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

In recent years Bulgarian tourism has been developing very successfully. 2018 is one of the best years in our history, as for the first time we crossed the line of 9 million foreign tourists. Since the establishment of the independent Ministry of Tourism, record results have been achieved as compared to 2015 – 31% increase in foreign tourist visits and 34% increase in revenues from international tourism. This year will be extremely dynamic due to the great competition for tourists in the region.

The Government of the Republic of Bulgaria is also working hard to attract investments. That is why we organize an International Conference for Sustainable Investment in Tourism, which will be held on 30-31st of May in our sea resort Sunny Beach. The aim of the forum is to raise awareness of the investment potential in the country and the region of Southeastern Europe and also to discuss a common vision for tackling challenges in this area. We expect more than 300 guests and a special guest will be Dr. Taleb Rifai, former Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (2009-2017).

One of the main priorities of the country is the reduction of the administrative burden for the business, which we are doing in the Ministry of Tourism. Qualified workers and favorable taxation are also one of the important factors. We are striving to implement such policies that will contribute to the good investment climate in our country and good financial stability. For this reason, the focus for me and my team this year is on tourism investment. We will assist investors in the rapid realization of the projects as we are already working on organizing investment tours. In this way, foreign companies with interest in tourism investments will be informed in detail both on future projects and on finished sites.

Regarding Southeastern Europe`s tourism potential, it is growing every year. Under Bulgarian and neighboring countries initiative, we are working on the creation of Balkan routes that will make the region attractive for the tourists from the distant markets. The idea is for destinations to start with UNESCO sites in the territories of the countries and in the future to be expanded.

H.E. Nikolina Angelkova

H.E. Nikolina Angelkova
Minister of Tourism
of the Republic of Bulgaria

Nikolina Angelkova has graduated the Harvard Business School – Boston, the USA under the programme for management personnel “Leadership Development”. Angelkova has also obtained an MA in Law from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, Bulgaria, graduating with a diploma with honours under the specialty “Business Management” at the Post-Graduate Institute of the University of National and World Economy.

Angelkova has specialized in financial management of the EU Structural Funds, European Law and Regional Policy and Structural Funds Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht, and the Regional Institute for Administrative Reform in Nantes, France.

From 2002 to 2006 Nikolina Angelkova was assigned for a chairperson of the Association for Legal Development and Legal Counsel to the Parliamentary Committee on Regional Policy and Public Works. From 2005 to 2007 she was a trainee in Directorate-General for the Environment of the European Commission and an adviser to the head of the Bulgarian delegation in the EPP Group in the European Parliament, where she worked in the field of regional development, transport and the environment.

Within the period 2005-2010, she was the owner of Nikolova and Partners Consult, and Director-General of Herchesa Bulgaria Ltd. (2007-2009) and Director of Helektor Bulgaria Ltd. (2009-2010).

In 2010-2011, Angelkova was a Head of Control, Communication and Coordination Unit to the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works. In 2011, she was a member of the Management Board of the Road Infrastructure Agency, and up to 2013 she was a Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works in charge of European affairs, relations with international institutions, European Territorial Cooperation and Strategic Planning of Regional Development; National contact person for the Danube Strategy.

Within the period 2013-2014, she was adviser of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria for European regional cooperation.

In March 2014, Angelkova was chosen as one of the 214 young global leaders of the Community of Young Global Leaders of 2014 (Young Global Leaders). The prestigious honours are awarded by the World Economic Forum and are recognition for f the excessive achievements in the management and leadership both on professional and social level.

Nikolina Angelkova is an Interim Minister of Transport, Information Technologies and Communications in the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria with a caretaker Prime Minister Prof. Georgi Bliznashki.

Minister of Tourism since November 7, 2014 till January 27, 2017.

Appointed as a Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria on May 4, 2017.

Rajan Datar

ITSC 2019 Speaker
Rajan Datar
Broadcaster and Journalist

Rajan Datar is a hugely respected and versatile broadcaster and journalist who cut his teeth feature-writing for national publications including the Guardian and the Times and then presented and reported for the BBC on television and radio, to domestic global audiences – and often live as a reporter on Newsnight and as an award-winning presenter for BBC 2’s The Money Programme, writing and presenting ten half hour programmes on popular brands … from Google to Tesco.

His speciality has been current affairs and culture and he is the presenter of the World Service’s flagship discussion programme The Forum, as well as being for the last decade, host of the weekly feedback programme Over To You. He has made many documentaries for Radio 4 and is a regular contributor to Radio 4’s flagship Arts programme, Saturday Review.

He has reported for popular consumer programmes such as Watchdog, including live.

For the last decade he has become a globally-recognised presenter of more than forty travel documentaries for the BBC in which he has immersed himself in local cultures and quirky situations …from fighting a Mongolian wrestler in the Gobi desert , to abseiling with refuse collectors in the favelas of Rio, to living the life of a Buddhist Monk for several days in Thailand, singing with a 25 piece male polyphonic Georgian choir in the caucuses…. and living with a cult.

Not many people can display the versatility to alternately present the high-brow discussion programme “The Forum” on the BBC World Service, then engage in a bout in front of a public audience with a Mongolian wrestler in the Gobi desert for the BBC Travel show or play on stage at a New Orleans zydeco band .. along with a background in 50 min prime time TV docs on subjects that vary from the collapse of Enron to the Fast Fashion industry for the BBC …

He has just completed a film for BBC News and Current Affairs about his own father’s Dementia, earning plaudits from the Director of News and CA amongst others ..

