Operation 3.2. Regional Tourism Product Development and Marketing of Destinations

Operation objective

To increase the number of visitors and visitor days, to improve seasonal and territorial distribution of tourism development in different regions and areas based on integrated destination management and marketing and to use different tools, techniques and systems ensuring effective tourism information and marketing.

Operation rationale 

This operation is focused on destination’s marketing and will encourage exclusively “soft” activities. It seeks to address simultaneously several main issues:

  • The need to maintain the current position on the traditional international markets and to attract new market segments for specific products and use the domestic potential tourism demand;
  • The need to enhance awareness of the diverse tourism potential and offers of Bulgarian tourist regions and areas and to improve their image by using effective contemporary tools and techniques to reach the tourism markets incl. the development of online information capacity and systems required to promote and compete effectively in the global tourism industry;
  • The need of a sound and co-ordinated regional approach and/or a national wide product based approach to improve the development and marketing of tourism attractions, complementary to the efforts of individual companies, local authorities and local tourist organisations on one hand and to the national marketing of the STA on the other;
  • The need to use the existing capacity and to broaden and strengthen partnership based tourist organisations (especially the regional ones) that are able to carry out collective product development and marketing activities for their destinations;
  • The need to improve the planning and knowledge base of regional and local tourism development policy and marketing, including the establishment of a sound regional ground to intervene effectively on international markets (as envisaged in operation 3.3);

As highlighted above there is a need to develop and promote to the market comprehensive destinations products to influence product and market diversification and better distribution of tourism in space and time. Due to the fragmented and heterogeneous nature of tourism industry this can be reached through collective actions that are managed and supported by appropriate organisations (partnership based tourist organisations with broader scope for ensuring their effectiveness that involve or co-operate with local authorities).

The purpose of this operation is to encourage initiatives in the area of regional marketing, i.e. of the district and its territory, or even larger, and ideally correspond to a given area with specific tourism assets and possibilities (tourist region). The operation will reward and actively support such projects. Support will be targeted mainly to regional partnership based organisations as well as to national organisations in case of nation-wide (supra-regional) products and networks and only in exceptional cases (big cities, non-existing RTOs) other beneficiaries will be supported. It is open to local marketing initiatives only to the extent that they may have a regional impact.

Regional cooperation, complementarities and synergy will be strongly encouraged in terms of collective efforts of most developed and less developed areas on regional basis. Thus product development and promotion have to reflect specific regional features and address market opportunities for a more sustainable tourism development at regional level. In addition they have to complement national marketing strategy and activities (operation 3.3). Projects facilitating the identification of large scale partnership-based regional investment projects for operation 3.1 will be strongly encouraged. However support will not be limited to the less developed tourism areas - as far as needs for diversifying product and markets, reducing seasonality etc. are not limited to less developed tourist areas and regions, the most developed areas will not be disregarded and will also be supported within this operation.

List of indicative activities to be supported

  • Activities to facilitate regional product development and market intelligence, such as inventory and assessment of tourist resources, facilities and services, regional marketing and impact studies, regional visitor surveys, elaboration of regional tourism development, marketing and promotion strategies and programmes, development of tourist packages, etc.;
  • Promotion activities like preparation and distribution of information and promotional materials on the region and its products, participation in regional, national and international tourism fairs, organisation of regional tourism fairs, test trips, visits by travel agents, tour operators, travel writers, journalists etc;.
  • Organization of events of regional and national scope and impact, e.g. festivals, outdoor events, sport competitions, folklore events, presentation of local/regional traditions, cuisine, crafts, etc.;
  • Implementation of modern technology and information systems improving information services, marketing and planning of tourist destinations, such as establishment, reconstruction/refurbishment and/or equipment of tourist information centers, their inclusion in  regional or broader networks and information systems, web-based regional information and distribution systems (e-marketing), IT based tourism data-bases, etc.;
  • Development of regional identity and branding activities like voluntary regional certification of facilities, attractions and services, introduction of uniform systems of marking, regional wide and regional specific codes of conduct and standards, development and introduction of environmental standards for tourist services, etc.;
  • Support of public awareness activities and information services to the local businesses and communities, like communication campaigns to improve awareness of natural and cultural heritage and tourism contribution to development, dissemination of relevant information to tourist businesses, organisation of tourist fora to encourage effective 2-way communication, participation and commitment of local business in identification and solution of common problems, etc.;
  • Strengthening partnership based organisations and networks, incl. capacity building activities for tourist associations and municipalities that is complementary to and/or required by above activities, encouraging regional and national networks building, etc.

Projects should entail a combination of some of the above activities that are complementary and are integrated on the basis of a sound development logic and are contributing to development and marketing of tourism products based on natural and cultural heritage (especially although not exclusively cultural, eco- and spa tourism), i.e. no single activities or set of miscellaneous unrelated activities will be supported.

The above activities have to complement/ contribute to the marketing, promotion and information strategies and activities envisaged at national level, especially under operation 3.3.


Regional, national or local tourism associations, registered in the National Tourism Register, municipalities, associations of municipalities; Ministry of Culture (specific beneficiary).


Last modified: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 3:47 PM