Home / Science / Research Еxcellence 2008-2013 / Guidelines for Tourism Regionalization of Bulgaria


Name of Excellence: Guidelines for Tourism Regionalization of Bulgaria

Author: Prof. Dr. Vasil Marinov, Department of Geography of Tourism

Research domain: Tourism, Geography of Tourism, Regional Policy


Vasil Marinov is a Professor at the Faculty of Geology and Geography, Department “Geography of Tourism”.

He has been working at Sofia University since 1985. His academic and applied research is in the field of tourism development, tourism demand, tourism planning and policy, regional planning and policy, EU cohesion policy.

He has been involved in the elaboration and evaluation of many policy and planning documents in Bulgaria as well as in other countries - Romania, Serbia, Albania, Ukraine, Moldova.

Prof. Dr. Vasil Marinov

The study addresses the need of a new tourism regionalization of Bulgaria serving the purpose of regional tourism marketing and establishment of regional destination management organisations. The objective is to establish a sound scientific basis for the legal regulation of tourism regions which is relevant to the specific political, administrative and tourism context of Bulgaria.

Taking into account the existing views on theory and methodology and based on a review of tourism regionalization experience in Bulgaria, current policy documents and large number of stakeholders’ positions the following was developed: possible application areas of tourism regions and approach to resolve the conflict between their deferring purposes; main requirements to tourism regions and to the process of tourism regionalization; criteria for regions’ identification; a specific action plan. It is emphasized that the regionalization scheme has to be fi t to the purpose, theoretically and methodologically sound, politically acceptable for stakeholders, and practically applicable.

The results of the study were implemented in the elaboration of the National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism Development of Bulgaria (2009), in the Tourism Act (2013), in the Strategy for Brand “Bulgaria”, and in the Terms of Reference for tourism regionalization of Bulgaria. Moreover, it has generated subsequent publications and applied research with the participation of the author which analyzed the arguments for new tourism regionalization of Bulgaria, elaborated the issue of political sensitivity of tourism regionalization and the principles to address the related problems, and justified the need of an evidence-based regionalization and typology of the regions drawn for political purposes and of applied methodologies for quantitative assessment and analysis of regional differentiation and developing regional typologies using diverse statistical techniques. Newly emerging regionalization schemes were critically analyzed and a methodology with the respective scheme of tourism regionalization of Bulgaria was proposed based on analysis of the naturally formed spatial entities (regional associations, associations for joint projects).

The study was funded by the State Tourism Agency.