Tourism – that is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Bulgarian economy with excellent opportunities for foreign investment with high return on investment ratios. In 2000 privatization of almost 85 % of the assets in the tourist sector was completed. The number of foreign tourists grew, according to preliminary assessments, by more than 25%. Exceptional interest is expected in relatively new but promising fields like historical and culture tourism etc. In 2014 Bulgaria was visited by 10 million tourists. Tourists from three countries – Greece, Romania and Turkey – account for 25% of all visitors. The sector contributed to 15% of GDP and supported 150 000 workplaces in 2014.
Bulgarian Head Nod – when Bulgarians nod their heads up and down, they mean NO. When they move their heads from side to side, they mean YES.
Bulgarian Name Days – “Name Days” are celebrated in addition to birthdays in Bulgaria. As a matter of fact, most Bulgarians value their ‘Name Day’ more than their birthday. A Name Day, or “Saints Day” is celebrated by people named after a particular Saint (e.g. everyone named Peter celebrates Saint Peter’s day). We could accurately say that “the Name Day is the feast day of the saint after whom one is named.”
Bulgarian Yogurt – One thing that Bulgarians insist upon owning as their exclusive invention is yogurt – known in Bulgaria as kiselo mlyako. The country’s long and affectionate relationship with yogurt dates back to the Thracians, ancient inhabitants of the Bulgarian lands, when stock-breeders placed sheep’s milk in lambskin bags around their waists and fermented yogurt using their own body heat.
Fire Dancing – Nestinarstvo – This is a custom that can be seen only in some villages between Strandzha and the Black Sea, around Bourgas. It is observed on the holiday of St.Konstantin and Elena and sometimes on some of the local village fairs and the church/patron saint’s days. A basic element of the custom is the dance in fire (glowing embers). The whole village takes part in the celebration but it is only the fire-dancers that participate in the ritual dance. They are chosen by the saint who is patron of the holiday. The dancers are able to “see” his face, to “hear” his voice and his spirit is transferred in them and on his behalf they can interpret omens, give advice and scorn people.
Kukeri – On New Year’s Eve and Zagovezni, in Bulgaria, special rituals called Kukeri (Mummer’s) games take place. The Kukeri games are performed by men only. They put on special masks, hand-made by each of the participants. Most of the masks are made of wood. Different colored threads are glued on it as well as pieces of multicolored fabrics, mirrors and other shiny elements. The masks represent a ram, a goat or a bull. Their necessary part of the Kukeri games proves the thesis that their origin is connected to the ancient Dionysius’ games. The impact that the masked mummers make, gets even bigger by the sound of the copper and bronze bells that hang on them.
Bulgarian Rose Oil – The famous Bulgarian rose oil is used for making some of the world’s most popular and expensive perfumes. One gram rose oil is produced out of 1000 rose blossoms.