Today Varna is the third largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia and Plovdiv and one of the most dynamically developing cities offering excellent opportunities for cultural tourism, including business, congress, ecological, religious and mixed tourism: recreation, balneology, sports, or simply theme tourism. In the summer of 2004 Varna reported an unemployment growth of –4,2% within the European framework. From the beginning of this year, 75 new hotels, boutique villages and guest houses have been built. In 2004 Varna airport reported continuous growth of tourists and a 494-times profit growth. That means that for the first six months of 2004 the profit is 494 thousand BGN compared to 1000 BGN for the first six months of 2003.
In the last few years the economic weight of tourism on a national scale has been increasing. The number of tourists exceeds 3,4 million. Interest in Western Europe is on the increase. This fact presupposes a serious and remarkable development of tourism, which at present accounts for about 10% of the GDP. We need to point out that 60% of all hotel facilities in the country are concentrated along the Black Sea coast.
The Black Sea as a natural and geographic factor and the strategic location of Varna make it a place of transcontinental importance and heightened investment interest. Its well-developed network of financial and credit institutions as well as its growing investment rating (Varna's credit rating is B1 according to Moody's) is a success in the process of European integration and international cooperation. In addition to these factors the good institutional environment is another guarantee and stimulus for all investors. Varna is rated second in Bulgaria in terms of foreign investments which amount to USD 417 000 000 invested in the city after 1992.
Varna hosts a number of annual international trade fairs, business forums and meetings, some of which take place in the Palace of Culture and Sports (tel.: +359 52 / 601 503, 645 129:
Business Opportunities: 16.02 - 21.02;
Fashion Fair: 12.03 - 16.03, 26.11 - 30.11;
The Three Keys – Home, Office, Villa: 24.03 - 27.03, 17.11 - 20.11;
Tourism and Leisure Fair: 26.04 - 01.05;
Fashion Fair & Cosmetic Expo: 08.06 - 14.06;
Made in Bulgaria: 05.10 - 10.10;
Chose Bulgarian Goods: 19.10 - 24.10;
Textileexpo, Fair of Crafts;
Commercial Exhibition: “Business without Borders”, tel.: + 359 52 / 632 956;
International Economic and Business Forum, tel.: + 359 52 / 600 468;
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the city of Varna; tel.: + 359 52 / 609 698
Today the city quickly catches up with world famous city models. It is the focal point of investment interest and economic activities as well as an example of openness, hospitality and tolerance.