Prime Minister Borissov, Russian Counterpart Medvedev Open Tourism Business Forum

March 5 (BTA) - The prime ministers of Bulgaria and
Russia, Boyko Borissov and Dmitry Medvedev, opened a tourism
business forum on the second and last day of Medvedev's official
 visit to Bulgaria.

Opening the forum, Borissov said that "amid sanctions and high
tensions in the multipolar world, my colleague Dmitry Medvedev
and I have managed to maintain pragmatic working relations". He
added that as a nation, the Bulgarians should not split into
Russophiles and Russophobes but should keep in mind their
Bulgarian interests.

Borissov said Bulgaria has destinations to offer for cultural,
historical and religious tourism, and visas can be obtained in
59 Russian cities. The launch of a ferry service between Bourgas
 and Novorossiysk is being discussed, which will allow people to
 arrive by car. "Our balanced foreign policy largely ensures the
 tourists' safety because we have good relations with various
countries. To provide security, we work with the police services
 long before the start of the tourist season," he said.

For his part, Medvedev said the hall was filled to capacity,
which means that tourism is going strong. He said his visits to
Bulgaria had always been a pleasure for 11 years now.
"Hospitality is rooted in traditions - without it many Russian
tourists would not be coming here," he said, adding that
cordiality is the hallmark of the Bulgarian tourism industry.

Some 500,000 Russian tourists visit Bulgaria each year but many
of them, about 300,000 people, own real estate on the Black Sea
coast, said Medvedev. He praised Bulgaria's climate and
reasonably priced holidays as being attractive to tourists.
Bulgarians also take holidays in Russia, although they are
fewer, he said.

Medvedev met with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and President
Rumen Radev on Monday and with Parliament Chair Tsveta
Karayancheva on Tuesday.


Speaking at the Bulgarian-Russian tourism business forum,
Russia's Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said the
tourist flow from Russia to Bulgaria dropped by 25 per cent in
the last few years, the main cause being that the lev is pegged
to the euro. This has made the Bulgarian currency very stable in
 the last five years, but it also makes trips to Bulgaria 15 to
20 per cent more expensive than those to Sochi, Tunisia or
Turkey. Oreshkin said the competitiveness of the Bulgarian
tourism product is falling and most Russian tourists prefer to
take holidays in Russia or to visit Turkey.

Bulgaria's Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova promised that a
mechanism conforming to both EU and national legislation would
be sought to increase the competitiveness of the tourism
product. IG/DD

Source: Sofia