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Beyond Package Holidays

Whilst reading a recent travel trade publication, mention was made of Spain’s attempts to get potential tourists to look beyond the traditional package holiday. The country’s Secretary of State for Tourism acknowledged that tourists were now far more discerning than what they once were and it was Spain’s task to encourage sport, culture and nature tourism. Additionally ‘ new’ trends saw people interested far more in city breaks, events, gastronomy and festivals.

Mark Thomas, Managing Director of HRG Bulgaria, special travel and tourism operator, spots the changes that lead to Spain going upmarket in relation to Bulgaria's current upmarket aims. The statement coming from Spain echoes that which periodically permeates through the myriad of local self interest associations.

The main difference perhaps being that the message from Spain comes with substance and action. Invariably from local Bulgarian sources this is missing.

Spain is already acting on what it knows it has to do with a clear and concise business plan featuring events and promotions.

The same is possible here in Bulgaria but having the guts to accept that others are perhaps doing it better and that both money and outside help are part of the pre-requisites for success, are a bit harder for some to swallow.

On a similar vein, the golf resort of Vale de Lobo in the Algarve is widely acknowledged to have been the catalyst that provoked change in the tourism product in the south of Portugal. The standards it set and the way it became a role model allowed the Algarve to become both a mainstream tourism destination and one that could successfully operate the year round whilst at the same time attracting a relatively affluent visitor.

On the Bulgarian Black Sea, the super new Golf resort of Black Sea Rama has just opened its first 9 holes and the new standards which it promises to set echo the Vale De Lobo scenario from decades ago.

Things can change if there is the drive to do it – as the Black Sea Rama is proving. It’s just that some governmental help would be appreciated in ensuring the drive reaches a satisfactory conclusion!


Source : Mark Thomas, Managing Director, HRG Bulgaria