Bulgaria’s Parliament approved at second reading on July 18 amendments to the Concessions Act, meant to simplify the rules for concession tenders for Black Sea beaches.
Beach concessions became subject to the Concessions Act starting January 2019, with the more complex rules prompting complaints from representatives of Bulgaria’s tourism industry and calls to restore the previous status quo, in which beach concessions were handled under the Black Sea Act.
The bill is meant to simplify the tender proceedings, with the Tourism Ministry arguing that beach concessions should not be covered by EU concession rules, which were meant for more complex and higher-value trans-border concessions.
Under the amended law, beach concession tenders would be once again held under Black Sea Act, with the Tourism Ministry as the state institution handling the tender proceedings and monitoring compliance.
Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova said in Parliament that the new rules would increase transparency. She said that 39 beach concession contracts expiring in 2020 would not have to be renewed under the more stringent regulations, which would have increased the risk of unsuccessful tenders.