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Cruise tourism in Bulgaria

Cruise tourism in Bulgaria

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Published by Stanislav Ivanov
The predominant rationale of this study is to outline the chief prerequisites for the development of cruise tourism in Bulgaria. The paper not only reveals the significance of the chosen type of alternative tourism in Bulgaria, but it also examines the foremost development and demand factors that have contributed to its current state in the country. Finally, the study sheds a light on the future growth of cruise tourism and the concomitant alterations in the tourism sector as a result of the former.
The predominant rationale of this study is to outline the chief prerequisites for the development of cruise tourism in Bulgaria. The paper not only reveals the significance of the chosen type of alternative tourism in Bulgaria, but it also examines the foremost development and demand factors that have contributed to its current state in the country. Finally, the study sheds a light on the future growth of cruise tourism and the concomitant alterations in the tourism sector as a result of the former.

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Published by: Stanislav Ivanov on Oct 30, 2010
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10/30/2010

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Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1698105
1
Cruise
tourism in Bulgaria
 
Petra Ilcheva and Vladimir ZhechevAbout the authorsVladimir Zhechev
received his Bachelor Degree in Business Administration fromHAN University, Arnhem Business School, the Netherlands. He is currently anMBA student at University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, UK and simultaneouslyoccupies a marketing assistant position in a private organization.
Petra Ilcheva
is a graduate of International University College, Bulgaria holding aBachelor Degree in Hospitality Management. Her specialty is in alternativetourism due to her international background in the field.
 Abstract 
 
The predominant rationale of this study is to outline the chief prerequisites for thedevelopment of cruise tourism in Bulgaria. The paper not only reveals the significance of the chosen type
o
 f 
alterna
tive tourism in Bulgaria, but it also examines the foremost development and demand factors that have contributed to its current state in the country.Finally, the study sheds a light on the future growth of cruise tourism and the concomitant alterations in the tourism sector as a result of the former.
 
Key 
words: cruise, Bulgaria, alternative tourism
 
 
Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1698105
2
1.
 
Introduction
Presently, cruise tourism is emerging rapidly and is claimed to be one of the foremost areas of tourism growth since the beginning of the new millennium. Furthermore, the process of revival of cruising has taken place in the last four decades and at present it accounts for anarrow but growing niche of the global tourism industry. Alternatively, cruise tourism isregarded as the fastest growing segment of the leisure tourism industry with travel to theCaribbean region accounting for approximately 50 percent of the global market for suchproducts (Wood, 2000). As a matter of fact, the Caribbean, Europe, and Alaska haveestablished themselves as key cruising spots, which rapid advancement is devoted to the largenumber of cruise ships, cruise lines, and the creation of more cruise corporations.In an actual fact, building and sustaining a positive image holds a significant role whenpromoting ports of call and cities to potential developers, investors and visitors. At present,cruise companies are increasingly evolving in product terms and positioning of their brandnames. In that way they enable customers to identify their products, regardless of the intensecompetition (Dowling, 2006). Additionally, proper positioning and positive brand image makecustomers less price sensitive and facilitate their decision making due to the reliance onaffirmative past experiences with the respective companies.In the context of Eastern Europe, Bulgaria, with its strategic geographical location and richnatural resources, boasts very good conditions for development of tourism in general. One of the most significant prerequisites for this development is the Black Sea coast. It stretches fromNortheast to Southwest Bulgaria and attracts a multitude of local and international touristsevery year. Given these resources, Bulgaria is deemed to have a real potential and capacity toexpand its cruise tourism, particularly
 –
river and sea cruising.Effectively, a Black Sea cruise offers a unique opportunity to explore a region which offersancient treasures, astonishing places and spectacular architectural works. A cruise along theBlack sea also involves visits of many beaches, which enjoy unadulterated sunshine during the
 
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whole summer season. On the other hand, a Danube River cruise is the best way to becomefamiliar with natural landscapes and cultural heritages which have witnessed many nations
 historical influence. On a Danube River cruise, Europe's vineyard-lined valleys and beautifullypreserved medieval towns in countries such as Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, andRomania can be discovered. Since the number of cruise vessels and industry itself keepgrowing larger, greater investments are also anticipated. Eventually,nowadays the term cruise goes beyond having a pleasurable sea trip in a liner. It is beingviewed as an attractive voyage, which offers joyful experience, safety, quality food, sportfacilities, shopping centers, entertainment venues and excellent service.Based on the abovementioned factors of importance of cruise tourism, it can be concludedthat the high quality services and the globalization of operations of cruise providers furtherintensify competition among them. In addition both competition and more demandingcustomers push the quality limits higher, which altogether fosters the growth of cruisetourism. As a whole, the researcher has chosen to study this particular type of alternativetourism due to the fact that it represents a chief part of world tourism and due to itsconsiderable global significance in terms of its economic, social, cultural and environmentalimpacts.
2. Literature review
 In present times, the cruise ship segment of leisure tourism has received a lot of attention byacademic literature (Duman, 2002, Kester, 2003). In real terms, the interest in the segment is justified by its enormous growth reaching over $ 1900 million in 2005 (Datamonitor, 2005).According to the European Cruise Council (2005) the market is still in its growth stage and isnot likely to stagnate in the short run. As a matter of fact, the growth tendency is valid forregions such as Eastern Europe for example, as cruise tourism represents a narrowsegment of the tourism market (Euromonitor International, 2007). However, a review of theexisting literature on cruise tourism has revealed that there is a lack of researches on the

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