One of the main missions of the Mutual Aid project is to visit regional and national historical and natural landmarks and to promote them and boy, did we take it to heart. Over the past few months, we traveled all over the country, from Burgas to Yablanitsa and from the Rhodopes to Varna, and we realized that Bulgaria has so much to offer. Whether it’s natural sites, Roman or Thracian remains, picturesque villages or unique traditions, there’s something for every taste as the country is full of treasures.
However, Bulgaria’s beauty is only seen by those who look for it. Through all these visits, through travels to Romania and Istanbul but also reflecting on my upbringing in one of the most visited regions of the most visited country in the world, I couldn’t help but notice something. Even though the Balkan beauty has a lot of potential, it is mostly untapped. Much of what there’s to discover is left as it is, without any form of development that could present it under its bets light and educate, thus attracting tourists. Often, there are no signs showing the way to get there or to present the main points the visitor should focus on. In addition to this, it is pretty common to be unable to find a place to eat, drink or relax, or activity centers related to the landmark. Such is the case for many a landmark, which means that only some determined or informed enough tourists enjoy the bountiful treasures of Bulgaria.
Bulgaria as a whole could truly benefit from tourism enhancement. Tourism is great for not just individual travelers, but also the local economies. Primarily it’s just a fantastic source of income, because its money that wouldn’t have been earned if the tourists were not there. What’s great about it is that it creates employment in sectors ranging from directly influenced positions like tour guides or hotel staff to the supporting industries like retail and food production. Moreover, in addition to what is spent by tourists, the tourism profits that are earned, by both businesses and individuals are often re-injected into the local economy. Ultimately, the more tourists come in and spend, the larger the economic benefit for everyone. In addition to bringing prosperity to an economy, it also allows an economy to develop a new form of income. This acts as an insurance policy in case of hard times, because the additional funds coming in can help support traditional industries in case they come under financial pressure. The additional revenue that comes into a community also benefits the local council or governments. It means more tax income, which allows public projects to be launched or developed, which amounts to an improvement in infrastructures. The better facilities not only bring in more visitors, but also benefit local residents. In addition to the revenue, there are also fantastic cultural advantages to tourism as it can be a source of pride for local communities. It allows them to look at their history, and cultural heritage and develop their own community identity. This helps the residents in maintaining their traditions and culture, while also showcasing it for all the visitors.
There’s no doubt tourism is fantastic for a local community, and the domestic economy as a whole. Therefore, Bulgaria should really develop its touristic sector by tapping into the potential of its natural and cultural landmarks. As a tourist, the key to remember when traveling is to always act to support the cultural diversity of the place visited, and make sure to take part in activities that add value to the local community. In that case, it’s a win-win situation as Bulgaria is developed and preserved and the tourists are attracted and amazed.