Bulgaria’s hospitality industry will again import staff from Ukraine and Moldova for its summer holiday resorts because of a lack of local qualified seasonal workers.
This has been the trend in recent years as qualified Bulgarians prefer to seek higher pay at resorts in Europe and elsewhere.
Bulgaria’s Black Sea summer resorts face a shortfall of waiters, bartenders, room maintenance staff and chefs.
Konstantin Zankov of the Institute for Analysis and Research of Tourism told Bulgarian National Television that in 2019, there was a significant drop in early bookings.
“We expect a five per cent decline in the season, but that should motivate us even more, so that companies, hoteliers, restaurants and tour operators are much more active. Many competitor countries have returned to the tourism sector and have taken many of our key markets, but we generally hope for a successful tourist season.”
Pavlin Kossev, head of the Varna Association of Hotel and Restaurant Owners, said that there had been talk for years about the shortage of staff.
The problem was getting worse, and was not only a problem in Bulgaria, he said.
The basic requirement for staff, such as bartenders and waiters, was secondary or tertiary education, as well as fluency in a foreign language, mainly English, Russian or German.
However, people with such qualifications rarely apply for seasonal work. Monthly pay for summer seasonal jobs, depending on the job, is about the average for Varna, 800 leva (about 400 euro).
Given the problems in attracting Bulgarian staff to work at summer holiday resorts – and, for that matter, winter resorts – the country’s government in recent years has moved to ease bureaucratic procedures and requirements for temporary residence by seasonal workers from other countries.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)