Country study May 2010 Détente Consultants CALYPSO STUDY ON SOCIAL TOURISM BULGARIA CALYPSO STUDY ON SOCIAL TOURISM BULGARIA Revision Final Date 2010/05/12 Made by Teodora Nedkova, Stefka Mihova Checked by Benabdallah Jamil/Marion Doublet Approved by National Contact Point BULGARIA CONTENTS 1. Summary 1 2. Focus on experiences and mechanisms for international exchanges 1 3. Analysis of the four target tourism markets 2 3.1 Structures and players 2 3.2 Segmentation profile 4 3.3 Existing support systems and/or mechanisms 9 3.4 Demand drivers 10 4. Analysis of the tourism sector 12 4.1 Market trends 12 4.2 Supply of services 13 4.3 Supply of services from a European point of view 14 4.4 Sustainable tourism aspects 14 4.5 Feasibility of social tourism 15 5. Legislative perspectives 15 6. Development of products for social tourism 16 7. Web portals 18 Annexes List of documents Good practice descriptions 1 1. SUMMARY The goals of this study are to give an overview of social tourism in Bulgaria. More specifically, existing supply and demand in this field will be listed, good practices in the country identified and analysed in order to assess if they can potentially be transferred to other European countries in the framework of Calypso. Chapter 3 includes a brief description of the key stakeholders in the field of social tourism in Bulgaria. This report only includes the main stakeholders, who could participate to the development of this field, and that have shown willingness to participate in international initiatives, portal, etc. This chapter also describes profiles and support mechanism of different target groups. Latest available statistical data, reports and analyses have been used. The information is supported by interviews with state institutions, NGOs and representatives of the different target groups. All four groups share one common difficulty: financial constraints, which prevent them from taking some if any vacation. Young people in Bulgaria who are less financially secured are people up to 25 years old. The majority of seniors in Bulgaria do not go on holiday. Families who have financial constraints save their money to support the family, rather than taking any holiday. Participation of disabled people in tourism is low for two major reasons: financial constraints and lack of facilities. Bulgaria has been well developed as a mass tourism destination. However, it is highly marked by the seasonality aspect. The majority of interviewed people are not familiar with the notion of social tourism. In Section 4.4, the feasibility of social tourism in Bulgaria is analysed, drawing current lack of services and initiatives as well as potential for future developments. Even if there is no systematic coordination and cooperation in the field of social tourism, which constitutes a major challenge in identifying good practices, three of them have been identified. They are summarized in chapter 2 and described in details in annexes. 2. FOCUS ON EXPERIENCES AND MECHANISMS FOR INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGES Social tourism in Bulgaria is not well developed. However, there are some isolated initiatives of different actors. Most striking examples are detailed in the annexes. One good practice related to senior people has been identified during the research. Lukoil Jsc. Company and Burgas Mineral Waters Prophylactics Complex cooperate in order to provide Lukoil’s pensioners with specialised healthcare for professional diseases. The holiday is all-inclusive, including accommodation, prescribed medical procedures and diet. The duration of the stay is 10 days minimum. This enables Lukoil Jsc. to support more than 1,000 seniors per year in Burgas region. Organisations from different towns or villages may create exchange opportunities for seniors from different regions. The collaboration could be between different enterprises or between an enterprise and an NGO, etc. Stakeholders have to be identified in order to transfer this initiative abroad. Regarding families in difficult social conditions, nothing has been identified in terms of good practices and mechanisms for international exchanges. Regarding tourism for disabled people, one good practice has been identified. “Dosed tourism” is an initiative of the Union for Disabled people in Bulgaria. This initiative consists in excursions 2 organised by UDPB’s members. People travelling are people with disabilities, who become members of the organisation. Four types of excursions are organized: • Excursions with educational purpose: cultural and historical monuments in Bulgaria, places related to famous people, etc; • Mixed excursions with educational purpose, combined with meetings and exchanges of experiences between non-governmental organisations, sport or arts activities, trainings (travelling seminars), humanitarian activities. The spots visited are cultural and historical, seaside resorts, monasteries, carnivals. • Excursions abroad: with educational purpose, combined with exchanges of experiences with similar organisations, aiming to raise awareness about European institutions and practices; • Traditional excursions: anniversary gatherings, folklore festivals, walks in the mountain, combined with seminars on topical issues, songs, music and dances, cooking in the air, sports and touristic holidays with entertainment, quizzes and awards. This practice constitutes a good mechanism for international exchanges. It can be successfully transferred on a European level, as a result of collaboration between NGOs from different countries. 3. ANALYSIS OF THE FOUR TARGET TOURISM MARKETS 3.1 Structures and players 1. The Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism Until mid-2009, the main institution responsible for the development of state policy in tourism was the State Agency for Tourism. It was integrated into the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism. The Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism is in charge of: • Developing short-term conceptions and programs for the development of tourism • Proposing to the Council of Ministers strategies for the development of tourism • Organising and coordinating controls on the quality of tourist products • Registering tour operators and tourist agencies’ activity • Categorizing tourist facilities in compliance with the law 2. The Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism (BAAT). BAAT encourages and supports partnerships for the sustainable development of alternative forms of tourism at a regional and local level in order to preserve the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage. BAAT can be a mediator between the State and the tourist providers in the area of social tourism. The members of BAAT (around 100) are tour operators and accommodation places. A long-term project of BAAT supported in 2008 by Bulgarian tourism administration is Green Lodge® - a certificate issued to guesthouses and small hotels that corresponds to ECEAT label and Eurogites criteria for sustainable tourism. There are no projects specifically designed for the target groups but BAAT is considered to have the willingness and the capacity to do this. 3. The Union for Disabled People in Bulgaria The Union for Disabled People in Bulgaria is a non-governmental organization. It represents and defends the interests of people with disabilities and their families. Created in 1989, it is a union of 377 organizations and more than 42,000 individual members. In 2008 this Union 3 provided support to 202,000 individuals. It is the most active and the biggest organization operating on a national level for the profit of disabled people. There is no organization in Bulgaria specialized in tourism for disabled people. The UDPB has tried to promote several initiatives related to tourism, but the level of involvement of the other stakeholders was not high. It will be ready to collaborate with future initiative that would improve the condition of people with disabilities. 4. Bulgarian Association of Travel Agents (BATA) BATA is a non-governmental, non-profit making organization, established in 1992 to represent and protect the economic rights and interests of tour operators and travel agents, to support and encourage their economic activities. This is an association of over 250 members. Regular members are tour operators and travel agents with long-term experience in the travel industry and proven professionalism. Affiliate members are companies and individuals, whose activities and interests are related to tourism development. BATA members generate 75% of the incoming tourism and 70% of the outgoing tourism of Bulgaria. The member companies are working actively on the Romanian, German, Greek, Russian, British, Scandinavian, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Macedonian, etc. markets. BATA has no projects for social tourism. 5. Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (BHRA) BHRA merges large and small hotels, biggest private tourist resorts, traditional, modern and some family hotels. The association has developed regional structures throughout the whole country. BHRA works with Bulgarian state and public organizations. It is in the process of developing some propositions for legislation changes, related to the tourism sector in Bulgaria. The association has already submitted its proposals to the respective public bodies. Some of the members are hotels already working with the target groups of Calypso. The capacity of the organisation is huge, and many of its members are believed to be interested in joining an international system of social tourism products offer. BHRA has over 200 regular members. 