China and Bulgaria aspire to enhance tourism cooperation
Local people pick roses during the Rose Festival in Karlovo, Bulgaria.[Photo provided to China Daily]
SOFIA－Chinese and Bulgarian officials in the Bulgarian capital on April 28 voiced hopes to boost tourism cooperation, promising to make full use of the countries' unique resources.
At the opening of the conference of the "EU-China Tourism Year 2018: New Investment Opportunities for the Tourism Sector in Bulgaria", China's ambassador to Bulgaria Zhang Haizhou said: "Today's seminar reflects the strong desire of the Bulgarian side to tap its potential, improve its services and expand its market in tourism so as to attract more Chinese tourists."
He says Bulgaria "has rich, unique tourism resources, and the Bulgarian government attaches great importance to the development of the tourism industry".
China also has rich tourism resources, including cultural and natural world heritage, and beautiful scenery, the ambassador says.
Traveling to China will bring huge profits to Bulgarian tourism enterprises, he says.
"The Chinese side sincerely welcomes more Bulgarian friends to China."
Bulgarian Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova says: "I believe that Bulgaria has a huge potential to receive Chinese tourists."
Creating joint tourism products by European countries is one way to attract more Chinese tourists, Angelkova says.
Bulgaria will improve visa policies and examine possibilities for direct flights to and from China, she says.
"The event today signals that Bulgaria is looking at the Chinese market, which is distant but promising," says Teodora Marinska, head of finance and public policies at the European Travel Commission.
In July 2016, the European Commission's President Jean-Claude Juncker and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared 2018 the EU-China Tourism Year to increase tourism between China and the EU, encourage European enterprises to enter China's booming tourism market and allow more Chinese investment in Europe.
Over 5million Chinese visited Europe last year. But only 10,000 visited Bulgaria, the Chinese ambassador says.
He believes insufficient publicity, difficulties in visa applications and inconvenient transportation between China and Bulgaria were factors behind the slow tourism growth.