Speaking at a panel session at the Hyatt Regency Pravets Resort in Bulgaria today, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) President & CEO Julia Simpson revealed that the WTTC 2023 Economic Impact Research (EIR) today forecasts that 10% of the Bulgarian economy will come from Travel & Tourism by 2033.
WTTC is also forecasting that the sector will support 364,000 jobs across the country over the same period.
Reflections on this year
The research also reveals Bulgaria’s Travel & Tourism sector is forecast to reach more than 75% of the 2019 peak this year.
The sector is set to grow more than 14% this year and contribute BGN 11.4BN to the economy, edging closer to the 2019 pre-pandemic high of BGN 14.8BN.
WTTC is also forecasting that the sector will create 17,500 jobs this year, to reach more than 287,000 in total, with one in twelve workers across Bulgaria, in the Travel & Tourism sector.
A look back on last year
Last year, the Travel & Tourism sector’s GDP contribution grew by 25% to reach BGN 10 BN, representing 6.5% of Bulgaria’s economy, edging closer to the 2019 high of 9.9% of the economy.
Last year the sector also created almost 18,000 more jobs from the previous year to reach 270,000 jobs – one in 13 across Bulgaria.
According to the global tourism body’s annual research, the sector has now recovered a third of the jobs lost during the pandemic.
Last year also saw the return of international travellers heading to Bulgaria with spending from foreign visitors growing 31% year on year, to reach almost BGN 6.5BN.
Domestic visitor spend almost fully recovered in 2022, growing 21% to reach BGN 1.3BN, less than 5% below the pre-pandemic high of BGN 1.4BN.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Bulgaria’s Travel & Tourism sector has shown remarkable resilience in recovering from the pandemic’s challenges, despite ongoing regional conflicts. The country’s commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment has not only supported its own recovery but also contributed to the sector in the region overall.
“Bulgaria’s coastal destinations, like Sunny Beach, have been experiencing a surge in popularity, attracting an increasing number of visitors seeking new destinations. The country’s natural beauty extends beyond its stunning beaches with its picturesque mountains offering excellent opportunities for skiing and other winter sports.”