After celebrating a record four million passengers at the end of 2015, Sofia Airport continues to deliver notable increases.
“This year, 23 new direct routes were announced to the Bulgarian capital.
Ryanair started scheduled services to Sofia in April and opened its base with three aircraft at the beginning of September,” noted Mariana Kirilova, director, marketing and analysis, Sofia Airport.
As she further explained, Wizz Air has enhanced its presence with six based aircraft while the seventh is set to join the fleet before the end of the year.
In addition, Bulgarian Air also introduced three seasonal itineraries during the busy summer period, further boosting traffic at the hub.
As a result, between January and September, aircraft movements rose 13 percent, leading to a 15.2 percent rise in passenger figures and a 13.4 percent growth in cargo volumes.
“This makes us optimistic for another record of 50,000 landings and take-offs and about 4.7 million passengers by the end of the year,” suggested Kirilova.
With regards to growth and diversification, Sofia is also focussing on its cultural credentials. According to Marinov, the city has the potential to become a leading European destination in this aspect.
“Sofia’s cultural heritage – tangible and intangible – is a unique tourist resource.
We aim to position Sofia at key markets as a year-round destination for cultural tourism; a destination that offers its guests dynamic and authentic experiences, excellent conditions for business […], with the added value of mountain, pilgrimage, eco and gourmet tourism,” enthused Marinov.
Further adding to the attractions of the city, Kirilova indicated that the municipality invests a lot in the enhancement of urban environment, additional attractions and improved tourist information.
“In 2018, Sofia will be the European Capital of Sport, an initiative promoting mass sport in an urban environment,” she added.
According to Euromonitor International, the European Capital of Sport award aims to address issues related to sports infrastructure, and Sofia is set to significantly benefit from a wide range of public physical activities with infrastructure developments such as outdoor gyms and new parks.
To further consolidate Sofia’s sports profile, Sofia Airport also welcomes high volumes of seasonal flights during the ski season.
“The city’s administration works towards strengthening Sofia’s position as a competitive European tourist destination by raising the attractiveness of the city for both its citizens and visitors,” concluded Marinov