The ski season at Bulgaria’s winter mountain resorts of Bansko and Pamporovo closed on April 19, with both reporting an increase in tourists from Balkan countries and neither significantly troubled by the decrease in Russian holidaymakers.
The ski season at Bansko had been extended by a week further than the initially planned date for the closing of the season. Tourist business at the resort had been “stable” compared to the previous season, local television station bTV said.
Ivan Obreikov, chief executive of the Yulen company at Bansko, said, “we are very satisfied with the way the ski world cup turned out and would like to see that repeated next season”.
There had been a plentiful supply of season throughout the season thanks to a combination of natural snowfall and snow machines, the report said.
The large hotels had relied for business on group visits and reduced prices.
There was a notable lack of Russian tourists, while most visitors had come from Balkan countries, with increased numbers of visitors from Romania, Serbia and Macedonia, with a particularly notable increase in Turkish tourists, hotel owner Yanka Rahova said.
Pamporovo said that the reason had seen eight per cent more tourists than the previous season.
Pamporovo company executive director Marian Belyakov said that, “for us it was a very successful season, in the difficult circumstances in which the country finds itself, the overall European economy and difficulties in the tourist industry as a whole”.
Because Russian tourists were not a major market share in Pamporovo, their absence did not have a significant influence. At the same time, Pamporovo also saw a significant increase in winter holidaymakers from Turkey.
Belyakov said that the number of Turkish tourists was up by 15 per cent, and was optimistic that the increase would continue in coming winter seasons.
Pamporovo had a good season in spite of the lack of snow at higher altitudes and the heavy snowfall that caused serious disruptions to road travel in the late winter.
At Borovets, Bulgaria’s other major winter holiday resort, the season is to close officially on April 26.