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Alternative SWOT Analysis of Bulgarian Tourism

Мост близо до село МогилицаOur country has remarkable natural, cultural and historical resources for development of rural, eco tourism and cultural tourism. This attracts a lot of Bulgarian and foreign tourists. At the same time a major part of the mountain and rural areas do not have an alternative for development besides this type of tourism. The sustainable development of alternative tourism may revitalize some of the poorest regions of the country. During the last years we have seen an increasing number of tourists from Germany, France, England, Israel, The Netherlands, USA, Scandinavian countries and Japan. A lot of new businesses are started as some of those are agencies, family owned hotels, guest houses, sports clubs providing services in this area. Buying property in Bulgarian villages and small towns is turning into a fashion for Western Europeans. Unfortunately, the successful tourism development and its alternative forms are seriously threatened by the lack of subsidies, by restitution processes and the old fashioned management. In this sense, the Bulgarian government seems to be the major obstacle for tourism development. The government has not contributed to the development of tourism. The development and growth are only due to Bulgarian business.

SWOT Analysis of Alternative Tourism in Bulgaria Resume


Rich and varied natural, historical and cultural resources with European and world importance;

Recognition of alternative tourism as an engine for integrated and steady development;

Significant native expert capacity in the sphere of alternative forms of tourism;

Progress in building up the media image of the alternative forms of tourism in Bulgaria;

International movie productions presenting Bulgaria as a county of ancient civilizations;

Initiative in the hands of the private sector;

Increase in the number of touroperators offering specialized tourism services and products;

Growth in providing accommodation in guest houses and small family hotels;

Traditional Bulgarian hospitality, delicious and gourmet cuisine;

Introduction of specialized publications for the new professions in tourism;

Interest in publishing of modern bilingual maps (including GPS points);

Presence of the country in publishing plans of all significant international guidebooks;

Successful initiatives for creating tourist products; marketing in the frameworks of FAR projects; transborder co-operation;

Introduction of marketing researches;

Appearance of adventure parks and via-ferrata ;

“Green” thinking and increase in awareness of environmental issues on a wider social level.


Lack of national strategy for tourism and quality certification of tourism products;

Insufficiency of financial resources promoting alternative forms of tourism;

Insufficiency of bounding up the development in tourism by central and local authorities;

Lack of strategic thinking and eyesight for presenting the Bulgarian product on foreign markets;

Sporadicalness (separateness) in building up the media image of the destination Bulgaria abroad;

Lack of sufficient e-marketing ;

Tourist fairs without clear focus and addressee;

General infrastructure in really bad condition;

Insufficiency of special tourist infrastructure, lack of varied attractions;

Lack of education and qualification of the human force;

Weakly covered teaching of alternative forms of tourism in high-schools;

Limited variety of products and lack of innovatory ideas;

Lack of waste management, unhygienic settlements and uncoordinated garbage depots out of the settlements;

Construction of buildings on the seaside and in close proximity to natural parks, which endanger the ecological balance and decrease the aesthetic value of natural landscapes;

Cultural and historical heritage in bad condition and left to the mercy of fate;lack of innovative interpretation and inclusion in the tourism product;

Aging of local population in the mountain and semi-mountain regions;

Central power takes no heed of protection of the environment.


Developing of legal framework with accent on specialized tourism (e.g. adventure, eco, rural);

Improving the public and tourist infrastructure;

Accenting on quality of the services;

Informing about the alternative forms of tourism and increasing the tourist culture of the Bulgarian;

Decrease the access barriers to finance resource for the small and medium businesses in tourism;

Better efficiency in use of the resources of the parks and raising its protection as a priority;

Investing in transborder tourist products;

Development of theme routs according to sustainable criteria;

Leading in quality oriented standards in the categorization of guest houses and rooms , family hotels, chalets, camping sites;

Development and boosting of new national networks for accommodation in guest houses, based on the image of boutique authentic tourism;

Creation of new centers for professional teaching of new professions in tourism;

Effective and up-t-date advertising of Bulgaria as a country and destination for alternative tourism.


National structures without concern for the development of alternative tourism;

Old-fashioned and hostile to the tourist business legal framework;

Inability of the country to deal with the "treasure-hunting" and lack of maintenance of cultural monuments;

Prices and packages attracting marginal groups of tourists and creating image as “cheap” and “of poor quality” destination;

Beating down of prices and inadequate offers in combination with undistinguished quality of services;

Withdrawal of tourists in result of uncontrolled and overbuilding ;

Depopulation of villages and population advancing in age;

Disappearing of the traditional crafts and abilities;

Decreasing the aesthetic vlaues of landscapes;

Overuse of specific tourist sites can lead to decrease in value of local resources;

Chaotic planning of the tourist development on regional and national level, which is subordinate to the private corporative interests;

Disabled partnership in the business area.