Burgas is one of the fastest developing cities in Bulgaria, it boasts well planned and maintained infrastructure, good lifestyles and investments well above the national level.
The city lies on the country's southern Black sea coast and attracts workforce from a region populated by about 400,000 people living in the city itself or in a commutable distance of 45 min by car. The positive migration coefficient for Burgas region (more people are moving in than moving out), which is well above the country's average, underscores its attractiveness.
The city serves as an important commercial and transportation hub, with an international airport that handles more than 2.8 million passengers annually and one of the biggest ports on the Black Sea coast. Well-developed transport infrastructure connects the city to the rest of the country. Burgas is the summer tourism center of Bulgaria, which is evidenced by the great importance of consumer services for the local economy. Consumer services create 1/5 of the added value, providing 27% of the jobs in the region. Consumer services include hotel and restaurant service, trade (excluding wholesale), culture and sports, and other personality services.
The municipality of Burgas has been recognized for its role as a first stop for new investors, providing valuable assistance especially in relations with universities and high schools. Currently, one of the key priorities for the city is to attract skilled labor through the development of co-working spaces and hubs and to develop and promote a business-friendly ecosystem. A well-developed educational system, combined with a lifestyle preferred by young people, is already supporting the process. Nearly 7800 students study in the vocational high schools in Burgas. Approximately as many students are in the other types of high schools in the area. The number of students in the universities in Burgas is over 6300.
Companies in the real sector in the region produce annual output worth EUR 6 billion according to the latest available data. The production capacity of the companies in the Burgas region is constantly expanding, with annual investment costs of about EUR 800 million, which makes investments per employee 27% higher than the average for the country.
There are some 20,500 employees in manufacturing in Burgas District, which is an important indicator of the volume of existing labor force and traditions in the training of such staff. In the manufacturing sub-sectors, the biggest number of people is employed in production of machinery and equipment, metal products, and automotive parts. Salaries in the manufacturing industry in Burgas region are among the highest in the country. The employment concentration in industries with productivity higher than the average is a factor for wages of technicians, skilled workers and machine operators in Burgas District to be above the average for the country.
The manufacturing industry contributed 22% of the value added in 2015, with 17% of the employees engaged in the sector. For the industrial future of region, the focus should be on attracting investors in high-tech industries, as well as producers in traditional sectors, who optimize their processes so that they are less dependent on the amount of (cheap) labor. The city is striving to attract multinational companies who are looking for offshoring and nearshoring opportunities. Some of these companies are already outsourcing to Bulgaria R&D and product development business processes.
It is important to bear in mind that attracting investors is not limited only to companies that open a business for the first time in Bulgaria but also to established producers with facilities in other regions. These can be both foreign and Bulgarian producers, albeit smaller, but with very strong export potential. For example, Bulgarian machine builders have strong innovation capacity and established development units.
The service economy
Burgas has an excellent cluster of companies providing business services that support the work of industrial enterprises operating in the region. Business services account for 43% of value added and for 32% of jobs in the local economy. Business services include construction, transport and logistics, wholesale, real estate, IT, professional, administrative, financial and telecommunication services.
There is a well-developed infrastructure, sports and leisure locations, developed urban, intercity and public services in the city of Burgas. The good quality of life creates conditions for the development and strategic positioning of Burgas as a city attracting highly qualified specialists, digital nomads and freelancers.