchiev said the two sides could create a joint venture company to fly between Ras Al Khaimah and Sofia.

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St.Vlas yacht marina to open in mid-June.

Bulgaria's biggest yacht marina, Marina Dinevi, will open near the St.Vlas resort on the Black Sea in June, said Georgi Mihov from Venid-Yacht, the local company that will manage the facility. Venid Yacht is owned by construction company Dinevi&Co. The marina capacity is around 300 yachts, including moorage room for up to 50 boats with 4 m draft and length exceeding 25 m. Marina Dinevi, which will open with 50% capacity on June 15, will also offer yachts for hire. There are several marinas with capacity of 60 to 130 yachts along Bulgaria's Black Sea coast. Sailing aficionados can dock at the Zlatni Pyasatsi and Sunny Day resorts and the city of Balchik.

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New Winter Resort to Rise in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria will see the building of a new winter resort near Smolyan in the Rhodope Mountains. "Sports and Tourism Centre Perelik" plan to invest over EUR 255 M - an amount that won them a first class investment certificate by the State Investments Agency. This is the third such certificate given to a Bulgarian investor. The resort will include facilities for both winter sports and summer tourism, reports say. Skiing tracks will spread over 55 kilometres in total, and there will also be 24 lift lines and various hotels.

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Bulgarian ski resort Bansko adds 150 accommodation facilities.

More than 150 new hotels, guest houses and holiday complexes were registered between December 2005 and May 2006 in Bulgarian ski resort town Bansko, in the Pirin mountain. The bed capacity of the resort now stands at 7,000. Over 100 mln euro were invested in construction in Bansko last year, shows an overview of the Center for Economic Development (CED). The CED report describes Bansko as the most rapidly developing Bulgarian ski resort. The number of visitors to the resort increased 20% to 600,000 in 2005, said the report. The main challenge facing Bansko is the shortage of language-skilled staff, said CED.

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Foreign Tourists Prefer Bulgaria's Capital in the Wintertime.

Bulgaria's capital Sofia and the winter resorts were among the most preferred destinations for the foreign tourists in the wintertime, it appeared Tuesday. For the first three months of the year Sofia attracted the attention of the greatest part of the foreigners that came to Bulgaria, data of the National Statistical Institute (NSI) showed. Some 73,219 foreigners were accommodated as Sofia hotels that registered revenues of over BGN 16 M for the local tourism. Sofia municipality is occupying the second place in the number of foreigners accommodated in its hotels. NSI explains these figures with the fact that two of the countries best winter resorts - Bansko and Borovets are in that area. In January-March some 35,601 foreigners were accommodated in the municipality and it recorded revenues of almost BGN 4,2 M. The other two major resorts Pamporovo and Chepelare are part of the Smolyan region and therefore it is ranked third in the number of foreigners accommodated in the winter. The number of the foreigners that visited the region is 18,915 and the revenues registered are BGN 6 M. The southern region of Blagoevgrad, which turned into a university centre, is occupying the fourth place in the ranking. In the first months of 2006 some 21,783 foreigners were accommodated in Blagoevgrad area. The NSI figures also showed that in the first three months of the year some 602,948 tourists were accommodated in the Bulgarian hotels, some 192,906 of them were foreigners. Bulgaria boasts 1216 hotels with 79,725 beds. Black Sea capital Varna leads the ranking in hotels beds number with 11,625 beds located in 106 hotels. In Smolyan municipality, however, there are 169 hotels with 7,854 beds.

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Samokov municipality to call shots in Super Borovets project

