Procedures for issuing tourist visas to nationals of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Georgia will be eased, Bulgaria Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov and Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova agreed at a meeting held at the Ministry of Tourism.
The decision comes in response to the upcoming tourist season and the aim of the Ministry of Tourism to promote visits of citizens from traditional markets such as Russia and Ukraine, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
This step is part of the measures to counteract the negative trend of decline in early bookings from these countries for summer season 2015. According to recent data, there is a three per cent decline in the number of Russian tourists and eight per cent in the number of Ukrainians compared to the January-November 2014 period.
The measures include issuing short-term double or multiple-entry visas for organised tourism, valid for one year, to previous holders of Bulgarian visas.
Property owners from these countries will also be able to benefit from the facilitation, the ministry said. First-time visitors are entitled to a short-term double or multiple-entry visas for a private trip valid for up to one year, and previous holders of a Bulgarian visa – valid for up to three years.
Minors will also benefit from the visa facilitation. Those wishing to visit Bulgaria for tourism or an organised youth camp (training, sports, cultural exchange) will receive a short-term multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years. The validity of these visas shall not exceed the specified legal age to which such persons shall enjoy the right of free visas, the ministry said.
People with disabilities will also have right to one year double or multiple-entry tourist visas.
The validity of all issued visas will be aligned with the validity of travel documents.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already sent instructions to the diplomatic and consular missions to facilitate the procedure for issuing tourist visas.