Bulgaria sets new rules for hospitality industry – from hotels to campsites
Bulgaria’s cabinet has adopted new regulations on requirements for accommodation, catering and entertainment establishments, saying that obsolete requirements are being abolished and new ones set that comply with the “real situation” in the industry.
At a meeting on August 5, the cabinet adopted the regulations, on the basis of the Tourism Act, on categorisation of tourist facilities.
Facilities will be divided into two categories.
One is Category A, including hotels, motels, tourist apartment complexes, holiday villages, tourist resorts and villas, while Category B will include family hotels, hostels, guest houses, holiday homes, rooms for rent, guest bungalows, campsites, restaurants, fast food outlets, pubs, cafes and bars.
According to a government media statement, the formal requirements for Class B accommodation were being simplified and reduced, “thus creating better conditions for family or small businesses”.
At the same time, the requirements were beign raised for premium class hotels for the sake of the comfort of tourists, the statement said.
For top-class hotels, the regulations set requirements such as the size of television sets in rooms, contents of minibars, among other items, the government statement said.
Special rules are introduced on the construction, furnishing and equipping of hotel rooms and apartments containing appliances and service facilities for people with reduced mobility.
For the first time, requirements are spelt out for breakfast menus, “all-inclusive” deals, the content of room service, among other matters, the statement said, without giving details.
The regulation introduces a requirement that hotel reception should be contactable via dialling “9”, a move intended to make it easier to guests to contact reception especially in an emergency.
Also adopted was a European criterion under the hotel stars system under by which up to 15 per cent of rooms can be of a size smaller than that required for a particular rating, provided that clients have been informed in advance. This relief was aimed at older hotels or hotels in town where it would be difficult to make technical alterations, but offer additional services to their customers, the statement said.
The regulations introduce, for the first time in Bulgaria, conditions that must be met by tourist apartment complexes, hostels and apartments for guests.
Hostel guests must receive a free map of the location, access to an equipped kitchen, a living room with TV and sound system, possibility to use the telephone, maid service, internet access/Wi-Fi and other services.
For tourist apartment complexes, more specific requirements related to the construction of the site and its use are set.
The regulations pay “special attention” to campsites and parts of these intended for use by caravans or motorhomes and where there are tent sites and bungalows.
Minimum requirements for this type of facility being introduced include the availability of electricity, with an electrical power supply for each camping unit.
The regulations introduce a star-rating system for camping areas. For the lowest, one-star rating, the area set aside for a tent must be 32 sq m, for two stars, 40 sq m, and for three stars, 50 sq m.
Places for caravans must also be marked and equipped with access to water and electricity.
Regarding all sites and categories, the regulations spell out requirements for education, vocational and language training that key staff of the site must have.
After the entry into force of the regulations, places of accommodations and catering will have a six-month grace period to bring their activities in line with the new requirements.
All facilities that open after the date of the promulgation of the new regulations will be categorised under the new requirements, the statement said.