Bulgaria rejects Merkel’s call to shut all ski resorts in EU

Bulgaria’s Tourism Minister has responded to a bid by German chancellor Angela Merkel to reach an EU-wide decision to keep all of the bloc’s ski resorts closed until early January by emphasising Bulgaria’s restrictive measures in mountain resorts against the spread of Covid-19.

Tourism Minister Mariana Nikolova said in a statement posted on her ministry’s website on November 26, headlined as a response to Merkel, that unlike most European countries, which she said were gradually taking steps to remove restrictions, Bulgaria was introducing new restrictive measures that would take effect on November 27 at 11.30pm and continue until December 21.

Nikolova referred to the restrictions approved by the Cabinet that would take effect on November 27, and added that as early as October 21, uniform rules for anti-epidemic and sanitary measures were introduced in the resorts in connection with the upcoming 2020/2021 winter season.

“The goal is for all tourist places to have the same practices to ensure health and the safety of tourists, and Bulgaria to protect its status as a healthy and safe destination,” Nikolova said.

“To date, we can definitely say that the ski resorts of Borovets, Bansko and Pamporovo meet the requirements as a result of their serious investments,” she said.

Inspections by the Ministry of Tourism had confirmed the high level of safety and security in winter resorts, Nikolova said.

No compromises would be made with anti-epidemic measures, she said.

“As in the summer season, so in the winter, Bulgaria will rely mainly on domestic tourism, as well as guests from neighbouring Balkan countries. German tourists who practice winter sports in Bulgaria are generally few in number,” Nikolova said.

And this season all charter programmes from Germany had been cancelled, she added.

“We expect all our fellow citizens, from tomorrow, to strictly observe the restrictive measures introduced by the government, so that we can calmly and safely celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays with our loved ones in our favourite places,” she said.

(Photo: Lance Nelson of banskoblog.com)

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