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Geography: The language of Europe - Turisam v Bulgaria (Tourism in Bulgaria)

Geography: The language of Europe

Key questions

  • What are the physical and human attractions of Bulgaria?
  • What types of alternative holiday are on offer in Bulgaria?

Key concepts

  • Place
  • Space
  • Environmental interaction and sustainable development
  • Cultural understanding and diversity

What are the physical and human attractions of Bulgaria?

The aim of this lesson is to introduce students to one of the new EU member countries. Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007. This lesson focuses on tourism as an alternative to the more commonly used European tourism case studies such as Spain, Italy and Majorca. Here, tourism in Bulgaria will be examined by investigating the emerging trend towards more ‘alternative' forms of tourism, which are more sustainable and ethical.

Bulgaria is one of the most visited countries in Europe - in 2007 there were 5.2 million visitors according to the WTO (World Tourism Organisation). This is very important to the country's economy, employing some 65.9% of the population in services-related jobs. Tourists from the top three countries - Greece, Romania and Germany, account for 40% of all visitors, although it is also popular with Brits, especially the ski resorts.

Bulgaria has a very attractive and varied physical landscape and climate, with the mild and sunny Black Sea coast, the snow-capped peaks in Rila, Pirin and the Balkan Mountains, the northern Danubian Plain and the valleys of Macedonia in the southern lowlands, which have a Mediterranean influence.

The summer beaches and mountain ski resorts are the traditional lures; winter tourist centres like Borovetz, Bansko, Pamporovo and Vitosha are popular, dramatic mountainous ski resorts. The summer resorts along the Black Sea coast, like Sozopol, Nessebur, Golden Sands, Sunny Beach, Sveti Vlas, Albena and Sts. Constantine and Helena are favoured by Germans, Russians and Scandinavians.

In addition, a rich cultural and historical heritage attracts people to places like the Rozhen monastery or to traditional communities in more rural areas.

More detailed information on Bulgaria, particularly on the country's history and culture, can be found on the Wikipedia website.

What types of alternative holiday are on offer in Bulgaria?

Increasingly, people are looking for alternative holiday experiences and new types of tourism are emerging, including cultural, architectural and historic tours, eco-tourism, and adventure tours. During the main activity, students work in groups to examine some of these alternative holidays.

In addition, experiences like ethno-tourism and architectural-cultural tourism, catering to specialized tastes, are becoming more popular. These new types of holidays involve interaction with, and living amongst, the local people in rural villages way from the main resorts.

More adventurous, active recreation holidays like hiking, horse riding and bike tourism, provide a close connection with nature.

Bulgaria is also attempting to green-up its act, having received much criticism from the European Union for not fulfilling orders to preserve its natural environment and native animal species. Recently, via the Green Lodge project, Hotel Tomo in the SE city of Sliven has been the first to be awarded a prize by the Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism (BAAT). This award gives recognition to Bulgarian guesthouses and family hotels that operate in a way that respects the surrounding natural environment. In addition, those that meet European Centre for Ecological and Agricultural Tourism standards receive the ECEAT label. Further information can be found on the Bulgaria Hotels website, and a list of eco-hotels and accommodation is available on the Balkan Insight website.

The Responsible Travel website provides details and information about alternative types of holiday around the world. The role cards provided for the main activity resource use this website, along with some other suggestions, as the basis for students' research into a range of alternative types of holidays. The web references for each type of holiday are given on the role card for that group.




Starter one - Geography

Images of Bulgaria

In this lesson, you will be exploring the topic of tourism in Bulgaria, one of the newest members of the European Union (joined in 2007). The lesson will focus particular on alternative types of tourism.

What do you think is meant by the term alternative tourism?
How many different alternative tourism holidays can you think of?

Download the images of Bulgaria document. It introduces you to some of the attractions in Bulgaria that tourists to the country might visit. First match the images to the captions, then use the latitude and longitude coordinates provided to label the locations of the attractions on the map provided.

Starter two - MFL

Choveshki i Geografski Harakteristiki na Bulgaria -The human and physical features of Bulgaria

In this activity, you will find out a bit more about the human and physical features of Bulgaria.

Download the map of Bulgaria and the set of Bulgaria labels. In pairs, use an atlas to add the labels to your map in the correct locations.

If you like, you can copy the outline of the country onto a large piece of paper to create a poster.

Use the atlas and some Internet research to find out what each of the places you are labelling is, and write a short description under each label.

Now concentrate on making your map look attractive with colour, symbols and pictures to highlight some of the main features of Bulgaria.



Alternative holidays

For this activity, you will be working in groups. Each group will be given a role card (download the role cards)

Your role card will give an alternative type of holiday in Bulgaria that you should research. You need to write a seven day itinerary (timetable) for the holiday, which you will present to your teacher at the end of the lesson.

Once your teacher has heard about all of the alternative holidays on offer, he or she will make a decision as to which holiday sounds most attractive - so plan your holiday carefully.

The role cards give some links to websites where you can find out more about your particular type of holiday.



Which holiday?

Each group will get a chance to present their holiday to the teacher, outlining the itinerary and explaining why this is the holiday for them.

Your teacher will then decide which holiday he or she would prefer to go on and give you feedback about your presentations.

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