Ministry Denies 'Financial Correction' over Bulgaria’s Controversial Tourism Logo

Bulgaria in EU | November 12, 2014, Wednesday // 08:44|  views

Photo by BGNES

The Ministry of Tourism has rejected allegations about a fine of BGN 160 000 by the European Commission over the project for the creation of a new brand for Bulgaria as a tourist destination.

Responding to questions of journalists about the reported penalty, the Ministry informed that the Managing Authority of the Regional Development Program was checking the contract for the development of a tourism brand strategy on a tip-off about irregularities.

The press office of the Tourism Ministry, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio, stated that no financial correction had been imposed under the project so far.

The Tourism Ministry assured that the Ministry of Economy and Energy had not received a letter from the European Commission concerning a penalty over the organization of the competition for awarding the assignment.

Bulgaria’s Tourism Ministry insisted that the final decision on a financial correction was yet to be made.

The press office of the Ministry made clear that Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova was to get acquainted with the documents related to the implementation of the project and to meet with senior representatives of the Managing Authority of the Regional Development Program.

The public procurement procedure for the preparation of a new brand for Bulgaria as a tourist destination was awarded to an entity called “Union for Brand Bulgaria” (Obedinenie za brand Balgaria) for a price of BGN 1.6 M, VAT included.

However, the new logo was met with harsh criticism by experts in the field of visual arts and it was also found to bear a suspicious resemblance to that of Kyrgyzstan.

According to unconfirmed reports of 24 Hours daily, Bulgaria is to be fined BGN 160 000, or 10% of the sum paid under the project.

The mass-circulation daily claims that experts at the Regional Development Ministry have audited the project and requested a financial correction amounting to 5% of the value of the project, but a follow-up audit of the EC has increased the financial correction to 10% of the value of the project financed under the Regional Development operational program.

24 Hours daily reminds that the controversial logo created under the project has not been used for almost two years and Bulgaria keeps using its old logo at tourism events.

According to the newspaper, the financial correction will be shouldered by the Tourism Ministry.

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Tags: financial corrections, tourism branding, tourism ministry, regional development program, Operational Program Regional Development, audit


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