Bulgaria experienced a significant increase in the number of Turkish visitors in December 2023, with a reported 22% rise in tourism from Türkiye. The Ministry of Tourism in Bulgaria has revealed that they will be focusing on promoting the destination in the Turkish market in light of this trend.
Zarista Dinkova, Bulgaria’s Minister of Tourism, emphasized the importance of increasing tourism from Türkiye and stated that they are working with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs to resolve visa issues for Turkish tourists.
Last year, Bulgarian authorities announced a stricter visa policy that prohibits entry to foreigners with a valid Schengen visa if they have not used it to enter a Schengen member state before arriving in Bulgaria. This decision has received complaints from Turkish drivers, who are facing challenges to enter Bulgaria. The Ministry of Tourism in Bulgaria revealed that they plan to work with the Turkish tourism sector to attract more tourists and hope to facilitate easier entry for those with Schengen visas.
In addition to the increase in Turkish tourists, Bulgaria also saw a 20% rise in Polish tourists last year. The country is working to attract more visitors and has been chosen as a “Preferred Destination” for 2024 by the European Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (ECTAA).
Starting March 31, 2024, Bulgaria will have partial access to the Schengen Zone by air and sea, which means that the state will no longer check people entering from Schengen Member States through these borders. This new policy is expected to increase tourism and contribute to the Bulgarian economy. The World Travel & Tourism Council predicts that by 2023, ten per cent of the Bulgarian economy will be driven by the travel and tourism sector.
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