Bulgaria’s summer 2020 tourist season lost a billion euro because of Covid-19 – report

Bulgaria’s summer 2020 tourist season lost close to a billion euro because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the optimistic forecast that Bulgarian domestic tourists would save the season did not come true, according to a report by Bulgarian National Television.

The number of foreign tourists who came to Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast was about 1.5 million fewer than last year, with revenue down by about 75 per cent, the report said.

Many Bulgarians did opt to holiday in their own country, but this did not compensate for the financial loss from the lack of foreign tourists.

The report cited Bulgarian Tourist Chamber data showing that the number of Bulgarian domestic holidaymakers at the coast was down by 2.5 per cent compared with 2019.

To some extent, the season on Bulgaria’s northern Black Sea coast was saved by Romanian tourists, but a big blow to the industry was the cancellation of charter flights by German tour operators.

A severe financial blow came in mid-August, when Germany declared Bulgaria a risky destination. Many hoteliers were forced to close at the beginning of September, earlier than usual.

The report quoted a hotelier as saying that the state’s strategy to support the tourism sector was correct but poorly structured.

Anton Stratiev, owner of a hotel in Bulgaria’s Golden Sands resort, said: “The aid that the state announced for the tourism sector turned out to be much smaller than it really should have been”.

Professor Stoyan Marinov of the Varna Tourist Chamber said that customarily, 70 per cent of the tourists on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast were foreigners. “If we talk about them, we have lost about 1.4 million overnight foreign tourists, lost about 10 million nights, and in revenue that is somewhere between 800 million and a billion euro in losses.”

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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