Iron Curtain Trail at the CrossTour 2014 event in Ruse, Bulgaria
Enterprise Europe Network at the Business Centre for Small and Medium Enterprises – Ruse, Bulgaria organized the already traditional brokerage event CrossTour 2014 for companies from tourism and creative fields. The fourth business forum CrossTour took place on April 24th 2014 in Ruse, Bulgaria and once again proved that it is an efficient platform which enables professionals to get acquainted with potential partners, create new business contacts, promote new products, as well as embark on joint projects.

CrossTour 2014 was a “meetings event” focusing on promoting alternative tourism of the Danube region of North Bulgaria and developing joint tourism offers with neighbouring Romania. It was a good opportunity for the ICT project to disseminate the project’s newsletters, a flyer containing a brief presentation of the project, as well as the national project leaflet to all the stakeholders interested in cycle tourism and sustainable mobility.  

There were 53 organizations which registered for the B2B and in the end 28 Bulgarian companies, 13 Romanian and 1 Moldovian companies joined the brokerage event. Each of them had sent their requests for 153 business meetings beforehand. However, many of the participants took the chance to start informal conversations among each other and thus make additional useful contacts. Having had many successful business meetings with foreign partners during the brokerage event, participants praised themselves with 11 partnership agreements which were achieved during the B2B. Bulgarian and Romanian companies stated they have found opportunities for cooperation in more than 50 of their meetings.

There was a great diversity of organizations which took part in CrossTour 2014 like hotels, guest houses, municipalities, tourist information centre, tour operators, travel agencies, restaurants, NGOs, representatives of the creative field and other organizations. The Bulgarian participants came from Ruse, Dve Mogili, Kavarna, Dobrich, Sliven, Veliko Tarnovo, Sofia, Elena, Tutrakan, Belogradchik, Sunny Beach, village of Palamaritsa, village of Cherven, village of Koshov, village of Nisovo. The Romanian participants were from Dobroteasa, Craiova, Bucharest. There was one participant (tour operator) from Chisinau, Moldova.

A tailor-made FAM trip was arranged for the foreign tour operators. This enabled them to experience the destination for themselves and re-discover its huge alternative tourism appeal. The FAM trip took place on April 25th 2014 when foreign tour operators visited the Monastery of Basarbovo, the Ivanovo rock-hewn churches (part of UNESCO World Heritage List), the cave Orlova Chuka near Dve Mogili (the second longest one of Bulgaria), the Medieval Fortress of Cherven. The representatives of foreign tour operators also listened to authentic Bulgarian folklore; they tasted traditional Bulgarian home-made meals and tasted wines produced within the region of Ruse during a wine-tasting in a local winery.