6. Bulgarian Tourism Chamber (BTC) The Bulgarian Tourism Chamber is a non-profit organization. Founded in March 1990, it groups, on a voluntary basis, national, regional and local brand organizations and councils, companies from hotel & restaurant business, tour operators and agents, companies and organizations related to tourism industry and fully capable persons. BTC performs the functions of a non-profit federal union of Bulgarian and foreign organizations (companies). BTC has over 300 members and has shown interest to participate in social tourism developments. 7. Prophylactics, Rehabilitation and Recreation JSC Prophylactics, Rehabilitation and Recreation JSC is one of the biggest state tourist organizations in Bulgaria. It encompasses 16 hotel bases situated in curative places where natural resources – mineral waters and climate – contribute to the healing process. It is ready to join any future initiatives in the social tourism field. 8. National Social Security Institute The NSSI is a public institution. Legally responsible to provide insurance, guarantees pension and benefits rights of the entitled, it provides quality customer services and manages the state social insurance funds. The National Social Security Institute (NSSI), through its regional offices, manages prophylactic and Rehabilitation Cash Benefits Use and Payment for insured and disabled people eligible to personal invalidity pension (over 70% disability and over 16 years old). In 2010, the National Social Security Institute has signed agreements with “Prophylactic, Rehabilitation and Rest” JSC activity performers. 9. The National Association for Child’s and Youth Tourism There is no separate institution in charge of the development of youth tourism in Bulgaria. In order to fill this gap, fifteen tourist companies working in the sector of youth tourism have combined their efforts and established a non-profit organization, the National Association for Child’s and Youth Tourism. NAYT organizes international, national and regional activities in the field of tourism and by providing specific informational services to its members. The Association 4 is highly committed to developing child’s and youth tourism in Bulgaria and will support any activity Calypso in this field. The association does not have any current or permanent project. 10. The National Health Insurance Fund The National Health Insurance Fund /NIHF/ is funded by National Insurance contributions. Pensions and other benefits under the National Insurance System (NIS) are paid through this fund. The NHIF carries out the mandatory health insurance in the country. Within the framework of the health protection system, it provides assistance to individuals with specific needs in health prevention and recreation. 11. East-European Association of Balneology Spa and Wellness Tourism The mission of the East-European association of balneology spa and wellness tourism is to assist strategically and practically its members to develop sustainable services and travel product in the Spa, Wellness, Balneology and Alternative Medicine Tourism. This association was created in 2008 and has 35 members so far. It is highly motivated in participating to any future developments in the social tourism field. It is considered to be a suitable stakeholder. 12. Regional Tourist Union Bulgarian Tourist Union was founded on 1895. It is a non-governmental association that promotes social tourism, more specifically active relaxation, strengthening of health, development of educational, enrichment of personality, promotion of different types and forms of tourism, mountaineering, orientation, alpinism, etc. “Social tourism” is here different from the meaning used in Calypso. BTU can be used as a stakeholder with potential, although it is not a key actor. The regional tourist unions are part of the Bulgarian Tourist Union and own 410 tourism facilities, 219 alpine huts, 26 shelters, 33 hostels, 33 chalets and 13 camping. Members of Bulgarian Tourist Union can be physical or Bulgarian juridical persons. Citizens interested in services provided by BTU can join the Union through its regional units and tourist companies. Members of Bulgarian Tourist Union take benefit from a discount: not less than 10% for the first two nights and not less than 20% after the third and every following night. Membership in Bulgarian Tourist Union must be renewed every year through the payment of an annual fee. Tourists use freely kitchens, dining rooms and other common facilities. 3.2 Segmentation profile Senior citizens User profile (socio- There are 2,200,595 pensioners in Bulgaria, including the early economic profile, retired people, according to the National Statistical Institute. Official demographic travel data refer to the 2008 Census Report. In Bulgaria, the legal habits) retirement age is 63 year old for men and 60 year old for women. The average income for a pensioner in Bulgaria is 106 euro per month (1,272 euro annually). Among the elderly people, different age groups can generally be distinguished: the “young-old” (those aged 60-74 years) and the “old-old” (those aged 75 years and over). These groups display different characteristics and are not homogenous in their needs. 576,000 persons belong to the “old-old” category (32% of the elderly) versus 1.24 million persons in the “young-old” group. Representatives of the “old-old” group prefer not to leave their homes and surroundings. The majority of the “young-old” group are more proactive and look for opportunities to rest and take holiday. The largest percentage of this group strives to combine their holiday with rehabilitation and spa-tourism. Therefore, the most desirable destinations are the former state balneological resorts. Private visits are also popular among the senior citizens because they do not cost too much and the elderly can afford a 5 to 7 days stay at their 5 relatives. Less than half of the group regularly goes hiking in the mountain. This activity was widely disseminated by the Communist government among the working people. As a result of this policy, there is a well-established network of regional tourist unions that offers tourist services in the field of hiking and trekking holidays and short trips. These services are mainly used by the “young-old” pensioners who used to travel thanks to these tourist societies. Organisation The main part of the senior citizens is interested in stays with responsible for support rehabilitation facilities. The National Health Insurance Fund is the only public body responsible for supporting this target group. Duration of stay The duration of the stay differs according to the purpose of the holiday. The rehabilitation stays last at least 10 days. Main holiday Destinations with rehabilitation services provided by balneological destinations resorts are the most desirable. For the last ten years, balneological or spa-resorts have been booming and expanding their services. The most popular destinations are the famous cultural and historical centres in Bulgaria. Natural landmarks, common hiking and trekking routes are also popular. Average spending There is no official statistical data but according to the providers of during holidays per accommodation services, the elderly spend 2.5-5 euro per day. year Holiday participation The proportion of senior citizens going on holiday is 3.6% according statistics to the census report of the National Statistical Institute. Most of them prefer private visits (22% of the senior) and balneological resorts (32.2%), while 14.7% of them go on trekking holidays. The preferred accommodation for trekking holidays is mountain huts, alpine and distant hotels, as well as guest-houses in small villages. Barriers and reasons The basic constraint for senior citizens is the lack of financial for non-participation resources. Another common problem identified is the lack of information. Senior citizens are not aware of their rights and supporting opportunities provided by the National Insurance Fund in the field of prophylaxis and health prevention. The main information channel is oral (relatives and neighbours). Young people User profile (socio- The trips of people aged 18-25 increase gradually each year. economic profile, travel habit demographics) Organisation The State organization responsible for this target group is the responsible for support Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism. The National Association for Child’s and Youth Tourism (NAYT) is an organization representing the interests of this target group and supporting the government policy in this field. NAYT supports this segment of the tourist sector by elaborating and suggesting strategies projects for the amendment of international and domestic regulations in the field of child’s and youth tourism, by organizing international, national and regional activities in the field of tourism and by providing specific informational services to its members. Duration of stay The duration of the stays depends on the aim of the holiday. Main holiday The young people going on holiday can be distributed as follows destinations according to the type of tourism they prefer: • 46.2% of people aged 18-25 go to the seaside; • 29.7% of people aged 18-25 go to SPA resorts; • 12.4% of people aged 18-25 practice balneotherapy 6 tourism; • 8.2% of people aged 18-25 