Tourism and Technologies in Bulgaria

Author: Elitza Stoilova, CEO

Bulgaria characteristics as a test market for technologies in tourism – in a snapshot (before coronavirus hit)

On a positive side, Bulgaria outsource IT services and has one of the fastest wi-fi connections in Europe. It was named #1 outsourcing destination in Europe for 2015, according to Cushman & Wakefield and the trend remains in the past 5 years. The technology ecosystem grows and matures fast, which in a long run will affect the local businesses and the life of local citizens.

As a concern, it is common perception that the Bulgarians falls behind the adoption of the technologies. For example, according Eurostat in average 85% of the traveler in Europe book online, and Bulgaria was placed on the last position among the countries in EU with 65%.

However according to the Nat’l Statistics Institute of Bulgaria (2017), 72.1% of the households have internet access, smartphone usage is 85.3% and 97.4% of it is for communication purposes.

One of the basic needs that a municipality, city or a destination need to secure in order to execute smart tourism program, to boost digitization of tourism industry and to support innovation in the industry is the free access to information based on free access to wi-fi.

By March’20, 86% of Bulgarian municipalities received EU grant for free wi-fi through the program WIFI4EU, which put Bulgaria in 1st place in Europe by number of participating municipalities with investment of 3 435 000 Euro. It was announced that the rest of the municipalities were planning to apply to participate in the program in 2020.

As a country Bulgaria heavily rely on domestic and international travel and tourism which is a traditional industry. Tourism as a priority sector in Bulgaria was expected to grow in the next years before the corona-virus crisis.

Here are some numbers for 2017-2019 presented by the Ministry of Tourism:

– 13 % of the Bulgarian economy is a result of the multiple effect of tourism industry
– 9,3 million international tourists in Bulgaria (2019)
– 5,6 million tourist visits from EU countries (2019)
– 62,9% of int’l traveler visit for leisure
– 3.6 billion Euro revenues from international tourism (2019)

In Bulgaria, around 7.4 out of 100 EUR invested are spent in the tourism sector, which was expected to grow above average by 2028.

With 6,5% CAGR of tourist arrivals for the last years, Bulgaria’s tourism sector outperformed the EU and World average and it was expected to grow by more than 40% in the next 10 years making it a vital part of the country’s GDP.

► Read the full analysis in BULGARIA: Tourism Tech Mapping Report 2020 – the 1 st report on Bulgarian Tourism Tech solutions.

Following 29 Sept. 2020, the Report will be available for free downloading here .

The official presentation of the Report results will be on 29.09.2020 | 18:30 – 20:00 | Sofia, Metropolitan Hotel

Reserve your seat at . Seats are limited to 20.

We reserve our right to convert the event from physical to digital depending on circumstances.