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National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism Development in the Republic of Bulgaria 2014-2030 and Action Plan 2017-2020

  • Published on November 11, 2019
The already adopted update of the National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism Development in the Republic of Bulgaria 2014-2030 aims to provide the necessary conditions for the sustainable development of the tourism sector equally respecting the welfare of tourists and local communities, the conservation of the natural and cultural environment and the development and competitiveness of the destination and the tourism business. The vision for 2030 – "Bulgaria: preferred destination for sustainable tourism within four seasons, for its characteristics", set out in the Strategy, encompass, among others, tourism in Bulgaria to be one of the leading (structurally-defining) sectors of the national economy that: effectively utilizes the country's resources to create growing national income and well-paid employment; creates resources and conditions for protection of the environment and the cultural and historical heritage; creates resources and conditions for the social well-being of the local communities. One of the strategic objectives of the Strategy is the establishing a favorable nature and business environment for development of sustainable tourism. It includes as a sub-objective the refinement of the policy and regulatory framework for improving the nature and business environment in the tourism sector with envisaged the following measures: 1. Development of institutional capacity. 2. Development of regulatory framework and policies for tourism. 3. Operationalization of the national systems for management of quality and sustainable development. 4. Promoting environmental protection, effective resource management and climate change adaptation measures. 5. Promoting infrastructure development. 6. Improving the accessibility of the destination. 7. Improving the security and safety conditions for tourists in Bulgaria. 8. Development of human resources in tourism sector. 9. Promoting investment in tourism and providing access to finance. 10. Promoting innovations in tourism. 11. Creation and implementation of tax incentives for the sustainable development of tourism. 12. Reducing the shadow economy in the sector. 13. Improvement of the information provision of the destination and the tourism industry. These measures are translated in detailed actions in the draft of the Action Plan 2017-2020 and the most focused on the sustainable tourism among them are: • Interaction with educational institutions to include subjects in the curricula of students in the field of tourism related to effective resource management, environmental protection, climate change and necessary adaptation actions; • Interaction with the educational institutions for the establishment of programmes for sustainable tourism management for the Bachelor's and Master's degrees; • Organizing and conducting of thematic events to promote the responsible use of protected areas and areas for the purposes of tourism, the protection, conservation and management of local biodiversity and nature; • Expanding the annual Tourism Awards of the Ministry of Tourism and including new categories for: socially responsible tourist business; sustainable tourism enterprise; enterprise in the process of adaptation to climate change, etc.
The implementation of the updated Strategy shall be measured by a monitoring and evaluation system. The monitoring of the Strategy aims at enhancing the level of information management services and improving the quality and efficiency of the partnership between the responsible institutions and the civil society structures. It must provide reliable feedback on the state of the tourism sector to make the right management decisions. The monitoring process is reported through the preparation of annual monitoring reports describing the activities carried out during the year and their immediate results. The selected indicators are based on the European Tourism Indicator System (ETIS) - the management tool for sustainable approach to destination management, insuring the sustainable growth of destination Bulgaria. With respect the progress in sustainable tourism policy in Bulgaria, has to be noted that already exist several voluntary systems in Bulgaria for certification of the sustainable development of tourism enterprises. Some of them belong to larger international quality assurance/sustainable development certification programmes and/or specialized eco-labels. Among them are: "Blue Flag", PAN Parks, "Green House" Certificate, "Authentic Bulgaria", Regional Quality Brand "Stara Planina", Regional Brand "Strandja", Regional Brand "Lomovete", Brand "Nature Park Vrachanski Balkan" as well as other eco-labeling schemes - the EU Ecolabel scheme, the Ecohotel Management System, the Green Globe certification.

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