practice another type of tourism; • 3.5% of people aged 18-25 visit friends or relatives; • Spa tourism is related to improving or attending to one’s physical, emotional, or spiritual relaxation, while balneological tourism is considered as travel for the purpose of curing disease, obtaining prescribed treatment for health conditions or rehabilitation. • 39.3% of the young people on holiday have attended the same resort before, while the rest 60.7% visited it for the first time. These figures set out a trend for the establishment of certain habits in the behaviour of Bulgarian young tourists. • 11.4% of the target group have used a tourist package for their trip, versus 88.6% who didn’t use any preferential tourist packages. Average spending There is no accurate statistics on the average spending during the during holidays per holidays. In general, tourists going on SPA tourism tend to have year higher average expenses compared to the rest of the tourists. Holiday participation 7.2% of the tourists going on holiday in Bulgaria are between 18 to statistics 25 years old. The representatives of this group prefer to go to the seaside rather than to the mountain. Young people at the age of 18-25 years represent: • 30.4% of the Bulgarians going on holiday; • 40.4% of the tourists going on the Bulgarian seaside; • 14.6% of the tourists going on holiday to visit their relatives; • 42.8% of the tourists going on SPA-tourism; • 7.5% of the tourists going on balneological tourism; • 28.9% of the tourists preferring other forms of tourism. Barriers and reasons The major reason identified for non-participation is low income. for non-participation Families facing difficult circumstances User profile (socio- Most of the families facing difficult circumstances in Bulgaria economic profile, travel experience two major problems: habit demographics) • Financial constraints of the family - e.g. families with one parent, disadvantaged families, etc. • Member of the family with health problems No statistics are available regarding the number of these families in the country. Families with financial problems: In Bulgaria those families are called “socially disadvantaged families”. The monthly income of a member of such family is defined by the law at around 22 euro or less. This shows that the state sets very low threshold for the income of people under which they can receive any State support. This makes it impossible for people who have income bigger than this threshold to receive any support even if they also have a very low living standard. Families with a member with health problems: Such families are usually isolated from the society. The services they can receive are insufficient and ineffective despite of the 7 existing opportunities according to the law. This target group has to solve very important problems before going in vacation. This explains why there are no statistical data regarding tourist services for this target group. Organisation The organisation responsible for support of the target group on responsible for support national level is the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The Ministry develops different policies to support individuals and families with social problems. Many organizations (foundations, charity organizations, etc) out of the State sector offer services and support families with children in a difficult social situation. The support of these organizations includes humanitarian aid, financial support for provision of education and social integration for the children. The National Social Security Institute provides financial support for health and social insured people with health problems who visit rehabilitation centers. Duration of stay The tourist services are connected with therapeutic and medicinal help for a disadvantaged member of the family. In this case, the duration of stay is directly connected with a medical prescription. The stay varies from 5 to 10 days. Not all of the tourist initiatives of the target group are financed by the National Health Insurance Fund. Some of them are financed by the target group or by foundations and charity organizations. Main holiday Main holiday destinations can be divided in two groups: destinations • Tourist destinations with low-quality services, situated in Bulgaria (close to the place where the families live) requiring less transport, subsistence costs and reachable by train, bus or walk. The destinations are connected with cultural tourism, mountain treks, camp sites (at the seaside and in the mountains), rural tourism (related with the weekend migration of the population inside the country, when people visit their friends and relatives) and visit of nature sites in Bulgaria. • Prophylactic and Rehabilitation centers in Bulgaria, very rarely abroad. In the past, these resorts were state owned but now most of them are private. Average spending The average spending during holiday per year refers to one holiday during holidays per per year in most of the cases. To go on holiday the monthly income year of a family has to be more than 255 euro. This is the reason why this target group in Bulgaria can rarely afford to go on holiday. Holiday participation Such statistic is not available. statistics Barriers and reasons For families with financial constraints, the main issue is the lack of for non-participation resources. For families with a member with health problems: • insufficient and ineffective services (not only in the tourist sector); • lack of well-equipped tourist centres and sites for such people; • financial constraints; • low standard of living; • low social integration; • medical activities are difficult to be provided. 8 Adults with disabilities User profile (socio- There is no statistics on disabled adults. The official data of the economic profile, travel National Statistical Institute from the last census says that the habit demographics) number of disabled people in Bulgaria is 450,000. According to UDPB the number is over 1,100,000. There is no official register of disabled people. The majority of the people with disabilities in Bulgaria are not integrated into the society and face a sort of isolation both in the communities they live in and in the society as a whole. Disabled people who receive social benefits can be subdivided into three groups according to the degree of disability: 1. 50-71%; 2. 71-90%; 3. Over 90%. These groups receive financial support from the State. The average income of people with disabilities differs according to the criteria of work experience: people without work experience before the disability receive monthly financial support by the State around 60 euro. People with work experience receive 60-65 % of the salary on which they were insured, according to the Social insurance code. Most of the people with disabilities do not have the possibility to travel or go on holiday. Organisation The National Social Security Institute (NSSI), through its responsible for support regional offices, is responsible for the payment of pensions and benefits to disabled people. Duration of stay 1-3 days Main holiday Disabled people in Bulgaria rarely go on holiday. The UDPB and its destinations members are the most active players in this field. They organize tours to different places in Bulgaria and abroad, though the number of such places is very small, though. In 2008-2009 the members of UNDP have organized visits to 13 places in Bulgaria. Most of the places are related to the history of Bulgaria, famous people and contemporary heritage. Average spending Official statistics are not available. The observations of UNDP are during holidays per that the average price of the excursions organised by its members year in the country is around 30 euro and around 100 euro abroad. Those trips are usually sponsored. The sponsors are mainly municipalities and private companies. If people pay themselves, there are very big discounts and very often the transport is free, ensured by the municipality or other organisations. Holiday participation No official statistics is available. statistics Barriers and reasons There is a good legislative basis concerning disabled people but for non-participation practically there are no good mechanisms to coordinate and control. As a consequence, the conditions for tourism of people with disabilities are very bad. The main barriers for non-participation of target groups in social tourism in Bulgaria are the lack of adapted facilities and financial constraints. There are very few hotels that are adapted for disabled people. In addition, there is the psychological barrier of people with disabilities to leave their surroundings. 