The governments of Greece and Bulgaria recently agreed to launch joint initiatives to boost tourist flows between the two countries. The agreements were made during the 68th meeting of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Commission for Europe held in Sofia last week.
Chairing the event, Greece’s Secretary General for Tourism Policy Olympia Anastasopoulou later met with Bulgarian Tourism Minister Ilin Dimitrov to discuss initiatives for the second half of the year that will further enhance cooperation between the two countries.
Anastasopoulou said the meeting was “constructive” and that the two countries pledged to work towards strengthening bilateral cooperation in the area of special interest tourism, including marine, cruise, film and health tourism while committing to the exchange of best practices and knowhow in the development of winter, health and wellness tourism – all of which will be covered in a joint action plan to be signed in the coming period.
Dimitrov: Greece-Bulgaria tourism cooperation is excellent
“Our cooperation in the field of tourism is excellent. Greece is Bulgaria’s fourth largest trading partner in the EU after Germany, Romania and Italy. For Greece, Bulgaria is the second largest EU trading partner after Italy,” Dimitrov said.
He added that Bulgaria and Greece were among the most successful countries in terms of sector recovery. A growth of 27 percent was recorded last winter and a 5-7 percent increase is expected this summer compared to 2019.
According to the Bulgarian News Agency, a total of 806,000 Greeks visited Bulgaria in 2022, up by 211 percent, making the country the second largest inbound market after Romania.
On the sidelines of the UNWTO Commission for Europe, Anastasopoulou also gave interviews to local press.
68th meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Europe
Held May 31-June 2 in Sofia, the 68th meeting of the UNWTO Regional Commission for Europe assessed the current state of tourism in the region while also recognizing the vital importance of education, jobs and investments for a more inclusive and sustainable future.
During the meeting, members of the Commission agreed that Ukraine will serve as the Chair of the Commission for Europe for the period 2023 to 2025. Greece and Hungary will serve as the Vice Chairs.
Moreover, the UNWTO announced that World Tourism Day 2024 will be held around the theme of “Tourism and Peace” and be officially hosted by Georgia.
The UNWTO Regional Commission for Europe will meet in Uzbekistan this fall for its 69th meeting and in Albania in 2024 for its 70th meeting.