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​Interview with Bgtourism.bg by Dr. Frank Quante - CEO of "Fraport Twin Star Airport Management", operator of Varna Airport and Burgas Airport, and Chairman of Bulgarian Black Sea Alliance

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Frank Quante: At the road show in Poland, we acted as a team, not as competitors

29/10/2022 12:19

 

- Dr. Quante, how is the promotional tour of Bulgaria in Poland, organized by the Alliance Bulgarian Black Sea and held with the support of the Ministry of Tourism, going on?
- All participating 14 companies from the tourism sector of Bulgaria and I agree that it was a success to present Bulgaria as a tourist destination in Poland. We met with more than 100 partners from the tourism sector in Poland and representatives of the media in the cities of Wroclaw, Katowice, Krakow and Warsaw. Media coverage has already started in Poland and will continue in the future.

B2B meetings in Warsaw

This is not only a success, but also a necessity to be present in our main markets! We started with Poland because it is one of the few countries that in 2022 surpassed the 2019 levels in terms of tourists coming to Bulgaria. And in terms of flights, we can already see, although at this very early stage , that from

KRAKOW, 87% MORE FLIGHTS TO BURGAS ARE PLANNED.

So there is great and tangible potential for growth, but it needs to be worked on to achieve it!

- Who were your local partners during the implementation of the road show and are there any real results from the b2b meetings?
- The partners we met with were the tour operators and travel agencies from Poland, incl. the largest of them, but also smaller ones. Also with media representatives specializing in tourism, the aviation sector and regional media, incl. quite a few TV channels. They attended the meetings and management of the airports in Wroclaw and Krakow.
As a result, there are now more tangible discussions with hotel booking groups. But more importantly, we all better understand how to grow businesses for the future. One lesson learned was that we can sell a lot more products in the off-season when the information is made available.

- We live in times when it is necessary not only to have information, but also for it to reach quickly, to be up-to-date, interesting and positive when it comes to the brand and the image of a country? What did the meetings in Poland show? Do the Polish partners know Bulgaria and its opportunities for tourism well?
- Perhaps the biggest surprise was the low level of familiarity of the Polish colleagues with Bulgaria. Not only for the tourist products of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, but also the overall know-how is very basic. Some participants did not even know that there are mountains in Bulgaria and that winter sports are part of the tourist offer. More and more detailed information should be provided to our partners in Poland, and not only in writing. Only about a third of the participants have ever visited Bulgaria. Tourism is not a virtual product, after all we sell emotions through it. Business is done between people, personal meetings are necessary!

Dr. Frank Quante; Milena Todorova – Project and Marketing Manager of Alliance Bulgarian Black Sea; Irena Georgieva – Deputy Minister of Tourism; His Excellency Margarita Ganeva, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Republic of Poland; Nikolay Kostov - tourism attaché of the Republic of Bulgaria in the Republic of Poland and Radostina Zlatena - aviation marketing and development expert at "Fraport Bulgaria" (from left to right).

- Do you plan to upgrade and repeat this project in countries that are an important market for Bulgarian tourism?
- Definitely yes! All participants agree to this!

IT IS OUR WISH TO MAKE THE NEXT SIMILAR EVENT IN GERMANY,

As soon as possible. Then to Great Britain. And in Poland, we must also return to important regions in the north, such as Gdansk, for example. This was just the premiere of such a format, we must continue. We have already started an exchange in this direction with the Minister of Tourism.

– What are your expectations for 2023, related to the flow of tourists at our sea airports, which are managed by Fraport Bulgaria?
- It is too early to make serious predictions. According to our internal planning

THE TOTAL NUMBER OF PASSENGERS WILL INCREASE BY ABOUT 20%, COMPARED TO 2022.

But as everyone knows, the economic crisis in Europe may deepen, inflation is very high, the cost of living is increasing dramatically. These are all risks for tourism in general.

Photo of all participants from the Bulgarian side in the city of Katowice

Please allow me to make a personal addition regarding the road show in Poland: first I would like to thank Deputy Minister of Tourism Irena Georgieva and Nikolay Kostov - Tourism Attaché of Bulgaria in Poland, for their support. Their participation was very important because it increased the significance of the event for all participants. I also thank Prof. Modeva and the Minister of Tourism Ilin Dimitrov for their support and financial commitment!

But also to the participating members of Bulgarian Black Sea Alliance, as well as to the other participants who formed a great team this week! I'm sure the guests from Poland were impressed that

WE ACTED AS A TEAM, NOT AS COMPETITORS!

B2B meetings in Katowice

Milena Todorova, Project and Marketing Manager of Bulgarian Black Sea Alliance, worked hard to make these events possible! So thank you to all the companies involved:

AIA (Association of Incoming Agencies)

Balkan Holidays Services

BUBSPA 

Duni Royal Resort

Fraport Bulgaria - Varna and Burgas Airports 

Grifid Hotels

Go2Holiday

Hotel Flamingo beach

Melia Hotels International

MTS Globe

K.k. Albena

St. St. Constantine and Elena Holding

Solvex

Topola Skies Resort