9 3.3 Existing support systems and/or mechanisms • Senior citizens Concerning activities related to recreation, the main public support for senior citizens is provided within the framework of Public Health Insurance system. The funding is provided by the National Insurance Fund. Public funding is granted if senior citizens provide medical referral for hospitalization on a clinical path in the field of physiotherapy and rehabilitation. The medical referral is issued from the general practitioner of the patient. There are currently 9 clinical paths for physiotherapy and rehabilitation. The National Health Insurance Fund provides financial support up to 60 % of the overall expenditures for physiotherapy and rehabilitation of the patient including accommodation, medical procedures and catering. Another requirement is that the medical institution chosen for physiotherapy and rehabilitation has signed a contract with the National Health Insurance Fund for providing the services included in the clinical path. There is no state subsidy mechanism facilitating other forms of tourism for senior citizens. Basically the support activities are provided by non-profit organizations and/or under the framework of different European projects in the field of social inclusion of the elderly. For that reason support activities are isolated instances. Moreover lower prices for this target group, in particular, are offered by providers of accommodation or logistic services. • Young people According to Regulation № 2 for the organization and conduction of children’s and student’s recreation and tourism of the Ministry of Education, adopted in 1997, the organized children’s and students’ recreation and tourism are funded by the State through the budget of the Ministry of Education and other ministries and public bodies, from municipal budgets and from private or own resources. • Families facing difficult social circumstances Bulgarian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy develops and implements different schemes for support of individual persons and families with social problems. Many organizations out of the public sector offer services and support families with children in disadvantaged social situation. These are foundations, charity organizations, etc. The support of these organizations includes humanitarian aid, financial support for provision of education and social integration for the children. The National Social Security Institute (NSSI) through its regional offices financially supports prophylactic and rehabilitation on “Prophylactic and Rehabilitation Cash Benefits Use” and provides payments for socially insured people. In general, these are employed people for whom insurance payments have been paid or due by their employer. This scheme provides funding for the stays in recreation centres for sanatorium treatment, including for members of the families of the insured person undergoing the treatment. For 2010, NSSI has contracted “Prophylactics, rehabilitation and recreation” JSC, regulating the list of hotels that will be used in this scheme – 19 hotels and recreation centres, owned by NSSI. For 2010 the budget is cut to 6.6 million euro. Some general financial support measures for mothers are envisaged in the Law on Family Allowances for Children, such as one-off payments, monthly payments and some targeted payment, all of them being very low in amount. The Law plans as well a targeted allowance for mothers of 3 and more children over 1 year-old for free of charge travelling with the railway and the bus transport in the country – two-way once a year. Very small numbers of companies provide a sort of holiday vouchers for their employees. The vouchers are only valid in the holiday homes that belong to the company and offer discounts for the employees of the company. During the socialist period in Bulgaria most of the factories, plants, institutions and organizations had holiday homes. There the employees together with their families spent their summer or winter holidays. Part of the costs of these holidays was paid by the organization-employer. After the transition from socialism to capitalism, the situation of these holiday homes changed. Because of the bad situation of the economy, the biggest part of these facilities was dilapidated. Later, some of them were privatized and renovated but they cannot be real competitors to the modern tourist bases. 10 Now there are few holiday homes still working. The categories are not more than 3 stars. They host not only employees of the owning company but also other people, so that they can stay economically efficient and keep existing. The other guests of the holiday homes do not offer any discounts. But this type of funding is usual for developed organisations, which means that their employees are rarely members of families facing difficult social circumstances in its broad meaning. • Adults with disabilities There is no additional support for people with disabilities. The financial support is provided in three ways: 1) by the State; 2) by means of international projects; 3) by sponsorship. The financial support from the State is not big; the project initiatives are not many; sponsorship is very small. Social care benefits for travel are given to disabled people depending on the degree of disability. For people with 50-70% disability there is a monthly support for local transport at the amount of BGN 9.75 (around 5 euro) and a free vignette for a car. People with 71- 90 % disability are also given the right to 2 travels by train and 2 travels by bus, all over the country, but not abroad. However, people have to finance the travel with their own resources and then attach the payment documents to the application for social support. People with disability over 90% receive also BGN 195 (around 100 euro) for balneological treatment once a year. 3.4 Demand drivers Senior citizens Constraints Generally financial difficulties are the main constraints for seniors. The vast majority of the seniors go accompanied on holiday and the lack of financial support for travelling companion is another problem for them. Needs and expectations Senior citizens are interested in some kind of quiet and passive in terms of destination holiday. Types of The most commonly used accommodation facilities are: accommodation • sanatoriums; • rehabilitation centres; • guest houses and/or hotels with 2 or 3 stars Activities The target group of seniors consider as an advantage resorts with natural landmarks and eco-routes nearby. Therefore the most popular activities are walking, trekking and rehabilitation activities. Specific equipment No data available Sensitivity to price They prefer low-priced stays. Seasonality aspects Preferred season starts from April until November. The preferred months are determined by the assumption that the medical procedures should be done within the warm part of the year. Young people Constraints The main constraints for this target group are financial. Recent researches show that the monthly income per family needs to be at least 255 euro in order for the family to be able to afford to go on holiday at the Bulgarian seaside for example. Needs and expectations The tendency for individual trips is characterized by a search of in terms of destination unique experiences and there are two main parameters. One is the existence of a large information base for the proposed destination. The other is a very good infrastructure inside the country, which could provide unimpeded access to various tourist attractions. Another trend among young people is to travel in shorter distances, but to make more frequent trips. 11 Types of This target group uses predominantly the possibilities for accommodation accommodation in hotels and private rooms, and only after that the accommodation at friends or family house, in holiday houses, their own summer house, tent/ large flat vessel, hut or other. Activities Demand for authentic experiences, including immersion in local culture and closeness to nature is a priority especially among the older of them. They have increasing interest in healthier lifestyles as well. Specific equipment No data available. Sensitivity to price There is a trend among this target group to look for the “best deal”. The major pressure put on travel agents and companies that offer tourist services concern the price. Most profitable are the companies offering alternatives to mass tourism at competitive prices. There is also requirement for individualization of trips, to which tourism operators have answered with the introduction of the service "do-it-yourself". This service is based on low-price airfares. Seasonality aspects Most people plan their holiday approximately one month before the holiday. The cases of spontaneous holiday decisions are uncommon and rarer are the cases of planning 2-3 months beforehand. Most young people prefer to go to the seaside in the summer and to the mountain in the winter. Families facing difficult circumstances Constraints The constraints for this target group are financial (lack of income), lack of adequate facilities for members of the family with health problems (during the stay and connected with the accessibility of the tourist sites), social (the society ignores them). Needs and expectations There is no research about the desired tourist destination among in terms of destination this target group. Types of The preferred type of accommodation facilities are: accommodation • hotels with at least 2 or 3 stars; • sanatoriums; • rehabilitation centres; • camping; • private rented accommodations. Activities The preferred activities are sport activities, visit of cultural, historical and natural sites, recreation activities, prophylactics and rehabilitation. Specific equipment The needed specific equipment is related with families with a member with health problems. The equipment depends on the different types of problems (injured sight, hearing; problems with muscular apparatus; internal diseases, etc.) Sensitivity to price The target group is very sensitive to the price. They prefer lower prices. Seasonality aspects The peak of the tourist season starts at the beginning of spring until the end of autumn, but the target group would go on holiday during the off-season as well. Adults with disabilities Constraints • Financial constraints: Disabled people