Close to 60 hotels on Bulgaria’s southern Black Sea coast are at risk following the bankruptcy of British holiday firm Thomas Cook and its Bulgarian partner company Astral Holidays, according to a report by Bulgarian National Radio.
The tourism industry is calling on Bulgaria’s government for a rescue operation, both for hoteliers and suppliers, and for the 2020 holiday season.
The Bourgas Regional Tourism Chamber is forecasting a serious decline in tourism over the next three to four years, the report said.
However the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook and Astral Holidays are dealt with, the recovery period for Bulgarian tourism would last from three to five years, according to Bourgas tourism chamber head Ivan Ivanov.
That is why Bulgaria’s tourism and finance ministries should take urgent steps to limit the damage to Bulgarian business after the Thomas Cook bankruptcy, Ivanov said.
“Currently the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Ministry of Finance are not doing anything. First of all, the Ministry of Tourism has to develop a programme to help Bulgarian hoteliers, through the elimination of VAT – where the tourist service is invoiced and nothing is paid.
“The second point is from the government – interest-free loans must be granted in order to pay for hoteliers and suppliers. Otherwise, there will be massive bankruptcies – both of suppliers and of hoteliers,” Ivanov said.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)