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“It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you with all my heart to the Bulgarian-Russian business forum in the field of tourism in Sofia. This is a huge honor. Among us are the Prime Minister of Russia, Mr.

Medvedev, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Borisov. This confirms the importance of tourism as a catalyst for the development of economic cooperation between the two states, friendly ties between our peoples.

Traditions and relations between our countries in the field of tourism are long-lived and have rich prospects. Bulgaria has always been one of the most traditional and reliable holiday destinations for Russian tourists,” Bulgarian Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova said at the opening of the Bulgarian-Russian Tourism Business Forum in Sofia.

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“I look into the hall and think that if we held, say, a forum on gas, the number of people here would be fundamentally different. Now everything is filled almost to the last seat. This means only one thing: there is tourism between Russia and Bulgaria, and it is at a very good level.

But before moving on to tourism, I would like to once again thank my colleague for the warm welcome given to the Russian delegation – we spent a lot of time together, discussed very different issues – for the high level of organization of all our events. And those who are engaged in tourism understand perfectly well that the most important thing is to receive guests and organize their traffic, movement, and interesting pastime,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said for his part.

“I also want to say that this is not my first visit to Bulgaria. Every time I come here with great pleasure. So it was 11 years ago, and so it is now. I will not repeat platitudes about how closely our peoples are connected, what historical events determine the nature of relations between our people, interest in culture and traditions. All this is understandable, this is the common thing that determines the development of our countries.

But, on the other hand, this hospitality is rooted in the history of cultural traditions. If it were not for it, then, probably, a large number of our citizens, our tourists would not be present here. Indeed, the special atmosphere, the friendliness with which our guests are always welcomed here, is the trademark of the Bulgarian tourism industry.

Let me name some interesting facts. About half a million Russian tourists come to Bulgaria every year – this is a well-known figure. A significant part of these guests, citizens of our country, has real estate on the coast (according to various estimates, up to 300 thousand). Tourists are attracted by the excellent climate, good tourist infrastructure for reasonable money, hotels, beaches. And security, which is also very important for tourism.

In short, there are all conditions for a good, good rest, including with children.

Bulgarians also have a rest in Russia. There are not so many of them, but they rest, and the overall flow of tourists to Russia from abroad is growing. Over the past five years, it has increased one and a half times – up to 50 thousand with a little.

Russia has a lot to offer. This was shown by the experience of major events that took place – the Olympics, the World Cup. There are traditional places where guests are received.

I mean not only Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, but also a lot of places with wild nature, where you can get absolutely unforgettable impressions. We are trying to work in this direction in order to open our country to our Bulgarian friends and to everyone who is interested in Russia. I will not list all regions.

Each of them is special, interesting in its own way.

Now the most important thing for us is to pay close attention to the level of service, because somewhere it is very high, which was not the case until quite recently, and somewhere the service is still lame. We try to focus on world practice, on success stories in this area. It is necessary to update the existing infrastructure that travelers need. The emergence of new routes that are only gaining popularity is very important here.

And the construction of new hotels. This must be done. By the way, quite recently, literally a week ago, I signed a special decision of the Government to assign stars to all hotels. And do it step-by-step, that is, gradually.

This must be done in order to guarantee the necessary level of service to tourists. And so that these stars, if possible, correspond to the real service, and not be exaggerated. Both tourist clusters and various infrastructure facilities: cafes, campsites, and so on receive state support.

What else is important? We are currently implementing a rather large project called International Cooperation and Export. It provides for work to simplify the visa regime for tourists from different countries. This really needs to be done.

This is a difficult task. If we talk about the tourist exchange with the European Union, then at some point we were on this path, but then, for well-known reasons, all this died out, and nothing outstanding is happening. But it seems to me that if we talk about normal tourist communication, then, of course, we cannot do without simplified visas, without normal methods of entry and exit, including electronic visas.

And we in Russia are ready to go for the most modern types of visa solutions.

There is such a direction as ecological tourism. You have it, and it exists in our country too. If we talk about Russia, then our country ranks first in the world in terms of the area of ​​reserves and national parks. In this sense, we have a huge territory.

Nature has generously rewarded us. Therefore, we will do everything so that as many people as possible can get acquainted with this beauty, see it with their own eyes, of course, without harming nature.

There is tourism that is very important for our Bulgarian partners and for our country too, especially considering the closeness of culture – this is historical tourism. And in this sense, I think this is also a very important area that we need to deal with.

During dinner yesterday, my colleague, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, and I discussed some issues that are directly related to our meeting today. I mean communications between our cities, between seaports. This is actually a very important area, especially in conditions when the neighbors, as they say, do not sleep and also develop such communications. And I mean all means, including sea transportation and air transportation.

But those who work here in a less standard way will surely be able to get better conditions and more tourists. I think that it is imperative to do this so that the tourist flow between our countries is much more intense.

I know that representatives of Bulgaria are planning to come to Moscow for the international tourism exhibition "Intourmarket", which will be held in the coming days. I am sure you will have a good time there and you will have a desire to come to Russia again. In any sector of the modern economy (and tourism is an economic direction, it is a type of business), special opportunities are now opening up, and our task is to approach them as unconventionally as possible.

Everyone who can offer an interesting tourist product will certainly benefit,” Medvedev said.

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