Bulgaria is known as destination for spa and wellness tourism, but in an unplanned way.
The major centres of this type of tourism are Hisarya, Velingrad, Kyustendil, Varshets, Pomorie and Sandanski, as well as the 600 mineral springs where the leading destinations are Stara Zagora, Burgas and Pavel banya.
Rumen Draganov of the Bulgarian Institute for Tourism Analyses and Assessments says, “With 600 places Bulgaria does not use the entire capacity and potential of its mineral springs. We do not use it for the health of the population and the improvement of local economies, as these natural resources may be used for creating new jobs. What the country needs is a clear development concept. If the resources are used rationally, the tourist season in Bulgaria can be extended.”
Draganov goes on to suggest a specific project, “A European project for the old mineral baths dating back to Roman Empire times would help find new markets for Bulgarian spa and wellness tourism. Italy, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and France all promote their spas to locals and other countries. Bulgaria is in the periphery of these European projects. It should reach out to new tourist markets in China, Japan, the Far East, Australia, Brazil, and the USA. The point of European projects is activating tourists from all over the world. Before that Bulgaria needs to establish excellent conditions for Bulgarian tourists, who could be much healthier. Pensioners in particular could use the rich resources the country has, which are public state property.”