Bulgarian Tourism Ministry opens hotline for complaints about breaches of the law
Bulgaria’s Ministry of Tourism has opened a telephone line and set up an e-mail address to receive complaints about breaches of the Tourism Act and poor practices in the industry, minister Nikolina Angelkova said.
The telephone number +359 2 9046895 came into operation on April 10. Tourism ministry officials will note complaints every working day from 9am to 5.30pm. After hours, calls will be recorded by an automated system.
Complaints may also be sent to the e-mail address [email protected].
Angelkova said that the new phone line would operate in parallel with a line opened in 2017 for complaints about problems at Bulgaria’s beach resorts, which she said had proven effective.
She said that a hotel in Chiflik that had been the subject of recent prominent media reports about poor service had been shut down. Reports had showed inadequate food, poor standards of cleanliness and damaged bathrooms.
Angelkova said that there were shortcomings in follow-up control “when it comes to such extreme events” and for that reason, amendments to the Tourism Act were being prepared that would provide for the establishment of an inspectorate at the ministry.
Currently, the ministry had the power to categorise an establishment and, after five years when an establishment applied for renewal of its classification, to carry out a check.
“We have to wait for another body to alert us to irregularities before starting the procedure to take away stars,” Angelkova said.
She said that she hoped that such cases were rare, going by the feedback the ministry had from the large tour operators.
“Their opinion about the four to five-star hotels is very positive,” Angelkova said. The proof was that Bulgaria’s high-class hotels were booked up to 90 per cent for summer 2018.
“We expect a very good summer season with a growth of between five and 10 per cent.”
Bulgaria saw an increase of 5.7 per cent in foreign tourists in summer 2017, Angelkova said.
She said that this coming summer, seasonal workers from “third countries” – meaning those that are not members of the EU – would be hired to make up staff shortages.
This was a temporary solution, and talks were being held with the industry on ways to improve the working conditions and motivation of those employed in the sector, she said.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)