Bulgaria extends hotel scheme for Ukrainian refugees

Bulgaria’s caretaker government has extended until October 31 the programme by which hoteliers are paid to accommodate Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s war on their country.

This is the latest extension of the scheme, which was initiated under the then-government headed by Kiril Petkov as a response to the large numbers of Ukrainians who arrived in Bulgaria after the February 2022 invasion.

The latest phase of the scheme had been scheduled to end on August 31, but in one of its final acts before leaving office, the Petkov government extended the scheme until the end of September.

It is not clear how many Ukrainians are accommodated in hotels or other accommodation in Bulgaria under the scheme, because the statistics on the dedicated portal set up by the Petkov government have not been updated since the caretaker government took office on August 2.

On September 15, a day after the caretaker government decision to extend the scheme until the end of October, Nova Televizia reported hoteliers on the Black Sea coast as complaining that they had still not received most of the funding from the state for participating in the scheme.

The report said that the hoteliers laid the blame on the cumbersome procedures and a lack of good communication with the Tourism Ministry, which is the conduit for the payments.

The hoteliers said that there had been no payments for the second half of June, as well as the months of July and August.

The report quoted Tourism Ministry official Maria Petrova as saying that hoteliers had filed about 900 complaints.

Teams were carrying out 32 checks regarding the aid for accommodation for those who have temporary protection.

She said that on September 14, the ministry had submitted the additional payments for June and July, adding up to about three million leva.

(Photo: Just4You/freeimages.com)

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