The Samokov municipality may become the king-maker among the shareholders of Rila Samokov 2004, a company specially incorporated to implement the Super Borovets project, if a June 12 general meeting approves a proposal to adopt a 4/5 majority rule for management decisions. Rila Samokov 2004 is co-owned by Contract 99 (51%), a company of late banker Emil Kyulev now passed on to his wife Vesela Kyuleva and a son from a previous marriage, construction company Glavbolgarstroy (16%), the Samokov municipality (25%) and Energokomplekt (8%). Rila Samokov 2004 is governed by a 9-member managing board where Contract 99 has 5 seats, the Samokov municipality has 2 and the other shareholders have one each. The municipality has paid for its shareholder seat with the contribution of 200 ha of land that will be used for the purposes of the Super Borovets project. A general meeting of shareholders earlier this year failed due to the Samokov municipality's demands for more executive powers within Rila Samokov 2004, especially when it comes to property transactions. Kyulev's heirs initially resisted but Samokov mayor Angel Nikolov threatened that if the demands of the municipality are rejected by the other shareholders, it could back out of Rila Samokov 2004, effectively pulling the on the project. Glavbolgarstroy general manager Simon Peshov and Plamen Gochev, who represents the interests of Kyulev's heirs, denied rumours that the Super Borovets project was up for sale. Gochev admitted, however, that several banks and 5 investment funds have indicated their interest in the project. The plan for this year is to start the construction of the gondola lift linking the lower part of the resort with the Markudjitsite ski runs, said Peshov. The Super Borovets should be implemented in 3 stages. The bed capacity of the resort was planned to increase to 8,000 in 2006. During the 2007-2010 stage, a new 8,000-bed vacation village will be constructed near Samokov with development reaching the Novi Iskar area. Swimming pools, tennis courts, indoor and outdoor stadia and an 18-hole golf course will also be added during this stage of the project. In 2010-2015, Rila Samokov 2004 will develop the Shumnatitsa, Byalata Polyana, Gvardeiska Polyana and Mecha Glava areas above 1,400 m. This will be the 5-star segment of the resort with a total of 1,200 beds. The combined length of the ski runs should be increased from 38 km to 59 km with total capacity of the facilities for 10,400 skiers an hour.

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Depeche Mode Meet The Simpsons in Sofia.

Megastars Depeche Mode, who will perform in Bulgaria in two weeks, will be surprised to find the famous Simpson family in the audience. The Simpsons have "arrived" in Bulgaria and will tour numerous cities, visiting concerts and starring in TV shows. The visit of the messy but charming family was organized by the Bulgarian division of Fox Life, in cooperation with local mobile operator Vivatel. Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart and baby Maggie Simpson had their first meeting with Bulgarian reporters on Thursday, announcing plans to visit a number of cities in the country - including Pleven, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv, Russe, and Stara Zagora. They will also join thousands in what is seen to be the top music event in Bulgaria this summer - Depeche Mode's June 21 concert. The Simpsons will travel to the seaside and see Sting's show on June 12, too. Cartoon fans in Bulgaria have been following the life of the Simpsons since last year.

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Bulgarians Travel Visa-Free to Israel

Bulgarians will be able to travel without visas for a stay of up to 90 days in Israel, according to a bilateral draft agreement. The document removing visa requirements for citizens of either state was approved Thursday by the Bulgarian cabinet. Under the draft agreement, job seekers visiting either country will be required to apply and obtain a respective visa entry in accordance with the national legislation. The bilateral accord is expected to be signed June 11-12, during a scheduled official visit of the Israeli President Moshe Katsav to Bulgaria.

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Bulgaria Joins European Common Aviation Area

Bulgaria officially joined the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA). The European Union signed an agreement for the creation of a European Common Aviation Area with Bulgaria, seven more countries from South Eastern Europe, Norway and Iceland. The others include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo. Bulgaria's Transport Minister Petar Mutafchiev signed in Luxembourg the agreement that would give airlines unrestricted access to the region's skies. He commented that Bulgaria's Parliament is to ratify the agreement within two months. The European Commission says the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) will create a seamless and efficient European air transport network, linking European people, countries and cultures, and play a vital role in the further integration and development of Europe as a whole. The negotiations on the ECAA Agreement with the South East European partners were launched in March 2005 and took less than a year. Bulgaria's government approved an agreement for establishing the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) at the end of April. The agreement would give Bulgarian airliners the right to operate in member states without permission from the air traffic administration. The number of air carriers, which operate to and from Bulgaria, is expected to increase, together with the airports' revenues. Forecasts say the price of air carriers' tickets will go down. Forecasts for aircraft movement between the EU and southeast Europe predict an average annual growth rate of more than 6% per annum between 2005 and 2011. As tourism is a growth area in the coastal regions in southeast Europe with potentially 414 airports in the region, there is an opportunity for further expansion.

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Bulgaria opens skies to EU air carriers.

Bulgaria has opened its civil aviation market to competition with the signing June 9 of European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) pact. The EU agreed the pact with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and the U.N. mission in Kosovo. The pact would allow airlines to fly freely within the area, without limitations set previously under state-by-state bilateral agreements. ECAA would also improve safety standards, boost competition and establish similar rights for consumers, the European Commission said. The Bulgarian transport ministry said it will name the local enforcement date for the pact within a couple of weeks Bulgarian carriers gain unrestricted access to all airports covered by the pact.