have very low income (around 60 euro), which is of course a barrier for people to afford travels and holidays. • Social constraints: Lack of understanding and tolerance on the part of society. People with disabilities consider that society ignores them. 12 Common opinion is that the quality of life/integration of people with disabilities requires most of all ensuring acceptance in society and access to environment. • Accessibility: The physical environment is inaccessible and hostile to people with disabilities. This is a critical problem for disabled people in Bulgaria. The inaccessibility is in terms of: - Transport: most of the local transport system is out- dated and not adapted for people with specific needs. - Inaccessible infrastructure: sidewalks are usually not adapted for people with disabilities, many entrances of administrative buildings and living blocks of flats, chemistries’, etc. do not take into consideration the needs of disabled people. - Inaccessible cultural objects. Needs and expectations There is no statistics available. in terms of destination Types of There is a real need to adjust hotels and accommodation places to accommodation the special needs of disabled people in Bulgaria Activities Rehabilitation activities, sightseeing, walk in nature, sports activities, and cultural activities. Specific equipment Facilities adapted for wheelchairs, adjusted buses and trains, adjusted accommodation places. Sensitivity to price Low-priced holidays would be appropriate due to the lack of financial resources. Seasonality aspects Preferred seasons for holidays are spring, summer and autumn. Winter is not attractive due to increased problems of mobility (access to transport, rain and snow), and also health issues. 4. ANALYSIS OF THE TOURISM SECTOR 4.1 Market trends Bulgaria is a destination with attractive prices, suitable for family tourism, individual travels and rest for senior people, mainly for seaside and mountain holidays. International tourism in Bulgaria has been characterised by an increase of the number of foreign tourists in recent years. In 2007 Bulgaria has been visited by 5,151,238 tourists, by 11,802,017 tourists in 2008, and by 8,966,020 tourists in 2009. The EU countries continue to be the main providers for international tourism in Bulgaria, with a relative share of 72.5%. The interest of countries that traditionally choose Bulgaria as a tourist destination (Poland, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Hungary) has increased. Romania and Portugal also tend to increase their interest in Bulgaria. Interest is also shown by Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, and Greece. According to the European Commission of Tourism, Bulgaria occupied the 20th place among the European tourist destinations for 2007. The fast privatisation during the previous years in Bulgaria and the investments in a modern tourist infrastructure created practically a totally private tourist industry in Bulgaria, offering a modern accommodation base, attractions and services. Unfortunately the increased number of tourists in Bulgaria is characterised by high territory dependence and seasonal aspect – 70% of the activities are concentrated on less than 5% of the territory of the country with high seasonal fluctuations – summer and winter being the most active. Bulgaria has remarkable natural, cultural and historical resources for development of specialised types of tourism, which is a precondition for change in the image of Bulgaria as a mass tourism 13 destination, and will cope with the seasonality. Such opportunities are rural and eco-tourism, cultural tourism, spa and balneotherapy tourism, wine tourism, etc. 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 revitalise some of the poorest regions of the country. During the last years, a lot of new small businesses appeared in rural areas, like family owned hotels, guest houses or sports clubs. Buying property in Bulgarian villages and small towns was 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 old fashion management. The development and growth of tourism are related to Bulgarian business. However there is a need of strong governmental support to develop tourism. During Communist period, some forms of social tourism existed and benefited by employees of factories, enterprises, etc. The employees could go on holidays with their families, part of the holiday being financed by the employer. At that time, foreign travel was under special supervision and only allowed to privileged people. Still there were exchanges of youth between socialist countries. The policy to disabled people was not developed at all in the past. Nowadays, there is a good legislative basis and policy for disabled people, but practice is lagging behind. The notion of “social tourism” is not really known in Bulgaria. There are some scarce practices but there is still a lot to do. 4.2 Supply of services There is hardly any tourist products specifically designed for the target groups of social tourism in Bulgaria, but there is a huge potential in terms of resources to develop social tourism. All interviewed representatives of the tourism industry believe that the initiative should come from the State or the non-governmental sector. The balneological tourism is one of the tourist products in the country. There are over 10 hotels of high category that offer high quality balneological products and many resorts with mineral waters, curative mud and curative climate. With the increase of the number of customers, Bulgarian balneological tourism needs investments in the renovation of the hotel bases. Last statistics available show that there are over 30 mineral waters resorts in the country. Other products relevant to seniors and families in difficult financial conditions are hiking and trekking products, which perfectly fit with their financial constraints. Camping places, SPA resorts and Seaside resorts offer different accommodation places (private and hotel based) appropriate for youth or families with low income. Prophylactic and rehabilitation centres, mineral waters resorts, and Black sea resorts with curative mud offer products matching disabled people need. Unfortunately, there are no particular services and products in the country that are specifically designed for disabled people. Tourist agencies do not offer separate packages for people with disabilities. Some social care benefits for travel are given to disabled people (depending on the degree of disability), and concern only travels within the country, not abroad. The capacity to meet the needs of disabled people is very low. Buses are not adapted, and only the morning train at central railway station is adapted to disabled people. Airlines are currently the only means of transport that offer satisfactory facilities for disabled people. Most buildings and hotels do not meet the requirements for disabled people but they can be adapted. This process needs to be activated in the country. There is a real need to raise awareness both in the public and in the private sectors. There are not many funding opportunities available for investments in hotels. European funded rural development program should be provided to small hotels and guesthouses only if these facilities are accessible to disabled people. Tourist agencies offer a wide range of possibilities for mass tourism during summer and winter. Big agencies usually work with standardized products, while smaller organisations offer tailor 14 made products as well. There is a rising tendency for individualized products. Airlines sometimes offer discounts for the youth and sometimes seniors, but not for disabled or socially disadvantaged people. There are no annual discount programs, but mainly occasional promotions. Regarding bus excursions, when the whole package is organised by travel agencies, some discounts can be made, thanks, again, to the flexibility of smaller agencies. Bulgarian railways offer discounts for families, the biggest discounts being for the families of their employees. Seniors also use 50% discount for travelling with railways. This discount is only valid for Bulgarian citizens. During off-season holidays, or for early bookings, customers may use discounts. However, there are no regulated thresholds; all depends on the negotiated conditions. Nevertheless, unofficially, regarding early bookings, a discount of 10-20% is reasonable; for off-season holiday a discount of 30-50% can be made. Off-season discounts are more applicable to mountain resorts as most of the seaside hotels do not work off-season due to lack of customers. SPA hotels are open during the whole year and discounts are usually low. All hotels offer discounts for families with children. Usually, children under 12 years pay 50% of the price for an adult. Very often, the accommodation for the second child is free of charge. 