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Bulgarian travel agency or tour operator businesses can be conducted only by Bulgarian companies that are listed in the Register of Tour Operators and Travel Agents, part of Bulgarian National Tourism Register. The registration is made with the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism upon filing an application by the candidate together with a number of documents confirming that the applicant matches the criteria specified in Bulgarian Tourism Act and sub delegated legislation. Below we have summarized some of the basic registration requirements prescribed in Bulgarian Laws.
To begin with, those who want to be listed as Bulgarian tour operators and / or travel agencies must be:
- Either merchants (Bulgarian companies) registered as per Bulgarian Commercial Act or
- Legal entities entitled to conduct business under any other law of an EU member state country or another country within the European Economic Area
Any of the above two categories have the opportunity to register as full-service providers or online providers of tour operator or travel agency / tour operator services. The second option is relatively easier. Tour operators and agents that offer only online services benefit from a simpler registration regime and fewer application documents for their listing.
Generally the requirements can be classified in 5 groups:
- Requirements to the professional qualification, education and experience of the person who will manage the Bulgarian tour operator or tourist agent activity
- Requirements to the staff – education, language skills and work experience
- Requirements to the premises (front office) where the business will be physically conducted
- Requirements related to the insurance of the tour operator / tour agent in Bulgaria
- Additionally to the above, the applicant must show proof that it is not under a liquidation or insolvency procedure; it has not operated as a tour operator or travel agent without a license for the last 12 months; its certificate for registration has not been cancelled for the last 12 months.
Carrying out tour operator or travel agent activity without a certificate for registration is considered an administrative offense and is subject to fines ranging from BGN 500 to BGN 20 000.