Bulgaria’s Tourism Minister has defended a controversial plan to set up police checkpoints throughout the Black Sea resort of Sunny Beach.
The plan was hatched after the June 8 shootout at a beach bar in Sunny Beach in which Dimitar “Mityo The Eyes” Zhelyzakov was critically injured, his bodyguard killed and another bodyguard injured. It was the first such dramatically violent incident in a number of years.
Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova accepted the Interior Ministry’s idea to set up the checkpoints, Bulgarian National Radio said.
“At the moment there are checkpoints in Sunny Beach, which the company regulates with private security systems. It would be much better to have joint teams with the Interior Ministry, so that the peace and security of tourists would be guaranteed to the utmost, you don’t imagine that everyone will be stopped,” Angelkova said.
She said that the checkpoints would be run by the Interior Ministry, not by a private company, as was the case until now. It was very important for every tourist to guarantee their security and peace of mind “and I believe that these are timely measures”.
Earlier, reports said that hoteliers were concerned about the impact that the checkpoints throughout the resort would have on their business.
Angelkova disagreed with claims by hoteliers that this summer season would not be that strong.
Citing national statistics, she said that this June was seeing 20 per cent growth compared to last year. “We expect in September we will have growth of this kind too.”
She said that next year, revenue from tourism would increase after work on an information system for the registration of tourists and their personal data, which would have maximum security.
The software and registers of hotels would be linked to the National Revenue Agency, Interior Ministry, municipalities, State Agency for National Security and the national tourist register. “The data will not be public,” Angelkova underlined.
(Photos: Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism)