Bulgaria’s Minister of Tourism in the caretaker government, Stella Baltova, said in Varna that the country could expect a very good summer season. Her statement was based on preliminary data from businesses in the area of tourism as well as institutions. Baltova was in Varna for a meeting with mayor Ivan Portnih.
According to him, a growth of 11 per cent in Varna is realistic. Portnih said that Varna had become a year-round destination, thanks to cheap airlines, who are increasing their numbers of direct flights to the city at the Black Sea.
Recently, EasyJet announced two new flights, from London and Berlin to Varna. Their competitor Wizz Air is investing 98 million U.S. Dollars into as many as five new Varna routes, which will bring the total number up to seven. A new Airbus A320 owned by Wizz Air will even be based in Varna, starting in July.
Portnih said that large infrastructure projects, such as a water treatment plant in Golden Sands, would definitely help the tourism sector.
According to Baltova, about 20 000 Romanian tourists are expected in Varna during the upcoming Easter holidays. Vacationers from other neighbouring countries, especially from Greece, Macedonia and Serbia, will be spending their Easter holiday in all parts of the country.
The increased number of international flights with Bulgarian destinations scheduled this week, 40 per cent more than during last year’s Easter holidays, are a strong indicator for growth. Balkova said that Sofia Airport had predicted a strong upsurge, regarding the number of passengers flying in from the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and other countries. The Minister was quoted by Bulgarian language media.
Bulgarians who can afford vacations will mainly spend them inside the country. But quite a number of citizens of this country will also visit neighbouring states, as well as Italy, Spain and Germany.
The further increase of the number of tourists in Bulgaria has several reasons:
> Cheap airlines are investing into more flights to Bulgaria.
> Tour operators can offer vacation packages at lower prices, compared to Spain or other destinations.
> Terror fears in Turkey send people to other destinations, including Bulgaria.
> The Ministry of Tourism has made sure Bulgaria, as a tourist destination, was present at international tourism fairs.
While the number of international tourists in Bulgaria has already seen a large increase during the first months of 2017, things are looking even better for the entire year. Bulgaria might actually break last year’s record number of 8 million foreign tourists. Up to one million more might come, most of them will hit the beaches at the Black Sea.
The bad news: The tourism sector could grow even further, if there was no lack of qualified staff. Baltova said that people should be motivated to work in the sector. In order to reach that goal, salaries would have to increase.