Bootstrapping a Tourism Campaign – An Interview with Martin Grahovski

The One With Martin Grahovski

Martin Grahovski launched 3 Minute Bulgaria in the hope of inspiring people from around the world to visit his home country, Bulgaria. What started as a bootstrapped tourism campaign became a national sensation, and Martin became an inspiration for young people trying to 'rebrand' their countries.

Posted by European Heroes on Tuesday, August 7, 2018

What do you think is the main reason why some people don’t care about your topic?

I think many people care about my topic actually – the question of whether or not a country is showcased in the most interesting and authentic way is compelling without having to be a patriot or nationalist. Everyone who enjoys travelling cares about how their own homeland is shown on a global level.

Bulgaria is a country where many people complain about the amount of money being spent on tourism campaigns that don’t properly represent what everyone here “feels” Bulgaria is. This is a persistent issue that has been brought up most recently with Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. 

It’s a topic that’s important because, in the end, it’s not only a question about how well a video is shot but also about where the priorities of the country lie when deciding how to allocate the budget most effectively.

If you were the president of your country for one day, what would you change about how Bulgaria is portrayed to tourists?

I think the main thing that I would change is to simply stop spending large sums of money on media companies to create content that doesn’t get anywhere. Young people and travelers are already putting out content for free that is infinitely more authentic than what the government and ministries are creating.

In that sense, I would create media campaigns entirely focused on spontaneously country wide travels driven by individuals and not companies. Everyone from social media influencers to local villagers would be given the opportunity to portray what their version of Bulgaria is to a large audience.

Do you have a personal motto?

It is what it is.

What has inspired your activism for improving the image of your country?

I wouldn’t exactly call myself an activist because I don’t see my project as bringing about either political or social change as much as it’s simply there to remind people that you don’t need a lot of money or any financial gain to create something genuine.

That being said, it’s impossible to pick one particular inspiration but, for me, most of the YouTubers I follow are incredibly inspiring in the sense that they’ve created a career out of showing the world through their specific viewpoint to highly engaged audiences. Anyone from Casey Neistat to Yes Theory are exciting people to watch because they remind me on a daily basis that there’s no excuse to not film – in the same way that there’s no excuse to not pick up a camera and create an entire tourism campaign for a country if you feel it’s needed.

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