Vladimir Danailov: We Are Now Proactively Inviting Investors to Sofia


BalREc – the most influential real estate conference platform in Bulgaria and the region – was held in two halls and with 10 thematic panels. 

More than 400 professionals participated in the forum on November 7, and over 60 distinguished experts from Bulgaria and Europe participated in panel discussions on the state and investment environment of key market segments: offices, retail, residential, industrial and logistics areas, hotels, proptech.

Among the experts invited to participate in the forum’s program was the Chief Executive Officer of Sofia Investment Agency, Vladimir Danailov. 

In the panel “Office Space Market 2019. Perspectives and Growth Potential of the IT/BPO Industry”, he noted: “Since the beginning of the year we have worked with over 70 companies with an interest in investing in Sofia. They are no longer just talking about low costs, but about engineering talent, added value, about the environment we have and is developing rapidly. Companies that we couldn’t even dream of before now have their sites in Sofia and today we are proactively inviting them to invest in the city.”

The forum started with an opening address by Rosen Plevneliev, President of Bulgaria in 2012 – 2017. In his address, he noted that Bulgaria is seeing sound and sustainable economic growth, banks are doing well, and the evaluations and forecasts of international organisations are positive. He pointed out that even if the slow growth of the major European economies is reflected in our country, Bulgaria is well enough positioned to overcome such a period without a crisis, but rather a correction in expectations due to over-supply in some segments.

In the panel “Real Estate Invеѕtmеnt Outlооk – Bulgaria and CEE 2019”, the executive director of Forton|Сuѕhmаn & Wakefield, Michaela Lashova, drew attention to the interesting trend of increasing Asian investment in Bulgaria. She also noted the fact that the rental levels in Bulgaria are lower compared to the region and the return on investment – higher. According to the company, 45% of the investments are in offices, and 25% are in retail space. 

Posts with highlights of all discussions in the forum can be found on the Facebook page of the organizers The City Media Group, and a photo gallery of the event can be seen here.


Sofia Investment Agency at Web Summit 2019 

Every year participants from around the world gather in Lisbon for the world’s largest technology conference, according to the Financial Times.

This year 70 469 participants from 163 countries gathered in Lisbon, including over 1 200 speakers across 22 stages, 2000 start-ups and 2500 media.

Sofia Investment Agency was there for the first time meeting partners and colleagues from across the world.

Our Head of Business Development Nadia Soultanova took part in the panel discussion ‘Gothenburg and Sofia: Complementing Ecosystems’ at the invitation of Business Region Göteborg and Business Sweden at the Sweden Co-lab.

The similarities and the differences between the ecosystems of our cities and countries are such that we can be partners in innovation.


Sweden is interested in collaborating with Sofia-based companies and is looking forward to seeing more companies open offices there. Gothenburg’s areas of strength in ICT are in embedded systems, infrastructure & cloud, mobile technology, microwaves, visualization & gaming.

The Mobility X Lab in Gothenburg helps young companies with pioneering ideas by offering mentorship and access to competence, networks, tools and insights from leading subject matter experts, as well as workspace. The Lab’s partners are leading Swedish companies like CEVT,  EricssonVolvo CarsVolvo GroupVeoneer and Zenuity. The Lab is hosted by Lindholmen Science Park in Gothenburg.

We would like to express very special thanks to H.E. Ms Helena Pilsas – Ahlin, Sweden’s Ambassador to Portugal and Ambassador to Bulgaria until 2016. It was a great honor to have Ms Pilsas Ahlin with us during the panel.

Web Summit in Lisbon is arguably the hottest tech conference in the world and the biggest in Europe. The Summit is a highlight on the event calendar of tech professionals, enthusiasts and visioners from around the world.



Invest Sofia Joined Sofia Game Night Vol.2


The second edition of Sofia Game Night took place on November 2nd in Sofia.

Sofia Game Night explores and expands the concept of games: from the entertaining computer, board and role-playing games, through e-sports, the game development industry and cosplay to the intersection of art, politics, education and social experiment.

The organizers of Sofia Game Night – Goethe-Institute and Game Dev Summit – prepared an exciting program in over 30 locations across Sofia, dedicated to gaming, anime and manga, board games, and including competitions, music and performances, and special events for children.

The Invest Sofia team was happy to join the ‘Games Made in Bulgaria’ Expo at the kind invitation of the organisers. We joined over 30 Bulgarian companies, independent studios and developers of board and computer games, and presented the development of creative industries in Sofia and Invest Sofia’s activities at our own stand.

Creative industries are among Sofia’s priority sectors, and Gaming is among the fastest-growing creative sectors with highest added value. We were glad to gain first-hand experience about its development, to meet game designers and game developers and receive their insights about Creative Sofia, as well as to get acquainted with some classic titles and new, never seen before games.

We thank the organizers from Game Dev Summit for the invitation!


Creative Sofia in Figures

– Creative industries account for 6-8% of Sofia’s economy, which is above the EU average

– Ubisoft, Gameloft and SEGA, some of the biggest global gaming companies, have studios in Sofia

– The gaming sector in Sofia experienced a 127% growth of value added between 2008 and 2015

– There are over 35 gaming companies in the city, most of which are indie studios

Sources: Observatory of Cultural Economics and Sofia Municipality; Game Dev Summit.


Photography: Lina Krivoshieva


Invest Sofia’s Third ‘Sofia Tourism and Air Transport Market Report’ 2019 – Now Available for Download

The third edition of the annual report Sofia Tourism and Air Transport Market Report is available for download from our website.

Sofia Tourism and Air Transport Market Report 2019 takes a close look on the tourism sector in Sofia as of September 2019. The aim is to provide potential investors and all stakeholders interested in the development of the tourism sector in Sofia with comprehensive and accessible information.

The document presents an overview of the latest data, analyses and reviews of the key tourism indicators, as well as current statistics on Sofia Airport aircraft movements, the number of tourists by country of origin and by the purpose of their visit, the accommodation capacity of the city, the development of the urban environment in Sofia, the potential of the MICE industry, and the most important trends in the sector today.

Sofia Tourism and Air Transport Market Report 2019 is prepared by the Investment and Business Development Department of the Sofia Investment Agency.


Here are some of the key points from the report:

  • – The number of nights spent in Sofia increased by 122% and the number of tourists – by 110% since 2010. There is a tendency that annually around 60% of Sofia’s visitors come from abroad, and around 2/3 of the number of nights are spent by foreigners.
  • – In 2018, Sofia Airport serviced almost 7 million passengers, a 7.3% growth on 2017. In the last five years the total number of passengers has doubled, making Sofia Airport one of the top airports in terms of passenger increase among the top 100 busiest airports in Europe. This growth can be attributed both to the opening of 44 new destinations since 2015, mainly by low-cost carriers, and the improved performance of the Bulgarian economy.
  • – The ongoing urban rejuvenation projects like the expansion of Sofia’s metro, which now connects Sofia Airport’s Terminal 2 with all of the key destinations in the city, are another important factor for the tourism growth in Sofia. The extension and modernization of the Sofia Metro plays an important role in the currently developing concept of intermodal urban transport: by 2020 the first 12 kilometres of the third line of the subway are expected to be completed, and will be later connected with the Vitosha lifts.
  • – The hotel market in Sofia is still recovering from the setback experienced during the global financial crisis in