Number of foreign tourists visiting Bulgaria more than 24% up on 2008 – statistics institute

More than 10.6 million foreigners visited Bulgaria in 2016, an increase of 24.3 per cent compared with 2008, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said in a report released to coincide with September 27, World Tourism Day.

The largest age group among foreign visitors to Bulgaria was 45 to 64, accounting for 48.4 per cent, the NSI said. This was followed by the 25 to 44 age group, which made up 42.1 per cent.

In top spot among foreign visitors to Bulgaria in 2016 were Germans, a total of 586 794, who spent an average of 6.5 nights in the country.

The next-largest group was Russians, 538 348, who spent 7.3 nights in Bulgaria on average.

In third place was citizens of Macedonia, fourth Turkey, fifth Romania and sixth Serbia.

Top in earnings from foreign tourism was the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Bourgas, which earned 377 million leva (about 193 million euro), followed by the country’s largest Black Sea city, Varna, at 246 million leva.

In 2016, Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia earned 99 million leva (about 50.7 million euro) from foreign tourists, the NSI said.

Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer
Bulgaria’s winter resort Bankso. Photo:
Alexander Nevsky cathedral, Sofia. Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Among Bulgarians going abroad, the favourite destination was Greece, where they spent an average of six nights in 2016.

In second place was Turkey, at 5.2 nights, Macedonia, 2.4 nights, Serbia, 1.8 nights, and Romania, 2.7 nights, according to the NSI report.

(Main photo, of Rila Monastery: Raggatt2000)



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.