Deputy Minister Irena Georgieva participates in the 21st Annual Meeting of the Association of Bulgarian Tour Operators and Travel Agents

16 June 2022

Opportunities to support the tourism sector were discussed by the Association of Bulgarian Tour Operators and Travel Agents (ABTTA) at its twenty-first annual meeting in Bansko. At the official opening, Deputy Minister of Tourism Irena Georgieva summarized the problems and challenges in the sector and the measures being taken to address them.

At the start of summer, the biggest challenge facing the sector remains the global crises - the military actions in Ukraine, the negative effects of the pandemic, disrupted supply chains and the resulting inflation. “The Ministry of Tourism has assisted the Council of Ministers throughout the war crisis in Ukraine and the accommodation of displaced persons. Currently, more than 27 000 displaced persons are accommodated in Bulgarian hotels and the value of the aid paid to the hotels and accommodation facilities is more than BGN 70 million,” the Deputy Minister said.

The 35 euro per seat measure to stimulate inbound tourism has also been restored, with 25 million BGN earmarked in the budget for tour operators that use air carriers licensed for charter flights to Bulgaria for tourism purposes, Georgieva said. In recent months, financial aid worth BGN 60 million has been implemented under two schemes to support the tourism sector and BGN 6 million for tour operators to overcome the effects of COVID-19, the Deputy Minister said.

As a result of these measures, tourism in the first quarter of this year has reached levels of 80 percent compared to the pre-pandemic period. The number of Bulgarian and foreign tourists grew by about 40 percent, and the growth of foreign tourists alone was about two and a half times compared to last year. The number of planned flights for the 2022 summer season is more than 8,500 for the airports in Varna and Burgas, which is also an increase compared to 2021, Deputy Minister Georgieva said. Tourists are expected from Romania, Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Israel, as well as other markets, she added.

According to her, it is important to continue paying attention to the Bulgarian tourist. “As you know, our Black Sea resorts in the past two summer seasons were mostly full of our compatriots and we need to work together to keep them here - not only on the sea, but also to show them all the beauties and opportunities that Bulgaria offers,” the Deputy Minister said. At this stage the forecasts are that Bulgarians will make at least 2 million trips for the summer season with accommodation in Bulgaria, and probably more.

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