4.3 Supply of services from a European point of view The supply of products and services in social tourism in Bulgaria specifically designed for the target groups of Calypso is rather limited. On the other hand many of the existing tourist services in general can be appropriate for European population from the four target groups. There are balneological products of very good quality in the different resorts suitable for senior people, and people who experience some disability or health discomfort. The product is not characterised by peak seasons, it is available and exploited during the whole year. Prophylactics and rehabilitation centres are also appropriate for any person who experiences some kind of health discomfort, but they are managed by the State and are currently national products offered to Bulgarian people. When asked for the transferability of these products to European level, Rehabilitation and Prophylactics organizations indicate willingness for European collaboration but emphasize the fact that this would happen only through contracts with the Social Ministry in Bulgaria. Mass tourism represented by seaside and winter resorts offers different opportunities for the target groups as far as the relatively cheap price level in Bulgaria in comparison to other European countries is concerned. Alternative tourism in all its forms, mainly rural and mountain tourism, can also offer products suitable to other Europeans from the target groups on a very reasonable price. The problems that may hinder social tourism in Bulgaria are related to the accessibility of transport and the facilities in hotels for senior and disabled people. To adapt hotels and most of the transportation network, investments are needed and have to be supported by the State or European Funds. 4.4 Sustainable tourism aspects Bulgaria has experienced tourism growth in recent years and therefore the Bulgarian government has announced the sustainable tourism as a priority of national importance. As a result, a National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism Development for the years 2009 to 2013 was elaborated. Nevertheless, efforts of the Government to develop responsible tourism have remained in the sphere of policy making and elaboration of strategic documents. Municipalities and entrepreneurs have shown on the contrary more interest in the different forms of sustainable tourism. For the last ten years, a large number of projects have been implemented in Bulgaria, aiming at the development of alternative and eco-tourism, since both are considered to be the basic forms of the sustainable tourism. The projects have been implemented with the financial support of the European Pre-accession and Structural Funds. More than 33% of the territory of Bulgaria is included within Natura 2000 network. Bulgaria also has three National Parks – Rila, Pirin and Central Balkans. They belong to the state, and are 15 managed and administered by Directorates, operating under the Ministry of Environment and Waters. Management Plans for Rila and Central Balkan are the first modern conservation management documents of their kind in the Balkans. These parks have borders with 24 municipalities of 600,000 people overall (approximately 7.5% of Bulgaria’s population). Green Lodge® is a long-term project of the Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism (BAAT) supported in 2008 by Bulgarian tourism administration. It is a certificate issued to guesthouses and small hotels that corresponds to ECEAT label and Eurogites criteria for sustainable tourism. Hosts of these houses are local people who have special interests into local nature and culture. They guide tourists to interesting sites and events in the surroundings and enrich the tourist experience. Such “green houses” are located in small towns and villages in the rural areas. 4.5 Feasibility of social tourism Tourist industry in Bulgaria has been well operating. However, it is mainly based on mass tourism. Social tourism in terms of Calypso has a biggest potential if it is developed during off- season, bearing in mind the financial constraints of the target groups. In this respect, the number of stakeholders increases, as tourist organisations and hotels would be interested to extend their seasons. Generally speaking, most interested stakeholders are currently the various non-governmental organisations working in this field. Tourist operators are rather passive, though when asked all of them have a positive attitude about the development of social tourism and are willing to participate to the implementation of a programme. All interviewed hotels and tourist organisations show interest in joining an international tourist portal. Many of the interviewees believe that awareness raising campaign of existing possibilities among the target groups and the stakeholders has to be made, as the lack of awareness is a major constraint. All interviewees believe that the major barrier to develop social tourism is the lack of public grants. They also believe that this kind of tourism can only be developed with a strong government support. They also raise the point that it should be done in collaboration with NGOs. 5. LEGISLATIVE PERSPECTIVES The Law on Tourism, which handles management and control measures in the tourism field, regulates tourism sector in Bulgaria. The notion of “Social tourism” is legally defined in another legal act – the Law on Physical Education and Sports. According to this definition, it is a form of outdoor physical activity improving physical working capacity and emotionally enriching through organization of leisure time, recreation, rest and physical rehabilitation of citizens. In compliance with the provisions of the law, social tourism shall be supported and encouraged by the state and municipalities, which create and maintain recreation areas, health paths, sports grounds and appropriate infrastructure as mountain huts, camp sites and shelters. Such facilities are available along few walking paths in the Bulgarian mountains, some of it being funded under European projects and programs. The Minister of Education, Youth and Science shall define the mandatory requirements for carrying out youth tourism organized by educational institutions and supportive bodies. Furthermore, pursuant to the Law on Physical Education and Sports, employers can provide infrastructures for sports and social tourism. Tourist associations also administer social tourism through organizing tourism activities, managing tourist huts, houses and dormitories, promoting eco-tourism and contributing to environment protection. On a legal perspective, although there is a set of legal framework (outlined above) and a definition of “social tourism” more needs to be done on establishing the concrete mechanism that should sustain these projects. 16 A regulation from national legislation establishes a restriction on tourism opportunities for one target group. Indeed, according to the Regulation for Implementation of the Law on Social Support, individuals and families who have a monthly income is lower than a defined threshold are entitled to public financial support under particular circumstances and conditions. One of the conditions however is that entitled people shouldn’t have travelled abroad on own expenses over the past 12 months prior to applying for public financial support (art. 11, par. 7 from the Regulation for Implementation of the Law on Social Support). The only justified exclusion from that rule is travelling abroad on purpose of medical treatment or on occasion of death of a family member. This legislative provision directly restricts any travel abroad of socially disadvantaged people with low income, receiving financial support from the state. There are cases in which people relying on public financial support cannot get advantage of even one-day travels abroad to neighbour countries at a very low price, and are prevented from having an international experience. 6. DEVELOPMENT OF PRODUCTS FOR SOCIAL TOURISM The development of concrete products for supporting social tourism has to take into account all challenges and opportunities for future development. Main challenges for social tourism in Bulgaria: • There is no wide-scale analysis or research on the needs of the target groups related to social tourism. The demand is therefore not defined properly. • Target groups have very low income and cannot afford self-financed tours or holidays. • Target groups are generally unaware of European practices. • No government support for the target groups, except the financial support regulated in Acts and decrees. There is a general lack of commitment from the government, and no systematic measures in relation to the target groups. • Social tourism is a very new and unexplored field in Bulgaria. • No unified policy and vision of the stakeholders, even amongst associations • Limited cooperation with EU organisations as a whole. • Limited exchanges and involvement in EU programs and initiatives (only “Youth in Action” initiatives). • Lack of financial resources for renovation of existing facilities that could be appropriate for the target groups. On the other hand, there is a real potential in terms of resources. Many balneological and seaside resorts are appropriate to the different target groups. Rural, eco and mountain tourism are also opportunities that can be used for the development of social tourism, regarding the low costs required. Structures already exist, such as different associations in Bulgaria with hundreds of members, who are willing to be involved in the development of social tourism. The demand supply gap in terms of social tourism is huge. Almost nothing is done to offer tourism opportunities to target groups other than standardised products. Social tourism is not developed at all, the majority of people are not aware of what it refers to. The demand is not defined properly as stakeholders and target groups are not aware of the existence of such opportunities. This situation is not expected to really change in the near future, unless good practices or initiatives from Europe are disseminated in the country and, most of all, if there is no Government support in terms of policies and measures. One of the main recommendations expressed by interviewees was the promotion and marketing of social tourism and practices at a national scale. Both stakeholders and target groups have to become aware of existing opportunities. Massive awareness raising campaigns are needed in order to remove information barriers and promote positive attitude towards target groups and social tourism. 