He is also an in-demand moderator and speaker at panels run by the UN amongst others and tours the world – from Singapore to Australia to the USA – presenting entertaining and thought-provoking sessions on the Travel Industry and Broadcasting today.

Vesselin Vassilev

ITSC 2019 Speaker
Vesselin Vassilev
Horizon Software Solutions Ltd UK and iLoveBulgaria Ltd

• Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria, MSc – Computer Science
• Founder of 6 successful technology companies in Eastern Europe and UK
• Founder of the British company Horizon Software Solutions, a preferred supplier of the British Government and the owner of the digital marketing and mobile loyalty platform iClarity (
• Founder of iLoveBulgaria ( – a successful public-private project between the Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism and Horizon Software Solutions. The Platform gives opportunity to small and medium-sized companies, government and municipal institutions to use the most modern marketing and advertising instruments, without the need of big investments.
• 20 years deep experience in banking digital marketing and loyalty projects
• The first instant mortgage processing solution in UK delivered under his management
• Successfully implemented a number of Blue Chip CRM and ERP applications in UK
• Delivery manager of EU funded SmartCities projects in partnership with Marstercard
• Partner of the Dutch government for outsourcing projects in Bulgaria
• Involved in the a number of B2B2C technology projects in China, including adidas, China telecom and the 16+1 initiative (

Ulrich Heppe

ITSC 2019 Speaker
Ulrich Heppe
Fraport Bulgaria

Ulrich Heppe has more than 18 years of experience in the airport and financial services industry.

From 2013 to 2015, he was appointed CEO of Fraport AG’s Senegalese subsidiary Daport SA. Ulrich started his career as a financial analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Investment Bank in Frankfurt in 2001, also taking on the responsibility of vice president for Avenue Capital, a London-based private equity group.

Since September 2015, he has held the position of CEO of Fraport Bulgaria, the operator of Fraport’s Black Sea airports in Varna (VAR) and Burgas (BOJ) in Bulgaria.

Ulrich joined Fraport in 2007, where he occupied various positions including interim CFO at King Khaled International Airport (KKIA) in Riyadh in 2012, as a member of Fraport’s management contract team in Saudi Arabia. From 2013 to 2015, he was appointed CEO of Fraport AG’s Senegalese subsidiary Daport SA.

Ulrich started his career as a financial analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein Investment Bank in Frankfurt in 2001, also taking on the responsibility of vice president for Avenue Capital, a London-based private equity group.

Born in 1971, Ulrich Heppe graduated from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, where he studied law and business administration.

Simeon Peshov

ITSC 2019 Speaker
Simeon Peshov
Honorary President
Bulgarian Construction Chamber

He graduated University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Sofia. He specialized in the Academy of Sciences in Moscow. His work starts at the Computing Center for Construction. In 1969 През 1969 г. specialized in Imperial College London.

From 1976 to 1979 he was a senior expert in the production line of the General Directorate of Construction of the People’s Republic of China in Moscow.

From 1981 to 1989 he worked at the Ministry of Construction as Director, Chief Executive Officer, Vice President of the Building and Construction Industry Association.

Since 1990 he has been CEO of Glavbolgarstroy. Mr. Peshov is the Chairman of the Bulgarian Construction Chamber from 2003 to 2010 and is currently its “Honorary President”.

Plamen Dimitrov

ITSC 2019 Speaker
Plamen Dimitrov
Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria

Plamen Dimitrov was born on September 20, 1963 in the town of Rousse, where he graduated from Electrical Engineering School and later graduated as a mechanical engineer at the Nikola Vaptsarov Higher Naval School in Varna.

From 1997 to 1999 he continued his university studies at the Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski”. He graduated as a Master in Human Resource Management.

In 1997, Plamen Dimitrov was elected Deputy Chairperson for Common Policy, Organization, Coordination and Control at CITUB. Since 2003 he has been chairman of the MB of the College of Workers’ Education. Since 2007, at the 6th Congress of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CITUB), he has been elected Vice-President of the Confederation.

On October 12, 2010, the Co-ordinating Council of CITUB by a full majority elects CITUB Vice-President Plamen Dimitrov as President of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria for the time of the 7th CITUB Congress in the spring of 2012. On May 3, 2013 VII Congress of CITUB elects Plamen Dimitrov as Confederation leader.

Plamen Dimitrov is a member of the European Economic and Social Council and of the Economic and Social Council of the Republic of Bulgaria. Represents CITUB in the Executive Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation and in the Pan-European Regional Council of the International Trade Union Confederation.

Ognyan Trajanov

ITSC 2019 Speaker
Ognyan Trajanov
The Bulgarian Association of Information Technologies

Born in 1958 in Sofia. Graduated and post-graduated from the Sofia Technical University. Working experience as a scientific researcher in Interprogramma Institute in the area of Artificial Intelligence. Attended many technical and managerial trainings at IBM and at Oracle Corporation. Chairman of The National network of the UN Global Compact.

Honored with the first of its kind award for “Contribution to the Development of Information and Communication Technologies” at the “Mister Economy 2012” competition, once it was established.

Member of the National Innovation Council under the Ministry of Economy and Energy.

Honorary Consul of the Republic of Philippines in Bulgaria.