Tour-operators and travel agency activity are tourist activities within the meaning of the Tourism Act. Tour-operators and/or travel agent activity on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria may be carried out only by a person registered under the Tourism Act; such activities are subject to control by the state in view to protection and guaranteeing the security and the rights of the consumers of tourist services, as well as in view to prevention occurrence of danger of prejudicing state and public interests in the tourism sector.

The registration is carried out by the Minister of Tourism by entering into the Register of Tour Operators and Travel Agents – part of the National Tourism Register; the register is public. Entered in the said register persons are provided with a registration certificate – issued for carrying out the following activities: tour-operators activity; travel agent activity; tour-operators and travel agent activity.

The registration procedure is regulated in detail by Art. 61 et seq. of the Tourism Act (Chapter seven). Requirements regarding the premises and personnel are set out in a special ordinance issued by the Minister of Tourism.

Application and Necessary Documents

In order to be entered into the Register of Tour Operators and Travel Agencies companies need to file with the Ministry of Tourism a standard form application-declaration1, together with the following documents enclosed thereto:

Declaration by the respective persons on the circumstances under Art. 61, par. 3, items 1-3 of the Tourism Act, as well as a document certifying the circumstances regarding the criminal record of foreign nationals;

Copy of the title deed to the premises to be used for carrying out the tourist activity or a rent contract or other document evidencing the right of the applicant to use the respective premises for the said purposes;

Copy of the preliminary contract for insurance “Liability of the Tour Operator” (if applicable);

Explicit power of attorney in original – when the application-declaration is filed by a proxy (e.g., a lawyer);

Document for paid state fee for processing the documents.

If the company is to carry out tour-operators or travel agent activity only by electronic means (also applicable to operators of websites for group shopping), it should submit an application with the aforementioned enclosures, except for the documents relating to the premises to be used for carrying out the business activity – instead, documents evidencing the rights to the respective domain name should be presented.

Pursuant to the latest amendments to the Tourism Act2 there will be no longer a requirement to present copies of the documents certifying completion of education, work experience and language qualifications of the person in charge of the management of the activity; respectively, such circumstances will be established ex officio. In my opinion it would still be advisable to present such documents despite the said requirement being dropped – since there are a lot of instances where the ex officio establishment of all or a part of the circumstances would be very difficult or impossible.

The application and the enclosures thereto should be submitted in Bulgarian language; such documents may also be submitted in any of the official languages of the European Union accompanied by an official translation into Bulgarian. Enclosures should be presented as certified by the applicant true copies.

Processing of the Application

Officials designated by the Minister of Tourism examine the application-declarations with the enclosures thereto within a period of 14 days from the date of their submission. When the submitted documents meet the requirements, they are being sent for consideration to the expert commission on registration of tour-operators and travel agencies; the expert commission resolves on them within a period of 14 days – with a motivated proposal to the Minister of Tourism for allowing or denying the registration.

In case of incompleteness or irregularity of the presented documents, the said officials inform in writing the applicant and give the latter 14 days for removing the respective incompleteness or irregularity.

The Minister of Tourism on the basis of the proposal of the expert commission carries out the registration and issues a certificate of registration. The registration certificate is to be handed over to the applicant upon provision by the latter of a copy of the concluded insurance contract (only applicable to tour operators), a document for paid state fee for entry into the register and an explicit power of attorney in original (if applicable).

Fees

Fees for processing of the application and entering into the Register of Tour Operators and Travel Agents are due pursuant to the Tariff on the State Fees Collected under the Tourism Act3, as follows:

for processing an application for registration: for tour-operators activity – 500 Levs; for travel agency activity – 500 Levs;

for entering into the register and issuing a registration certificate for carrying out: tour-operators activity – 3 500 Levs; travel agency activity – 1 800 Levs.

The fee for processing of the application should be paid upon filing for registration and the one for entry into the register – upon receiving the issued certificate of registration.

Information about the due attorney fee may be found on page Fees.

Footnotes:

1 The article has been updated on 19.05.2018 in connection with amendments to the Tourism Act (effective as of 04.05.2018).

2 The article has been updated on 17.03.2020 in connection with amendments to the Tourism Act (effective as of 28.02.2020).

3 The article has been updated on 09.01.2017 in connection with the new Tariff on the State Fees Collected under the Tourism Act (effective as of 23.12.2016).