CEE/Newsletter/February 2018/Contents/Bulgaria report

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Bulgaria report: The first Bulgarian wikitown presented at an International Tourist Fair in Sofia[edit]

By Spasimir Pilev, Dessislava Alexova & Vassia Atanassova
WikiBotevgrad - the first wikitown in Bulgaria on the International Tourism Fair "Holiday & SPA Expo" 2018.

From 14th to 16th February in Sofia the first Bulgarian WikiTown initiative was presented at the International Tourist Fair "Holiday & SPA Expo". WikiBotevgrad, which was a cooperative initiative between Wikimedians of Bulgaria User Group, Botevgrad Municipality, Historical Museum of Botevgrad and the "Ivan Vazov" Town Library, started in October 2017 with the aim to consolidate the local community and promote volunteering and contributions to Wikimedia on regional topics.

The motto of the Botevgrad town's booth and one of the main accents in their presentation was the first wikitown in Bulgaria. On the first day of the tourist fair, a presentation for WikiBotevgrad was presented to participants from all over the country - representatives of the tourism business, branch organizations and academic lecturers. The booth of Botevgrad Municipality was visited by many attendants, including the Minister of Tourism, lecturers from Sofia University, International Business School, University of Forestry - Sofia, New Bulgarian University, and others. A number of university lecturers have committed to promoting WikiBotevgrad among their students. At the same time, a tourist website was created for the Botevgrad Municipality, where the WikiBotevgrad logo has links to Wikipedia in articles about the tourist sites and settlements in the municipality.

During the Fair, WikiBotevgrad was nominated for the Innovation Project of the Year for Modern Technologies.

Since the start of the initiative in October 2017, over 90 articles have been created and expanded, mainly in Bulgarian Wikipedia, about places, cultural, historical and natural sites, personalities and events related to the town of Botevgrad and the 12 villages in the Municipality. In recent months, three edit-a-thons in the city library and a photomarathon in the Historical Museum were organized for the local community. In addition, more than 550 photos from over 50 participants have been uploaded, most of which contributed to Wikipedia for the first time. Soon, students from the two language centers in the city will help with translation of articles in English. In May 2018, when the initiative completes, QR codes to Wikipedia will be placed on relevant locations in Botevgrad and the surrounding villages.

The participation in the International Tourist Fair in February is not the first public presentation of the first Bulgarian wikitown: in the end of 2017, WikiBotevgrad was presented at the discussion forum "The Good Example to the West of Sofia" along with other good practices and innovative initiatives of the Botevgrad Municipality.

In the next months, WikiBotevgrad will be presented at two more tourism fairs in Bulgaria. The first one is the "Cultural Tourism" Fair in Veliko Tarnovo in April 2018, when the cultural and historical heritage of the municipality will be promoted. During the second event, the family memory and Weekend tourism in Rousse in late May 2018, the results of the accomplished project will be presented. We intend to present WikiBotevgrad at scientific conferences, and thematically related seminars and debates, too.

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