Deputy Minister Nikolova: Among the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Danube Strategy is the improvement of navigation on the Danube

Deputy Minister Nikolova: Among the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Danube Strategy is the impro

05 Sep 2018 | 12:59

Better buoyancy will develop the cultural and historical tourism in our country and the cruise tourism along the river

In Bulgaria we consider the Danube as a border and a barrier because of historical facts, but it is an important resource with development potential. This was stated by the Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works and National Coordinator of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region Denitsa Nikolova in an interview for Bloomberg TV. In her opinion, in order to unlock the potential of the river, there should be implemented strategic projects related to improvement of navigation. „If we ensure that the Danube buoyancy can be increased over time as number of days per year, we will enable Bulgaria to become a very attractive destination for cruise tourism“, Nikolova said. This will also allow for stimulating small and medium-sized businesses for each tourist will put his money in the territory of the country when he comes to see it because we have an incredible and enormous cultural and historical heritage that we should show and become a very attractive tourist destination in terms of cultural and historical tourism. „Bulgaria and five more countries are currently implementing an EUR 24 million project funded by the EC“, Nikolova said. The objective is to ensure better connectivity in the region by improving buoyancy. According to Denitsa Nikolova, in the future the Danube Strategy should be focused on more strategically oriented projects for all countries, that is to implement larger projects in several countries’ interest. „Breaking in too many directions with too small projects does not produce its visible effect. And it does not result in the comfort and confidence that the efforts we invest, including at political and expert level, offer a contribution“, the Deputy Regional Minister commented.

Denitsa Nikolova recognised that under the Bulgarian Presidency of the Danube Strategy important decisions have been achieved relating to all 14 Member States. One of the successes so far is the re-establishment of the Strategy Contact Point, which is important for providing logistics and support to rotating presidency countries, and for the very functioning of the strategy. Region integration, economic growth and development priorities have also been implemented. „We also need to find a solution to optimise the strategy’s objectives in order to bring forward specific priorities to work in the future, such as connectivity, economic development, tourism or ecology, rather than having many but minor priorities concerning individual countries“, she added.  Currently there are 11 priority areas and Bulgaria is participating in two of them - cultural tourism and security management. Financing is another important issue for the strategy. The main instrument financing the strategy is the Danube Transnational Programme. It has a total budget of EUR 262 million.

Deputy Minister Nikolova also said that the issue of development of cultural tourism and security will be the main focus during the Seventh Annual Danube Strategy Forum, which will take place on 18 and 19 October in Sofia. It is the most important event of the Presidency. „We are working quickly on logistics and organization. It is expected to be a symbolic forum for Bulgaria this year on several counts. Not just because of the scale for we expect about 700 delegates from the 14 countries and the EC, but also because of the topic we have chosen and focused the event on which is tourism and how it affects economic development in the Member States. We are expecting to be visited by three EC commissioners, the Bulgarian Prime Minister, who will outline the basic vision that the tourism sector is viewed in its entirety and not separately. Within the forum, we will also have a ministerial meeting of all tourism ministers in the strategy that will head in the direction that tourism is a major sector enhancing the economy in the Danube regions. We will also adopt a specific declaration for large projects after 2020“, Deputy Minister Nikolova also said.