According to the Law on the Protection and Development of Culture, the Minister of Culture is in charge of preparing and submitting for approval to the Council of Ministers a draft tariff for the fees that cultural institutes may collect. At the same time, all state cultural institutes offer discounts on ticket prices or free admission for children and young people under the age of 16-18, retirees, and disadvantaged people.
According to data from the National Statistics Institute a total of 5 084 387 people have visited Bulgarian museums in 2018, 1 024 552 of those visits have been free of charge.
Currently, there are several key programmes in Bulgaria that promote cultural participation and consumption in the country.
Traditionally, Sofia’s Culture Programme supports projects aimed at developing audiences. In the period 2019-2020, the programme prioritizes its Access to Culture programme and funds cultural projects that focus on topics that provoke the interest of specific audiences. In addition, projects providing preferential conditions for attracting specialised audiences and/or partnering with schools, social services, specialised institutions and other disadvantaged organisations will be supported. One of the goals of the programme is to include people who live outside the city centre and traditionally have much lower access to cultural life in the capital. The funds distributed under the Culture Programme in Sofia come from the municipal budget.
On the other hand, there is the National Culture Fund, whose funds are raised mainly from the state budget. Over the years, NFC has continued to fund projects in all areas of the arts and culture that address social issues and causes, or implement a creative process to engage and engage diverse audiences.
The programme Cultural Entrepreneurship, Heritage and Cooperation, funded under the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2014-2021, is currently running. Among its foreseen results is improved access to culture and the arts.
Tourist maps, including opportunities for sightseeing, access to public transport and more, are not popular in Bulgaria. For example, a metropolitan municipality does not offer such a service.
In 2019, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education signed an agreement that students in grades one through ten were allowed to go to the theatre for free (see chapter 5.1). Schools and kindergartens have to submit requests for desired visits, which happens when applying for a special programme. Each school has the right to participate with one project worth BGN 2500 (EUR 1277). Within the framework of the agreement, the actors will visit the schools to present literary works to students.
In 2018, a similar agreement was signed by the two ministries, but in the fields of museums, galleries and cultural heritage. According to this agreement, museums and art galleries can hold classes, covering state, regional and municipal cultural institutes in the field. The document provides for the creation and introduction of museum education programmes. These programmes are also announced on the websites of museums and galleries at the beginning of each school year. The purpose of both ministries is to make these programmes part of general education training and the extracurricular activities.
The Ministry of Culture indicated that such a document was being produced as a draft in the field of libraries as well in 2018.