Bulgaria to Simplify Tourist Visa for Russian Citizens
Bulgarian Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova, agreed with Foreign Minister on the simplification of tourist visa procedures for Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Kazakhstani, Armenian and Georgian citizens. The measure is designed to encourage citizens to spend their vacations in Bulgaria considering their number has decreased during the last years due to the complicated procedures of obtaining tourist visas. Bulgaria adopted the same measures for Turkish tourists and, considering the success the program had, decided to introduce the system for Russian tourists, as well.
What measures will Bulgaria take to simplify tourist visa procedures?
The simplified tourist visa procedure is also part of the Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism’s campaign to encourage early bookings for the 2015 summer season. The new procedure aims at introducing short-term double and multiple-entry visas for organized trips. The new Bulgarian tourist visa will most likely have one-year validity and will be available for foreign citizens who have traveled to Bulgaria before.
The procedure also targets foreign citizens owning real estate in Bulgaria. Russian, Ukrainian and other foreign citizens from countries benefiting from the new simplified visa procedures who have not visited Bulgaria until now will be allowed to apply for short-term visas for private visits.
Bulgarian visas for private visits will also have validity of up to a year. Foreign citizens who have already obtained a Bulgarian visa will benefit from a three-year validity visa for private purposes. The Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism intends to issue the same types of visas for people with disabilities also. The validity period of the visas will most likely match the validity of foreign citizens’ passports.
New tourism projects in Bulgaria
Tourism is one of Bulgaria’s thriving industries, that is why the country is trying to attract visitors and also foreign investors. The new simplified visa procedures for Russian citizens which are among Bulgaria’s traditional visitors and investors is quite important considering the newest tourist project, Las Vegas, that will be launched in April or May.
The Las Vegas project is a collaboration between Bulgarian companies and Hong Kong investors. The Bulgarian Las Vegas will be the most modern vacation complex in the Balkans, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The complex will host high class hotels, casinos, a mall and an aquapark among all other attractions.
Other tourist development projects involve collaborations between French and Bulgarian companies in the Rila region and a rehabilitation center in the Separeva Banya sponsored by a Russian investor fund.