Travel and Tourism in Bulgaria to 2017

Travel and Tourism in Bulgaria to 2017

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Growth in the Bulgarian travel and tourism sector slowed during the review period (2008-2012) driven by decline in domestic trips at a CAGR of -3.78%. However, growth in domestic trips was recorded in 2012 supported by the economic improvements in the country. Timetric expects the Bulgarian tourism sector to record healthy growth over the forecast period (2013-2017), in line with growth in supporting industries. The government and tourism agencies have been making continuous efforts to increase tourism activity in the country.

Report Highlights
  • Despite the National Strategy for Tourism's (NST) attempts to reposition Bulgaria as a high-class tourist destination, it is still viewed by tourists as 'cheap'. The country's biggest advantage is that it is an all-year-round holiday destination, with both beaches and ski resorts. However, poor infrastructure, insufficient advertising and poor service means it is not reaching its full potential.
  • Tourists from emerging markets such as Brazil and India increased during the review period; in 2012, 3,000 Indian tourists visited the country. The Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria, in association with the Bulgarian Tourism Authority and National Tourist Board, started to promote the country's tourism offerings in India to encourage a further increase in tourist arrivals. With rapidly rising incomes in Russia allowing citizens to spend more on holidays, and Bulgaria's favorable visa policy, Russian tourists to Bulgaria increased from 201,124 in 2008 to 449,734 in 2012, at a review-period CAGR of 22.28%.
  • The Bulgarian outbound market is very small, with only 758,296 trips made in 2012. In 2010, the number of outbound trips declined by 24.6%, primarily due to deteriorating economic conditions, rising unemployment and a decline in disposable income. Economic improvements led a return to growth at a rate of 16.7% in 2011, but the country slipped into recession again in 2012, resulting in a 2.3% decline in outbound tourism in the same year.
  • The Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism aims to make Bulgaria more attractive to different tourists by developing health and wellness tourism, spa tourism, and meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) tourism through construction activities. According to the Bulgarian Union of Balneology and Spa Tourism, Bulgaria has over 100 spa and wellness centers; the industry is performing strongly due to rising demand for these services.
  • In 2013, the Ministry commenced work on new branding at a cost of BGN1.6 million (EUR800,000). In March of the same year, a new brand logo was created to accommodate the views of all service providers and consumers in the travel and tourism sector. The rebrand aimed to position Bulgaria as an attractive and affordable tourist destination to increase tourism from key source markets including Germany, Russia, Romania and the UK.
  • During the period of financial downturn, airlines struggled to stay competitive. In 2010, one of the oldest airlines in the country, Hemus Air, which operated scheduled domestic and international services from Sofia and Varna, merged with Bulgaria Air. Similarly, to increase its operational efficiency, Wizz Air Bulgaria, which started operations in 2005, merged with sister company Wizz Air Hungary in 2011.
  • Cheap land and the lack of luxury accommodation make the country a suitable investment destination for international hotel chains. For example, in April 2011, French hotel operator Accor announced plans to invest US$27.8 million in the construction of a hotel in Sofia; the Hotel Novotel Sofia opened in March 2013. Other international hotel companies, such as Rezidor, Hilton, and Turkish chain Dedeman Hotels & Resorts International, have similar expansion plans.
  • Leading international car rental companies such as Hertz, Thrifty, Europcar, and Avis are present in the country. Autotechnica Ltd, part of the Hertz franchise, had the largest market share in 2012. Approximately 90% of the market is served by 10 companies.
  • In August 2012, Bulgarian tour operator VIP Tours was declared bankrupt. Around 1,000 people were affected, but the situation was resolved through the acquisition of customers by other Bulgarian tour operators. The company's collapse affected fewer tourists than the bankruptcy of Alma Tour last year, when hundreds of tourists were left stranded in Bulgaria.
Report Scope

This report provides an extensive analysis related to the tourism demands and flows in Bulgaria:
  • It details historical values for the Bulgarian tourism sector for 2009-2013, along with forecast figures for 2014-2018
  • It provides comprehensive analysis of travel and tourism demand factors, with values for both the 2009-2013 review period and the 2014-2018 forecast period
  • The report provides a detailed analysis and forecast of domestic, inbound and outbound tourist flows in Bulgaria.
  • It provides comprehensive analysis of the trends in the airline, hotel, car rental and travel intermediaries industries, with values for both the 2009-2013 review period and the 2014-2018 forecast period.
Reasons to Get this Report
  • Take strategic business decisions using historic and forecast market data related to the Bulgarian travel and tourism sector.
  • Understand the demand-side dynamics within the Bulgarian travel and tourism sector, along with key market trends and growth opportunities.


Table of Contents

1 Executive Summary
1.1 Key Trends and Issues
1.1.1 Inbound tourism not reaching its full potential
1.1.2 Health and wellness tourism gaining popularity
2 Travel and Tourism Sector In Context
2.1 Tourist Attractions
3 Country Fact Sheet
4 Tourism Flows
4.1 The Market
4.1.1 Domestic tourism
4.1.2 Inbound tourism
4.1.3 Outbound tourism
4.2 Key Developments
4.2.1 Government initiatives to promote tourism
4.2.2 Health and wellness tourism
4.3 Timetric View
4.3.1 Domestic tourism
4.3.2 Inbound tourism
4.3.3 Outbound tourism
5 Airlines
5.1 The Market
5.2 Key Developments
5.2.1 Airline mergers
5.2.2 New routes
5.2.3 New airport in Bulgaria
5.3 Competitive Landscape
5.4 Timetric View
6 Hotels
6.1 The Market
6.2 Key Developments
6.2.1 Investment opportunities
6.2.2 New hotels opening in Bulgaria
6.3 Competitive Landscape
6.4 Timetric View
7 Car Rental
7.1 The Market
7.2 Competitive Landscape
7.3 Timetric View
8 Travel Intermediaries
8.1 The Market
8.2 Key Developments
8.2.1 VIP Tours filed for bankruptcy
8.3 Timetric View
9 Tourism Board Profile
9.1 Tourist Board Description
9.2 Target Market
10 Airport Profiles


Companies Mentioned:

Bulgaria Air
Wizz Air Bulgaria
S7 Airlines Bulgaria
Austrian Airlines Bulgaria
Lufthansa Airlines Bulgaria
Best Western Hotels Bulgaria
Melia Hotels Bulgaria
FPI Hotels & Resorts
Riu Hotels & Resorts Bulgaria
Grifid Hotels
Accor Hotels Bulgaria
Hilton Hotels Bulgaria
Hertz Rent a Car Bulgaria
Avis Rent a Car Bulgaria
Europcar Bulgaria
Magic Tours Ltd
Stars Travel Ltd
Valenta Plyus
Astral Holidays