Bulgarian capital Sofia’s tourism figures recover, but still far from pre-crisis levels

There was a 44 per cent increase in tourists visiting Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia in 2021 compared with 2020, but in spite of the positive trend, the figures remained below pre-crisis levels, the municipality said on February 15.

In 2021, Sofia municipality earned 1.26 billion leva in tourist tax, compared with 964 000 leva in 2020, the municipality said.

It said that the potential of Sofia as a tourist destination would continue to develop this year.

The municipality had produced a “Wine Map of Sofia” and planned to produce two more maps: “Meet the Birds of Sofia” and “Art in Sofia”. These maps were intended to cater for both Bulgarian and foreign tourists, it said.

Current data showed that tourists stayed in Sofia for an average two days, while the growth in overnight stays was 50 per cent.

The largest group of tourists in Sofia was in the 30-44 age group, while men significantly outnumbered women.

In 2021, Bulgarians made up 52 per cent of tourists in Sofia, with foreigners accounting for 48 per cent.

There was a 90 per cent increase in visitors from Romania in 2021 on an annual basis, while the numbers of tourists from Germany, Italy, France, Turkey, Israel and the United States were increasing, the municipality said.

For more than 70 per cent of foreign tourists in Sofia, it was their first visit, while the rest had visited the city more than twice, Sofia municipality said.

It said that 74 per cent of those polled said that they would return to Sofia.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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