The draft Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Bulgaria was discussed among a wide range of participants

14 Feb, 2024 | 18:10

The Minister of Environment and Water Julian Popov hosted a meeting for a public discussion of the draft Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Bulgaria, which was held today at the Ministry of Environment and Water. The document, drafted jointly with experts from the Ministry of Tourism, was presented and discussed among a wide range of participants.

The Charter constitutes a code of ethics and, once adopted, will be open for support by all stakeholders - local authorities, institutions, the business, and civil society. The aim is for the document to become a green code of ethics for all those working for the development of sustainable tourism in Bulgaria.

"This is an idea that has awaited implementation for 11 years - since the time when I was a caretaker minister," said Minister Popov at the start of the meeting. "The objective of developing a Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Bulgaria is to get the organisations involved in tourism to agree around a few common principles of behaviour that would facilitate the debate on how we interacrt with nature and how to avoid conflicts related to investment intentions in nature," he explained.

"There is no dialogue on how to build in nature, how to protect the landscape," said the minister and added that the reckless overbuilding of our large resorts is also due to the fact that over the years there has not yet been a normal process of public consultation on sustainable tourism.

"Both with a political approach and practical actions we support the idea of adopting the Charter and we will work for its implementation" - confirmed in response the Deputy Minister of Tourism Irena Georgieva, who appreciated that the public discussion was attended by the leading and most experienced representatives of the tourism business.

The deputy ministers of transport and communications Dimitar Nedyalkov and of culture Chavdar Georgiev, managers and experts also participated in the discussion from the Bulgarian Tourist Union, the Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism, the Institute for Analysis and Forecasting of the Information Environment in Tourism, the National Board for Tourism, the Bulgarian Tourist Chamber, the Association of Bulgarian Tour Operators and Travel Agencies, the Bulgarian Association of Experts in Tourism, the Bulgarian Union of Balneology and Spa Tourism, the Association of Parks in Bulgaria, and the BlueLink civic action network.

The Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Bulgaria proposes objectives, principles, and values that would unite under a common direction the efforts of the people from the tourism industry and the institutions supporting them: establishing the country as a tourist destination with a distinctive identity; sustainable development of the regions through the wise use of resources and nature-friendly tourist infrastructure; sensitivity to the preservation of natural and cultural heritage; benefits for local communities; improving accessibility to destinations with public transport.

The discussion focused on the challenges of developing and delivering a high quality and attractive tourism product while respecting sustainability principles. Participants discussed the role of the Charter and made suggestions for its improvement to support concrete steps and actions for sustainable tourism, preserving our natural and cultural heritage in a responsible way, with maximum benefit for local communities.

The opinions expressed during the discussion will be reflected in the final document and the Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Bulgaria will be made available for adoption by all stakeholders in the short term.