Source: news.dnevnik.bg
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Bulgarian Leaflet to Attract More Dutch Tourists

A special prepared leaflet presenting Bulgaria as an attractive tourism destination is to attract more Dutch tourists to the Balkan country. The leaflet was prepared by Bulgaria's Embassy in the Netherlands, the Service for trade and economic relations - Hague and the Bulgarian Tourism Informational Bureau. It is to be presented to leading Dutch tour operators, media representatives and state institutions. During the presentation Bulgaria's State Tourism Agency Deputy Chair Hristo Hristov will present the tourism opportunities in the Balkan country. Over the last few years the Netherlands is one of the most interesting European markets with a growth of 47,63% for 2005 as compared to the previous year. Sea vacation, culture tours, mountain tourism and ski are among the Bulgarian tourism packages mostly preferred by the Dutch tourists. Bulgaria is included in more than 30 of the biggest Dutch tour operators.

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Fraport wins Varna, Burgas airport concession contract.

The Bulgarian government has picked Germany's Fraport to run two large airports in the Black Sea tourist hotspots of Varna and Bourgas, a government source familiar with the process told news agency Reuters on Wednesday. Earlier, the EU candidate's transport ministry said the cabinet had agreed to award the 35-year concession but would not name the winner until the decision was published in the state gazette later this week or next. 'It's Fraport,' said the source, who did not wish to be named. Eager to remove bottlenecks and modernise the gateways to its booming tourism industry ahead of its planned 2007 EU entry, Bulgaria wants to hand the coastal terminals over to the winner this summer. The government had previously signed a 526-million-euro ($661.6 million) deal allowing Copenhagen Airports (CPH) to operate the terminals last June, said Reuters. But a court annulled the contract following appeals from Fraport and a tie-up of France's Vinci Airports and Vinci Concession which had ranked second and third in the tender, respectively. The two airports lie 130 km apart on the Black Sea and are the main conduit for tourists travelling to Bulgaria's bourgeoning coastal resorts. The outdated terminals handled 2 mln passengers each last year and are expected to benefit further from an expected rise in tourism and EU membership, said the news agency. In a bid revealed last year, Fraport offered to invest 176 mln euro in the airports through 2009 and more than 400 mln through the concession's total lifespan. It also offered to pay the government a concession fee of 16.8% of total revenues. Fraport said it had yet to hear about the decision. 'We assume a decision will come soon. We have not heard anything yet,' a spokesman from the company in Germany told Reuters. Transport ministry spokeswoman Valia Luleva was quoted by Reuters as saying the cabinet could not announce the name of the concession winner before it was published because that would violate procedure.

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Borovets ski runs to be treated with U.S. equipment

Borosport AD, the company managing the skiing facilities in Bulgarian mountain resort Borovets, said it has imported U.S. hydroseeding equipment for the maintenance and recultivation of the resort's ski runs, becoming the first local user of this modern technology for the redevelopment of soil disturbed areas. Hydro-seeding consists of applying a mixture of wood fibre, seed, fertiliser and stabilising emulsion with hydro-mulch equipment.

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Polish Travel Agents to Increase Number of Bulgaria Bookings

Some of the major Polish travel agents plan to increase the number of bookings for this year's summer season in Bulgaria. Agents like Itaka, Ecco Holiday,Open Travel Group, Adriatyk, Selva Travel and Alfa Star have decided to undertake that step due to the increased interest in the Balkan country as a tourism destination. Increased interest is also observed in offering high category accommodation, the State Tourism Agency said. More than 25 Polish tour operators and travel agencies have included Bulgaria as a destination in their catalogues. Poland is a traditional market for Bulgaria and over the last five years there is a considerable growth in the number of the tourists. In 2005 some 113,544 Polish tourists have visited Bulgaria thus going up by 4,37% as compared to 2004.

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Russian Tourists Prefer Bulgaria to Turkey

More and more Russian tourists chose travelling to Finland and Bulgaria over the summer than going to Turkey. Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, director of the Federal Tourism Agency, was cited by the Russian online edition "Finansovi izvestia" as saying that since the beginning of the year the number of tourists coming to Russia has gone up by 11% due to Bulgarian and Finnish tourists. Bulgaria's tourism industry is one of the country's fastest developing economic sectors.

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Thomas Cook sees 5% pop in British arrivals '06

The soccer world cup in Germany slowed Bulgaria bookings for May and June, a blip that could be overcome in July, August and September, said Hristo Kolev, the local representative of tour operator Thomas Cook UK. The company official forecast 23,000-24,000 arrivals by British tourists this year, a figure that would mark a 4-5.5% growth over '05. Thomas Cook UK works with around 95 accommodation facilities in Bulgaria.

