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Bulgaria presents its opportunities for year-round health tourism in ‎Austria

Photo: Ministry of Tourism

The opportunities for year-round health tourism in Bulgaria were presented in ‎Austria, with the emphasis being placed on medical/SPA and wellness ‎destinations. The event was held with the support of the Bulgarian Ministry of ‎Tourism and with the assistance of the Embassy of Bulgaria in Austria. ‎

After the German Association of Health Insurance Funds was the first to ‎include Bulgaria in the list of countries for which it recognizes and reimburses ‎rehabilitation costs, the Austrian market is the second one which the Bulgarian ‎Union of Balneology and Spa Tourism is targeting. An important direction of ‎its future work is the process of rebranding the image of Bulgaria as a ‎destination for year-round quality tourism with an emphasis on health tourism, ‎points out Siyka Katsarova - the chairperson of the organization, and explains ‎why attention is now directed to Austria:‎

‎"It is mostly because of the good transport connections, as there are direct daily ‎flights both to Sofia and to Varna. Secondly, because we have traditions, as ‎over the years Austrian health-insured pensioners have had the opportunity to ‎hold their preventive healthcare programs. In recent years, this type of clients ‎has almost disappeared. Therefore, through this presentation, we are trying to ‎show the new face of Bulgaria - the investments made in the sector. We also ‎present dental clinics that complement it, as in the start and end of the season, ‎the hotels along the Black Sea and in the mountains can be filled with tourists ‎visiting our country for specific needs, one of which is medical tourism."‎

Meetings have already been held between the responsible institutions from ‎Bulgaria and Austria, and there is institutional support and readiness for such a ‎project, both from the Bulgarian and Austrian sides, specified Meglena ‎Plugchieva, elected ambassador of the Bulgarian Union of Balneology and ‎SPA Tourism because her diplomatic experience as ambassador of Bulgaria to ‎Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Montenegro. In her words, the task ‎of the Austrian market will be more complicated also because of the ‎‎"unfavorable general situation in Europe, given the war in Ukraine, which also ‎affects the social policy of the countries and specifically that of Austria".‎

Bulgaria's advertising abroad is insufficient, Plugchieva also notes:‎

‎"Bulgaria is not known on the Austrian tourist market. It felt bitter for me that ‎in all conversations and meetings I am asked "where are you as a tourist ‎destination". It makes an extremely strong impression that this year in the ‎subway of Vienna there are advertisements for Croatia, Montenegro. This year ‎Albania is also a hit in the European tourist market. In a word, we lack ‎advertising, and we cannot hide that the political instability in the last two years ‎was copied by the Bulgarian media in the European media, which sharply ‎worsened the image of Bulgaria