Bulgaria’s Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova said on March 17 that she had banned group tourist excursions, within Bulgaria and to and from the country, until April 13.
Addressing a briefing at the Cabinet building, Angelkova said that people who continued to go on tourist excursions, at the time of the coronavirus situation, showed a severe lack of responsibility. For some time, the Bulgarian government had urged people not to travel, she said.
Bookings for July and August could still go ahead but that could change. “I cannot say if there will be a summer tourist season,” Angelkova said.
A total of 483 Bulgarians are currently on excursions in several foreign countries, ranging from Morocco to Burma to New Zealand.
Transport Minister Rossen Zhelyazkov told a separate briefing on March 17: “This is not the time for tourism, it is time for responsibility”.
Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said that it had been noticed that in spite of appeals to people not to go on tourism trips, they were still doing so.
She said that every three hours, information on the Foreign Ministry website about the situation in countries abroad was updated.
Zhelyazkov is to participate on March 18 in an online conference of EU transport ministers.
“In addition to its commitment to provide a transport corridor to Turkey, and from there to Asia, Bulgaria is committed to ensuring the normal functioning of the economy for goods and services vital to our economy and our compatriots,” he said.
Asked if Bulgaria would close its air space, Zhelyazkov said that this could not be done right now because there were still many Bulgarians to come home.
Whether the list of countries from which travellers are to be barred entry to Bulgaria would be expanded would depend on developments, he said.
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(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)