17 All stakeholders indicated that financial support has to be ensured by Government or by any funding mechanism. All interviewees suggested that the initiative should come from stakeholders outside the tourist industry and tourist operators would respond and support it. Other recommendations concerned the training of staff in tourism industry. Improvement is needed in terms of animation and guiding. A very interesting recommendation that deserves consideration was directed towards the business. It concerned the conduction of campaigns by big corporations to support target groups, in order to show that organisations are socially responsible. It shows social corporate responsibility, it is also a mechanism to raise awareness, and a way to attract funding for social tourism. 18 7. WEB PORTALS This website provides information about Bulgaria: basic data about the country, Bulgarian landmarks, history, culture and tradition. It offers interesting destinations, transport and telecommunications. It http://www.bulgariatravel.org/eng/index.php shows tourism diversity in terms of sea recreation, cultural tours and rural tourism, skiing, congress and business, balneological, SPA and wellness, ecotourism, etc. This is a website which gives information on the history and culture of Bulgaria, the http://www.bulgarian- climate, historical monuments and natural tourism.com/new/index.htmhttp://www.discover- landmarks. It offers many sea, mountain, bulgaria.com/ and SPA resorts, destinations for eco and rural tourism. The visitors can also see useful links and travel agencies. This is a popular site enabling the booking and/or the buying of tourism products. It suggests tickets, hotels, holidays and http://www.posoka.com excursions in Bulgaria and abroad, showing also the prices of organised travels. 19 ANNEXES 20 LIST OF INTERVIEWEES Name of the Position Organisation Type of Interview date interviewee organisation Mr. Kotsev Chairperson Union for NGO 05.02.2010 Disabled People in Bulgaria (UDPB) Petya Miteva Senior expert Union for NGO 09.02.2010 Information Disabled People service in Bulgaria (UDPB) Vanja Ninovska Managing Via Terra Ltd. Tour Agency 09.02.2010 Director Elena Anastasova Coordinator ‘Zaedno– NGO 10.02.2010 Communication for Support and Development' Foundation Mr. Jordanov Manager of Bulgarian Non- 11.02.2010 Department Tourist Union government, Chalets Non-profit Mrs. Miroslava Managing Advantis Travel Private, Profit, 12.02.2010 Tacheva Director Ltd. Travel agency Kiril Kaloyanov Secretary Bulgarian NGO 12.02.2010 Association for Alternative Tourism Mrs. Gina Shoeva President National Association 12.02.2010 Association for Child’s and Youth Tourism Adriana Yotova Tourist expert Sim Travels Ltd. Tour Operator 12.02.2010 Tanya Lazarova Tour operator Hadji Tour Travel agency 15.02.20110 and manager Blagoevgrad Ltd Mr. Karov Managing Specialized Specialized Director Rehabilitation Rehabilitation Doctor in charge Hospitals – Hospital National Center Jsc, branch Banite, Smolyan Region Mrs. Svidna Managing Loyal Travel Ltd. Travel Agency 19.02.2010 Dineva Director Petko Ivanov Vice Director Smart Travel Travel Agency 22.02.2010 Yulian Stoyanov Expert Prophylactics, State enterprise 25.02.2010 rehabilitation and Recreation JSC. Rumiana Popova Secretary Bulgarian Hotel Association 25.02.2010 and Restaurant Association Plamena Consultant ESH Study Travel agency, 25.02.2010 Stoyanova Abroad, as member of BATA representative of BATA Cvety Milanova Director East-European NGO 05.03.2010 Association of Balneology Spa and Wellness 21 Tourism LIST OF DOCUMENTS • Analysis of the situation of people with disabilities in Bulgaria, Complex analytical report, Project BG 2006/018-343.05.01, “SKG – Club 2000 – BP” Alliance, June 2009 • Strategy for development of services for children and families in Sofia, 2003-2005, Project “Reform for Improving the well-being of children in Bulgaria”, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy • Social Benefits Act, Republic of Bulgaria • Physical Exercise and Sports Act, Republic of Bulgaria • Integration of People with Disabilities Act, Republic of Bulgaria • Strategy for the development of Physical Exercise and Sports Act 2006-2010, Republic of Bulgaria • Tourism Act, Republic of Bulgaria • National Strategy for Sustainable Development of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria 2009-2013, Council of Ministers and State Agency for Tourism • Summer Vacation of Bulgarian Citizens, State Agency for Tourism, 2008 • Foreign Visits in Bulgaria, State Agency for Tourism, 2008 • Tourist Trips of Bulgarian Residents, Third Quarter 2009, National Statistical Institute • Research on Foreign visits in Bulgaria and Travels of Bulgarians in the country, summer 2009, National Statistical Institute • www.nsi.bg – National Statistical Institute 22 GOOD PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS Lukoil social policy and health care for pensioners Name of the expert Stefka Mihova conducting research Country Bulgaria Respondents/informants Burgas Mineralni Bani Prophylactic Complex, Burgas District Target group involved: Senior citizens early retired. Pensioners need to meet the following eligibility criteria: 1. The person has not used the services of the Specialized Rehabilitation Hospital for one year; 2. The person has been an employee of Lukoil Jsc. for more than 10 years and had retired there; 3. The person has been registered in Pensioners’ and Veteran’s Club for pensioners in Burgas (municipal public organisation). Description of exchange: Lukoil Jsc. Company has contracted the BMB Prophylactic Complex in order to provide their pensioners with specialised healthcare of acquired professional diseases. The BMB Prophylactic Complex is a highly specialized facility providing primary and secondary physioprophylaxis comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation. There are indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tangentor bathtubs, balneo and pelotherapy facilities. The Complex is situated in a famous balneo-resort. Hydrothermal resources, along with the sea-climate represent indispensable therapeutic, health enhancing and recreation factors. The holiday is all-inclusive and includes accommodation, prescribed medical procedures and diet. The duration of the stay is not less than 10 days. The preferred time for holidays is off-season – spring and autumn. In this way Lukoil Jsc. supports more than 1 000 seniors in Burgas region on annual basis. Handling of target group The social policy of Lucoil Jsc. aims at providing their former and needs: current employees with services in rehabilitation and prevention. Their social partners are the Bulgarian petroleum employees union and the Veterans’ Club for pensioners in Burgas. The BMB Prophylactic Complex has highly qualified healthcare professionals with special medical education, with rich experience and trained to work with good modern equipment. All types of procedures associated with the disease profile are delivered by approved treatment protocols. Description of support The social partner of Lukoil Jsc. in the organisation of holidays and mechanisms selection of participants is the regional Pensioners’ Club. The selection is centralised and the Managing Body of the Veterans’ Club for pensioners evaluates the applicants. Description of funding There is no public support. Services provided by BMB mechanisms: Prophylactorium Complex are free of charge for the target group. Lukoil Jsc. covers all costs including accommodation, three medical procedures per day and catering. Travel costs and resort fees are not reimbursable, the resort fee being around 1 EUR a day. Lessons learned The presented good practice is an interesting mechanism for financial support of senior citizens and meets their needs in recreation and professional disease treatment. It would be possible to develop a strategy for a tourist exchange supported by organizations similar to the ones participating in this funding 23 mechanism. Organisations from different towns or villages may create exchange opportunities for seniors from different regions. The collaboration could be between different enterprises or between an enterprise and an NGO, etc. Transferring this initiative on international level would not be easy, as it would be difficult to identify the relevant stakeholders. Dosed tourism Name of the expert Teodora Nedkova conducting research Country Bulgaria Respondents/informants Union for Disabled People in Bulgaria (UDPB) Mr. Kotsev Chairperson Target group involved: Target groups are people with disabilities. There is no restriction (regarding the kind of disability or any other criteria). Description of exchange: One very successful activity in the recent years is the so called “dosed tourism”. Those are excursions organised by UDPB’s members. People travelling are people with disabilities who become members of the organisations (or volunteer assistants) and pay membership, used to finance similar initiatives. Below are examples from 2008-2009: 1) Excursions with educational purpose: 1 to 3 days to cultural and historical monuments in Bulgaria, places related to famous people, etc. Often those excursions are devoted to anniversaries (of UNDP and other national events). 