6. Priority development of cultural tourism

The proposed in the MP guidelines conform to the good international practices in the field of cultural tourism. Considering the problems in the present state of tourism in the property is quite obvious the necessity of its future strategic re-orientation to priority development of a modern cultural tourism. For the sake of that the MP accepts the recommendation of the 34th and 35th sessions of the World Heritage Committee for the establishment of “integrated multi-institutional tourism strategy” and proposes the following guidelines for transition from the present uncontrolled and seasonal tourism to the priority development of modern sustainable all-year cultural tourism, corresponding to the outstanding universal value of the property and interrelated with other forms of tourism.

Defining of the cultural tourism product “Ancient City of Nessebar – World heritage”, whose main components are:

  • Heritage sites with contribution to the outstanding universal value of “The Ancient City of Nessebar”, interpreted as complete tourist products, comprehensible and open to the public;

  • Tourist infrastructure, formed in complete correspondence with the spirit of the historical context: hotels, guesthouses and private rooms in old Revival houses, which preserve and reinterpret the traditions and the spirit of vernacular architecture; traditional dining establishments that offer the best examples of local cuisine and wine production; trade offering products of the local crafts and production, etc. This is an opportunity for creating a unique tourist product that could compete with the powerful hotel industry of Sunny Beach; for bringing back to new life the vernacular architecture of “The Ancient City of Nessebar”; and for increasing the economic efficiency of tourism;

  • Information and transport infrastructure that provides comprehensibility of the heritage sites and distributes knowledge for them, with key role of the museum as mediator in the historical environment.

Sustainable cultural tourism

The MP provides entire conformity of tourism with the protection regimes of the property and the modern standards for presentation and interpretation of the cultural heritage.

Elaboration of network of local cultural tourism routes connected to the national and European cultural roads

The network of thematic cultural tourism routes as modern organisation of cultural tourism in the property is in process of implementation. In full progress of the work on the commissioned by the Municipality and developed, related to the MP, pilot product № 3: “Faith in Nessebar” – network of four local cultural routes.

The MP offers in the future these routes to be integrated in a municipal cultural tourism product developed along the axis Messambria – Anchialo – Apollonia Pontica and related to the cultural corridor Via Pontica and the European network of pilgrimage roads (SCHEME № 13: Guidelines for cultural tourism development – establishment of local cultural tourism routes and information system; SCHEME № 14: The Ancient City of Nessebar in the network of the European, regional and national cultural roads – development guidelines).

Scheme 13: Guidelines for cultural tourism development - establishment of local cultural tourism routes and information system

Scheme 14: The Ancient City of Nessebar in the network of the European, regional and national cultural roads - development guidelines

Enhancement of the role of local population

The MP proposes the definition of guidelines and measures for the activation of the participation of local community in the priority development of cultural tourism. The role of the residents could be decisive in the adaptation of their houses to meet the requirements for a unique tourist product bearing the atmosphere of the Nessebar Revival house as well as in the revival of the values of the intangible heritage in “The Ancient City of Nessebar”. The Plan relies on their participation for the development, interpretation and attractive demonstrations of activities, which consolidate the identity of the property in combination with contemporary art forms. Thus will be created the conditions for the improvement of the local economy, for the creation of a specific form of tourism, new jobs and attractive all-year cultural tourism calendar, as well as for the overcoming of today’s problem with the sale of banal commercial items criticised by the Nessebar residents themselves. Special local policy is envisaged for priority of the local population in the assimilation of new working places related to tourism and the activities for promotion of the property.

All-year cultural tourism

The MP offers the present seasonal asymmetry of tourism in Nessebar to be surmounted with the aid of attractive all-year cultural calendar. It should include various events, related to the intangible heritage and the living culture and exceeding the present municipal initiatives – feasts of the local cuisine, wines, traditions, rituals, etc., as well as exhibits of modern arts, including their avant-garde forms. It is stressed on the necessity of relation between the all-year cultural tourism in the property and the out-of-the-season activities in Sunny Beach (for instance congress tourism).

Integration of cultural tourism with other forms of tourism

During the informal meetings and the Public Discussion was found that some local residents fear from the perspective cultural tourism to be imposed as the only form of tourism in the Ancient City, i.e. to become attractive for tourists interested only in cultural heritage and in nothing else. These fears are unfounded. Above all, international practice and the numerous surveys show that tourists with disposition to cultural tourism need not less to have fun, to have good food, to be offered local travels, shopping for souvenirs, and other amenities. Exactly these side expenses determine the real economic efficiency of cultural tourism (expenses on entry tickets for heritage sites are only 1% of the overall expenses of tourists). Besides, cultural tourism is always combined with other forms of tourism in an integral tourist package. In order to make the strategy in this field fully clear, the MP recommends that cultural tourism in the property should be developed with PRIORITY and be integrated with other forms of tourism in the broader territorial context: holiday, recreational, summer, sea, event, eco, sport, pilgrim, etc., within hybrid tourist products. It is essential that the Ancient City optimally takes advantage of its proximity to the tourist complex Sunny Beach, to the nearby protected natural territories, the Pomorie balneology, etc.

Innovations in tourism and improvement of the legislation

The MP offers large application of the international experience for tourist innovations in the field of the management, marketing, advertisement, promotion, participation of living culture, etc.

The problematic situation of the property proves the need of more radical ‘legislative measures’ (recommendation of the World Heritage Committee) to create conditions for the priority development of modern cultural tourism. Within these measures there must be provided public support for local residents, which will need funding for adapting the traditional houses for accommodation and for reviving local traditions, handicrafts, industries, etc. In this regard there need to be changes in the legislation, particularly in the categorisation criteria for hotels, guesthouses and private rooms, in order to foster the achieving of a unique cultural tourism product preserving the values of the Nessebar Revival house (the Recommendation was made during the meetings with Nessebar residents).

The implementation of the proposed guidelines in the field of tourism will contribute to the attracting of more and more solvent tourists in the property, hence – for enhancing the economic efficiency of tourism, the well-being of the local population and its living standard.

Programme activities

The MP offers the following programme activities in this field:

  • Within the frames of Programme 2012 for urgent actions is envisaged work in two directions: development of rules for design and setting of information elements and execution of the first stage of the third part of pilot product № 3 ”Faith in Nessebar” – fragment of the cultural tourism route.

  • Within the frames of Programme 2013-2017 (with start in Programme 2013 with work-schedule) is planned to finish the implementation of the above-mentioned fragment of the cultural tourism route and the latter to be included in the integrated multi-municipal cultural route, covering part of the cultural corridor Via Pontica. During this period will be commissioned and developed ”Interdisciplinary strategy with programme for development of cultural tourism” in the property that twill start with the following first-stage activities: adoption of an ordinance for regulation of tourist-guide activities in the property; development of all-year cultural calendar; elaboration of marketing and promotional plan of the property “Destination Marketing Organisation” (DMO); preparation of Decision of the Municipal Council for the size of the money discharged from cultural tourism meant for the conservation and management of the property; development of plan-scheme for the content of the information system of the cultural tourism product and execution of the information elements.

  • In the long-term Programme 2012-2032 is planned the execution of the Strategy for cultural tourism and the foreseen including of the cultural tourism product in the network of the European cultural routes.