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Natura 2000 Could Aid Promotion of Alternative Tourism in Bulgaria

Source: Sofia Echo (www.sofiaecho.com)
Published Date: 12 Jan 2007

Bulgaria could get economic benefits from the introduction of the European environment protection network Natura 2000, head of the Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism (BAAT) Liubomir Popyordanov said.

This could be achieved through participation in specialised tourism forums, where for now Bulgaria is rarely represented, Popyordanov told participants in the Bulgaria- Dream Area forum.

Eco-tourism represented only 0.1% of the tourism industry in Bulgaria, Popyordanov said. This meant 1200 to 1500 tourist visits per year, Bulgarian news agency BTA reported.

Revenue generated from eco-tourism totaled 1.2 billion euro. Most of the tourists were interested in bird and plant watching and came from the UK and France.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Stefan Iuroukov said that the national strategic plan for the development of rural regions also included plans for the promotion of eco and rural tourism.

Nearly 922 million euro would be allocated for the execution of the plan, Iuroukov said. Most of the money would come from the EU funds. Municipalities, companies and NGOs can submit projects and compete for such funding, said he.