2) Mixed excursions: Those are organised with educational purpose, combined with meetings and exchange of experience between non-governmental organisations, sports or art activities, trainings (travelling seminars), humanitarian purposes. The visiting places are again cultural and historical ones, seaside resorts, monasteries, carnivals. The exchange of experience is usually related to the achievements in the defence of people with disabilities’ rights. The travelling seminars are being devoted to the novelties in the norms and Acts, social services and other concrete topics. Humanitarian excursions aim at visiting different social houses for people with disabilities and making donations. These are usually organised in different holidays. Often the meetings between the organisations are accompanied with performances of their choirs, sports activities and other initiatives. The UDPB has organised many national projects through training seminars in the whole country at places that are strategic to tourism. The training is always combined with visits of interesting places. 3) Excursions abroad – with educational purpose, combined with exchange of experience with similar organisations, aiming at awareness rising about European institutions and practices. Those excursions are not many. The major destinations are Greece, Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Belgium, and Turkey. 24 4) Traditional excursions: traditional national tourist gathering in the Rhodopean mountain, anniversary gatherings, folklore festivals, walks in the mountain, combined with seminars on topical issues, songs, music and dances, cooking in the air, sports and tourist holidays with entertainment, quizzes and awards. Handling of target group The members of UDPB organise the tours and provide volunteers needs: to support people with disabilities. Description of support UDPB’s members interact with municipalities that generally provide mechanisms free transport for the tours organised. Some organisations have their own buses to ensure people’s transportation. UDPB ensures big discounts for accommodation as well. Description of funding Sponsorships, own funds of the UDPB’s members. mechanisms: Lessons learned Besides the fact that dosed tourism has proved to really benefit the target groups, one of the main lessons learnt is that the most successful and useful excursions are the ones involving exchange of experience with other organisations and people. The practice also proved that excursions have a greater impact when they combine a cultural and an entertainment aspect: sports and art activities, quizzes, music, etc. Mixed excursions are more and more popular as they ensure diversity and are very precious for future developments and activities of the stakeholders. “Prophylactic and Rehabilitation Cash Benefits Use” Name of the expert Katya Sarbova conducting research Country Bulgaria Respondents/informants National Social Security Institute NSSI- HEAD OFFICE 62-64 Al. Stambolijsky Bul. Sofia1303 Noi@nssi.bg Target group involved: Adults with disabilities or other health problems (and Families facing difficult circumstances as support for their member with health problems). The National Social Security Institute (NSSI), through its regional offices, funds the balneological treatment in the framework of rehabilitation on the “Prophylactic and Rehabilitation Cash Benefits Use” program for the following individuals: 1. Insured for all social security risks; 2. Insured for all social security risks except accidents at work and professional disease and unemployment; 3. Insured for all social security risks except unemployment; 4. Insured for invalidity, old age, decease and accidents at work and professional disease, in case of accident at work and professional disease only; 5. People eligible to personal invalidity pension need to meet the following conditions: they have not completed the age for retirement, they are not insured and the decision of the Regional Medical Expert Commission is still valid. 25 Description of exchange: The exchange is local and/or regional. The National Social Security Institute (NSSI), through its regional offices, realizes the activity on prophylactic and rehabilitation under Regulation № 1 of February 13th, 2007 on Prophylactic and Rehabilitation Cash Benefits Use and Payment (Promulgated in State Gazette, number 17, 2007 for the determined contingent of persons. Persons are eligible to one-time cash grant per annum for prophylactic and rehabilitation for stay duration from 10 to 15 days. When reservations for the possible sanatoriums are made, participants should be made aware of: 1. Conditions and sequence of balneological treatments to follow in order to obtain financial support 2. Treated diseases and contra-indications for medical treatment at the chosen balneological resort, as doctors only prescribe a type of treatment and do not suggest exact sanatorium or prophylactic and rehabilitation center. The peak season is during the summer and winter holidays, where more people can manage to go to such places with their families. But during the rest of the year, some people go there as well. Necessary documents in order to issue a certificate on prophylactic and rehabilitation cash grant use: 1. Medical direction issued by a general practitioner. Medical direction should be issued not earlier than 30 calendar days before entry date at the respective prophylactic and rehabilitation activity performer. 2. Identity card. 3. Standard document certifying person’s insurance rights. 4. Personal ambulatory card and/or medical documentation, certifying person’s present and past health condition –medical diagnoses, check-up, photographs, electrocardiograms and other documents according to the specific case. 5. People with permanent reduced work capacity of 50% and over 50 % have to produce an expert decision proving their condition. 6. Victims of work accident need to produce the decision on the recognized work accident. 7. People with professional disease need to produce an expert decision on professional disease reeducational issued by the Territorial Medical Expert Commission or by the National Medical Expert Commission. Handling of target group - Accessibility, needs: - Social support - Psychological support. Description of support Involved steak-holders are NSSI, 52 prophylactic and rehabilitation mechanisms activity performers, Specialized Rehabilitation Hospitals, Military Medicine Academies, several hotels and resort complexes. These centres have signed a contract with NSSI for provision of rehabilitation services to the pointed target groups. This programme plans a budget of EUR 6.6 mln. for 2010, which will be sufficient for the stay of around 32 000 people. In 2009 the funding for the programme was EUR 13.24 mln. and 57 490 people benefited from the programme. From 2010, the NSSI programme “Prophylactic and Rehabilitation Cash Benefits Use” will only fund stays in NSSI owned bases (19 holiday homes owned by the legal entity „Prophylactic, Rehabilitation and recreation” JSC). Due to the actual crisis activities under the described programme will be conducted in companies owned by NSSI. In 2009, 64 hotels 26 and holiday bases (some of them owned by private companies) worked under this programme and had contracts with NSSI. “Prophylactic, Rehabilitation and recreation” JSC is the public company owning this kind of facilities. Part of the facilities and bases of the company are far from the standard of luxury resorts and hotels located at the seaside and in the mountains. They require an important renovation. However, NSSI programme managed to fill and use these facilities. Description of funding Funding is provided by the state, through the NSSI. The institute mechanisms: pays a part of the costs for each stay of the beneficiary. The cash amount granted for each eligible person includes: 1. Resources for no more than 5 basic diagnostics and therapeutic procedures per diem (including medical examinations and check- up); therapeutic procedures and basic diagnostics are totally granted by NSSI. 2. Resources for a night’s lodging. Prices are determined according to the agreement between NSSI and legal entities; the accommodation is totally granted by NSSI; 3. Partial nutrition cash grant of EUR 2.5 per diem. For entry and leaving days, the National Social Security Institute pays EUR 2.5 of partial nutrition cash grant. Beneficiary covers the rest of the costs. Lessons learned This practice works since 2007. During this period, the financial support and the number of recreation centres that have signed a contract with the NSSI for this programme have increased. This proves how well this working and shows that beneficiaries are using it. There are no favoured categories among the ones listed above who can use the described services funded by NSSI. In 2009, 57 940 people used this programme. Though the programme is working very well, its budget for 2010 will be reduced because of the crisis in Bulgaria. From 2010, the programme will only fund the stays in NSSI owned bases, as they cost less. Thus, NSSI will try to cope with the small budget and to allow more people to use opportunities for cheaper rehabilitation and/or prophylactic.