Brooke Witt

ITSC 2019 Speaker
Brooke Witt
Head of Digital Diplomacy
Beautiful Destinations

Since joining Beautiful Destinations in 2018, Brooke Witt has brought her expertise on the front lines of innovation and discovery in a fast-changing world to chart a new role as Head of Digital Diplomacy on the Global Communications & External Affairs team.

Prior to joining Beautiful Destinations, Brooke managed stakeholder engagement at Chatham House, the leading think tank based in London. Before moving to London, she was recruited by the Global Health & Innovation arm of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to engage and convene thought-leaders from around the globe. Brooke holds a Bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University and a Master’s degree from the University of Washington.

Interview of Hon. Nikolina Angelkova, Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria


In an interview given to www.investingintourism.com, the Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria, Hon. Mrs. Nikolina Angelkova outlines her vision to attract investments in the tourism sector and her plans to set the pace in tourism sustainability in both the Republic of Bulgaria and the Southeast European region.

What factors have motivated the Ministry of Tourism of Bulgaria to organise its first ‘Investing In Tourism Sustainability Conference’ on 30 and 31 May 2019?

Following our policy of turning Bulgaria into a year-round tourist destination, we believe that the process of attracting investment in the sector is extremely important. This type of forums usually offer solutions, good practices, projects, and are also a platform for establishing contacts between potential investors. We strive for a largescale event so that it can receive an echo not only in the country but also in the international circles where the proposed projects and ideas will find future realization.

 

The conference aims at attracting investments in the tourism industry of your country but also in the Southeast European region. How can Bulgaria benefit from increased foreign direct investments in the neighbouring countries?

Bulgaria is not a closed economy but can be seen as part of a region with excellent opportunities in the field of tourism. There is still a great potential for sector development in Southeast Europe. Improving business conditions and increasing tourism turnover in the countries within the region is beneficial to all citizens, as tourism is a path to friendship between countries and, at the same time, one of the most important economic sectors.This is an excellent opportunity for Bulgaria and the Bulgarian tourists to enjoy improved tourist facilities and services in the region.

 

In what ways do you intend to enhance the complementarities between Bulgaria and other Southeast European countries so as to generate higher value-added synergies?

There are sub-sectors within the industry where, for objective reasons, some Southeast European countries stand out with more advantages over others. For example, our country can offer proven experience in the field of sea and mountain tourism. For us, they are a major source of income, but in order to achieve the goal of developing year-round tourism, we can adopt the good practices that other countries have in the field of spa tourism, cultural and historical tourism, gastronomic tourism, etc. The development of common tourism products between countries is a good example of how we can find the desired synergies in tourism in the region.

 

Currently, what major initiatives have already been taken to ensure the sustainable growth of the tourism industry in Bulgaria?

The Ministry of Tourism has developed a Map of the Investment Projects of Tourism in Bulgaria, gathering proposals from all the municipalities in the country. We intend to complement this initiative and organize its second edition in the near future. Conducting thematic forums with a focus on medical and health tourism are an excellent opportunity to improve the expertise and the exchange of good practices. A similar forum was organized by the Ministry of Tourism in 2017. Between 2016 and 2018, the ministry participated in economic formats at a regional level, such as the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), where it played the role of coordinator. We participate   actively in the OECD Tourism Committee meetings and organize joint working groups between the countries within the region where we discuss common initiatives, projects and opportunities.

 

What outcomes do you expect from this first edition of the ‘Investing in Tourism Sustainability Conference’?

We approach this event with positive expectation because it will be attended by both high-ranking guests and speakers. Not only do we expect to hear a lot of interesting ideas and suggestions during the discussion panels, but we also hope that participants will be actively involved in the debates. The forum has the potential to become a high-profile networking event with good prospects for development in the future. This is yet another opportunity to promote the destination and present the advantages of the Bulgarian tourism sector.

Andreas Beikos

ITSC 2019 Speaker
Andreas Beikos
Head of Office
EIB Group Office for Bulgaria

Graduated from Governors State University, University Park, IL, USA where he obtained Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 1986.

From 1987-1989 he worked at the Banco de la Nación Argentina in New York, and from 1989-1992 he worked at the First National Bank of Chicago in Chicago.

From 1993-1999 he was a Senior Bank Analyst at Capital Intelligence, International Bank Analysis and Rating Agency in Cyprus where he was in charge of financial analysis of banks located in the Middle East and North Africa, South East Europe and South East Asia. He also acted as a Chairman and Member of CI’s Rating Committee, which approves banks’ ratings.

Since 1999, he works at the European Investment Bank, Luxembourg.

From 1999 – 2004 he was Senior Credit Officer responsible for a large diversified financial institutions’ portfolio of loans (including asset-backed securities) and counterparts within and outside the European Union. From 2004-2010 he was a Senior Loan Officer where he contributed to the development of the Bank’s operations in Asia (Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mongolia and Yemen) and in Latin American (Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and Paraguay).

He was appointed Head of EIB Regional Office for the Western Balkans in 2010 and appointed as Head of EIB Group office for Bulgaria in December 2017. Speaks English, French, Spanish, Serbian, Greek and Slovenian.

The reconstruction of the mineral bath complex in the resort “Stara Zagora Mineral Baths” in a modern SPA complex

Location

Stara Zagora Municipality

Purpose of the project

The investment projects aims to renovate and the mineral bath to make it a modern spa facility. That would increase the resort’s attractivity by including services that are currently only available in high-class hotels and will ensure a high year-round occupancy rate for all other accommodation basements.

Description

At the moment there are several hotels in the resort with a categorization of 1 to 4 stars. The total number of beds is 908. A total of 34 078 stayovers have been recorded in the complex in 2015. Some of the hotels have indoor and outdoor pools and spa centers.

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“Planetarium” recreation complex, Burgas

Location

Ezero Park, Burgas Municipality

Planned initial investment

2.5 million leva, or about 1.25 million euros.

Description

The creation of the Theme Amusement Park – Park-Ezero – aims to establish a new tourist destination in the region of the 4th largest Bulgarian city Burgas. The type of attractions and the services it offers will make it unique for the country. The project has an environmental, legal, financial and technical analysis available in the Municipality of Burgas. Municipal land plots are available to potential investors.

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Renovation of West Park, Sofia

Location: Sofia Municipality

Description

This is the second largest park in Sofia; there is a metro connection available; this is the most populated area of the city. Initial plans include building a restaurant, café bar, confectionery, bars, and recreational facilities for children. The municipality of Sofia has a plan to allocate 50-55 acres of the park to an investor to build children’s attractions.

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Renovation of the Baths in Ovcha Kupel and Gorna Banya as Spa and Rehabilitation Complexes

Location: Sofia Municipality

Description

Ovcha Kupel – The bathroom in Ovcha Kupel was built in 1933. The mineral waters have proven healing effect. The bathroom consists of a three-storey building with 1321 square meters of built-up area. The Municipality of Sofia has developed projects for the transformation of the region into a balneological center.

Gorna Banya – The building of the bathroom in Gorna Banya, built in 1915, covers an area of 685 sq.m. with additional building. According to the General Urban Plan of the Sofia Municipality, the area will be developed as a villa and resort zone.

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Swimming and SPA complex

Location

Varna Municipality, “Asparuhovo” District

Value

approximately $4 million

Description

There is a mineral water source within the land plots; it can be used by clubs and organizations for swimming and other sports; The complex can be used by citizens, sports clubs, and for the organization of international sports events. It may lead to the creation of at least 40 new jobs.

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