INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Pushing Frontiers - Bulgaria's Balkan potential

In the south-east of Europe sits Bulgaria, bordering Turkey, Greece and Romania in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula.

Its major towns include Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas - all of which offer varying degrees of C&I options. However, the capital city Sofia has the largest choice of conference facilities and should be the first point of call for interested groups.

Direct flights from London Gatwick to Sofia are available either via British Airways or Balkan Airlines. BA flies there five times a week and Balkan Airlines six times.

Five-star hotels in the city include the Kempinski Hotel Zografski and the 245-room Hilton Sofia, 15 minutes from the airport. The Sheraton Sofia Hotel has four conference rooms for up to 220.

For large meetings, the National Palace of Culture Congress Centre offers 13 halls for up to 3,880 delegates and claims to be the biggest space for meetings and events in south eastern Europe.

Incentive activities can revolve around Bulgaria's varied landscape, which features several UNESCO world heritage sites. The country offers health spas such as the Albena resort, sandy beaches on the Black Sea coast, vineyards, orchards and ski resorts, including Pamporovo and, the largest, Borovets. Traditional hospitality and dining, festivals, monasteries and museums are also a major draw for groups.

The Bulgarian Convention Bureau and DMCs such as the Bulgarian Travel Company are available to offer advice to buyers.

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