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Bulgaria's Bansko Puts Brake on Booming Construction

Bulgaria's famous Bansko mountain resort, once a haven for winter sports but now seeking a year-round appeal, announced plans to restrict construction activities. The resort town that sits 150km south of Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, has seen lately construction and improvements going on apace and the tourism industry booming after decades of stagnation. Now authorities plan to divide it into three zones, where construction works will be prohibited, limited or monitored respectively. Bansko boasts the lowest unemployment rate in Bulgaria, set at under 4%, namely thanks to jobs creation in the construction sector, mayor Alexander Kravarov told journalists.

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Russian Reporters to Explore Bulgaria's Tourism.

A group of journalists from leading Russian media have arrived in Bulgaria to explore its tourism potential, it was announced on Tuesday. Until July 17, the Russians will get familiar with Bulgaria's rose oil and wine industries, as well as with cultural, sea and SPA holidaymaking. A series of cultural events and exhibitions will keep the guests entertained. They were invited on the trip by Bulgaria's State Tourism Agency, media reported. Bulgaria has been a hot spot for Russian vacationers, with their number up 17.4% in 2005 as compared to the previous year.

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Rock Hearth of Bulgaria to Meet Golfers

The small Black Sea coast of Kavarna, which has earned the glory of "rock capital", is on the way now to have its own golf field. The town's mayor Tsonko Tsonev, awarded Man of 2006, turned Saturday the first sod of a major investment project, thus opening a new horizon of prosperity for the whole region. The project for a golf and spa complex, to be named Thracian Cliffs, estimated at EUR 120 M, is an investment of Thracian Cliffs Golf & Spa Resorts AD. It plans also the building of a new residential complex to be constructed just next to the town, with a five-star hotel, 316 apartments, and 90 cottages. The recreational and sports complex will spread on a total area of 1,400 decare, CEO of the investor Stefan Staykov said. The golf field will be ready to meet visitors by June 2008 and all construction works would be completed by 2010. The increased interest in Kavarna property resulted in a record income from land deal taxes. Kavarna expected over BGN 2 M for 2006, Bulgarian media have reported. Bulgarian real estate market registered rapid growth over the past few years and was expected to grow even further after the country's EU entry in 2007.

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Neckermann sees doubling of Bulgaria bookings in France, Poland and Hungary

Tour operator Neckermann, part of Thomas Cook, expects to double the Bulgarian holiday packages sold in Poland and Hungary this year, said the company's local representative Hristo Kolev. Kolev said the number of Polish holiday-makers that will visit Bulgaria's Black Sea resorts courtesy of Neckermann is seen at 2,500 while that of Hungarians is seen at 2,500. Thomas Cook has registered a doubling of French bookings for Bulgaria's Black Sea resorts this summer, said Kolev. A total of 6,000 French tourists have booked Bulgarian holidays so far. Bookings at the Thomas Cook unit in Belgium are not as robust, posting a slight 2% decline year-on-year. The company expects that 15,000-16,000 Belgians will book holidays in Bulgaria this year. The Dutch market is holding steady year-on-year with around 3,000 bookings. Thomas Cook's German division is emerging as the only tour operator that will post an increase of bookings for Bulgaria this summer season. The company expects to sell Bulgarian holiday packages to 150,000 Germans this year, up 20% over 2005.

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Bulgaria's Tourist Trade Set for "Bumper Year in 2006"

Bulgaria has seen its popularity among tourists rocket in recent years and the country's tourist trade looks set to see another bumper year in 2006, forecast the property investment specialists from leading UK company Assetz. "With the growth of low-cost travel helping to boost the boom in travel around Europe, Bulgaria has been a major beneficiary as travellers have looked to the country as the perfect destination." According to Assetz agency Bulgaria is set to see a boost in visitor numbers throughout the course of 2006 because they are able to enjoy the warm weather and relatively cheap economy of the country. The experts note that British Airways launched two evening flights to Varna earlier in the year, but soon had to add further flights to the airport following a major growth in interest from customers in the UK. "British Airways has found that the routes are so popular that it is now opening them up all year round. Flights between Varna and Gatwick will now operate throughout the year into the foreseeable future, as the company recognises that more people want to travel to Bulgaria than ever before. With EU entry expected in 2007, that demand is only likely to increase." The British experts claim that Bulgaria is one of the destinations that reap the benefit of global air market growth and meet the demand of the "more adventurous British public". They expect the country to become even more popular following its entry into the European Union (EU) next year.

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