Bulgaria’s Tourism Minister: Domestic tourism resumes on May 13

Domestic tourism in Bulgaria will resume on May 13, when the end of the State of Emergency means that the ban falls away, but it is not clear when the country will start receiving foreign holidaymakers, Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova told Bulgarian National Television on May 8.

The Tourism Minister imposed a ban on organised tourism excursions within Bulgaria, as well as to and from the country, as the State of Emergency to contain the spread of Covid-19 came into effect on March 13.

Angelkova said that the resumption of domestic tourism would begin next week with the gradual re-opening of guest houses and small hotels, which would have to comply with sanitary measures against the spread of the virus.

Concession-holders of beaches in Bulgaria have objected publicly to Bulgaria’s ruling coalition plans that umbrellas and sunbeds be provided free of charge to encourage visits to beaches.

To save the season, there should be benefits for tourists, but they should not be at the expense of concession-holders, Angelkova said.

Angelkova said that so far, no tour operator had gone bankrupt. “Unfortunately, this does not mean that will not happen in this extremely difficult situation in the coming months.”

She said that the possibility of resuming flights after June 15 is currently being discussed at European and international level.

On May 7, speaking after a meeting of the parliamentary committee on legal affairs, Angelkova said that beach concession-holders who want a 20 per cent or 50 per cent reduction in the concession fee should reciprocally reduce prices of umbrellas by at least 20 and 50 per cent, respectively.

The ministry is placing a strong emphasis on domestic tourism this year to encourage the sector to get out of trouble faster, she said.

For large tour operators, Bulgaria falls into the group of low-risk destinations, coping very well with the consequences of the infection and it has taken adequate isolation measures in time, Angelkova said.

“We are in talks with Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Romania, Greece, Ukraine, Israel, Moldova, Serbia, the Republic of North Macedonia, Turkey and other countries that have shown interest in Bulgaria as a summer destination,” she said.

“The tour operators with whom we work most actively on the German market, for example, have planned to start charters from June 14 and we have no cancelled reservations.

“We are in constant dialogue with the neighbouring countries, whose tourists use mainly road transport. We also rely on them for the faster recovery of the sector,” Angelkova said.

(Archive photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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