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Tourists from Poland are again opting to vacation in Bulgaria

Photo: Varna Airport

Some 470,000 tourists from Poland are expected in this country this summer. Their numbers are expected to reach 2019 levels, and with last minute bookings, to even exceed them. More than 380,000 Polish tourists came to Bulgaria last year, the airports in Varna and in Burgas registering over 501,000 passengers from Poland. Polish tourists have been taking package summer vacations in Bulgaria for more than 70 years. The highest numbers in ten years were reached in 2018, with a little over 420,000 tourists from Poland coming to Bulgaria, Ministry of Tourism data show. Bulgaria was presented on the Polish market at a series of meetings lately, during which representatives of Bulgaria’s tourism sector met with partners from Wroclaw, Katowice, Krakow and Warsaw. The initiative for these meetings came from the Bulgarian Black Sea Alliance, with the support of the Ministry of Tourism. Bulgarian experts say the Polish market holds an enormous potential for Bulgaria.

Opening of Bulgaria's tourist representation in Warsaw, Poland, 2021
“We have been working together for three years, with the Bulgarian embassy in Poland being particularly active,” says Andrzej Gut-Mostowy, state secretary and Plenipotentiary of the Prime Minister for the Tourism sector and the promotion of the Polish brand, in an interview with the BNR. “As a result of this successful cooperation, a memorandum of joint promotion of tourist relations between Bulgaria and Poland was signed. This resulted in more tourists visiting the two countries, it also led to an increase in the direct flights between Bulgaria and Poland.”

Andrzej Gut-Mostowy is interested in Bulgaria’s tourist product, and has already been to some of the popular tourist destinations in the country:

“Plovdiv was one of them, I had a splendid guide. He told me all about the ancient history of the city. I visited Koprivshtitsa, and a modern resort – Bansko. We also saw Rila monastery as a religious centre. Considering the rich history, culture, culinary traditions, I believe Bulgaria is very well positioned on the tourist map, it has a huge potential among the European destinations, but that potential has to be developed, it has to earn better positions and attract visitors from the European countries.”

Andrzej Gut-Mostowy (L) and Minister of Tourism in the caretaker cabinet Ilin Dimitrov
How can the exchange of tourists between the two countries be promoted?

“Bulgaria has been extremely active at different tourism fairs, and in the media in Poland of late, and this has boosted Bulgaria’s popularity. For our part, we would, of course, like to see more of Poland in Bulgarian media,” Andrzej Gut-Mostowy says.

The talks at a state and expert level continue. Bulgaria is looking into Poland’s experience with regard to setting up a guarantee fund in tourism as well as a voucher system. The tourist industry from Bulgaria and Poland held several bilateral meetings last year in road show format, which included visits to the four cities in Poland from which come the highest number of tourists travelling to Bulgaria.

Aside from a holiday by the sea, something the younger people in Poland have heard about from older people, which is a useful marketing resource Bulgaria can and should avail itself of, Polish tourists are interested in specialized tourism like spa, cultural, wine and food tourism.

What is the profile of the Polish tourists who opt to come to Bulgaria for their holidays?

Airplane from Warsaw landing at Burgas Airport, March 2023
“Young families – 25 to 45 years of age, with two or more children, who are looking for an all-inclusive vacation at 4-5 star hotels, more often than not bachfront, in large resort complexes. Bulgaria’s mountains are growing more and more popular,” explains Nikolay Kostov, Bulgaria’s tourism attaché in Poland.  

As regards what people in Poland think about Bulgaria nowadays, Nikolay Kostov says:

“Bulgaria is regarded as a friendly and safe country where you can get by even if you speak Polish. As there is a relative linguistic propinquity – we are from the same linguistic group, the older generation can recognize Cyrillic letters. They feel free in Bulgaria. The third, and probably most important thing is that we are the nearest organized tourism destination by plane from Poland,” he says.

Value for money is what makes Bulgaria popular on the Polish market, Nikolay Kostov says and adds:

“There will be a tour with the participation of 180 representatives of tour operators, agencies and journalists, who will pay a 2-day visit to Bulgaria. There will also be a tour entirely for journalists, as well as an exchange of journalists between Sofia and Wroclaw, aiming to popularize the airline between the two cities. Bulgaria is also to take part in a tourist fair in November, to be held for the second time in the suburbs of Warsaw.”

Translated from the Bulgarian and posted by Milena Daynova

Photos: Varna Airport, BGNES, Ministry of Tourism

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