Falling borders and the rapidity of disseminating information over the Internet have changed tourism in the world. It is natural to ask ourselves where we are and how is our Bulgarian tourist product. The tourism industry has evolved as a succession of the old communist „Balkantourist“ products not only as objects but also as a vision. In the last 20 years in Bulgaria the hotel base has sharply increased. The number of restaurants also. At the same time, we do not have an increase in the capacity of additional tourism services that is relevant to this growth. The qualification of those employed in tourism is considerably lagging behind those in our neighboring countries. Bulgaria’s cultural and natural heritage remains largely outside tourist products due to the lack of suitable tourism infrastructure. All of this shapes the industry as extremely dependent on the summer and winter seasons.
Taking into account the development of tourism in the neighboring countries, the Bulgarian tourist product in this type can not be offered in a higher price sector. In recent years, alternative tourism has begun to develop, which under proper government policy would be independent of the seasons. In my opinion, however, the state is making every effort not to develop cultural tourism. This policy practically serves our neighbors, as well as several historians and archeologists close to power. So our neighbors become richer and some Bulgarian historians and archaeologists too.
We must present to the world not just the historical heritage but its unique part. The unique part of our historical heritage is above all Thracian. For foreign tourists, it would be interesting to understand that the Thracians are the oldest people that history knows. And that is what the “father of history” Herodotus is talking about.
In his story he describes the following case. When the Egyptians reigned Psametix, he decided to find out which nation was born first. Thought the following plan. He took two newborn children whose mothers were different. He summoned a shepherd and ordered the children to be housed in a hut with him, and not to spoke even a word beside them. So he expected to know what would be the first word that the e children will say and to understand in what language. The people who use this language will therefore be the oldest nation. For two years, the children were grown in a hut, and no one spoke a word along them. One day the shepherd went to the children’s hut and witnessed the following. Both of the children stretched their hands toward him and said “bekos”. The shepherd shared this with Pharaoh. Pharaoh commanded to understand which people used this word and what it meant. The folk who used the “bekos” turned out to be in Phrygians’ language. And meant bread. Thus the Egyptians understood that the oldest people were the Phrygians, not the Egyptians.
They, according to Herodotus, are a Thracian tribe, formerly called brigs. Some of the Phrygians leave the Balkans and settle in Asia Minor. Connoisseurs of cultural and historical tourism would probably be fascinated to learn this fact. And the surprise will be complete if they have the opportunity to see the culture of the oldest people, to see a scene with the story of the Herodotus story describing the task the shepherd has received from Pharaoh Psametich. And if they can try Phrygian “bekos“, they will be fascinated.
The next miracle that is related to civilization in the Bulgarian lands is the Varna Gold Necropolis. Archeology proves that this is the oldest processed gold in the world. That’s why we need to approach it in a unique way. Maybe we have to put it in a special mausoleum and thus create the Mecca of goldsmithing. I believe that if we do that, every goldsmith or connoisseur of gold will at least once visit the Mecca of goldsmithing, learn more about his craft, and steal ideas from his ancient ancestors.
The Phrygian „bekos“ and the Varna golden necropolis are part of the unique cultural and historical heritage of our lands. In order to turn them into a unique tourist product, we have to change the chip left by „Balkantourist“.