Bulgaria Boasts Optimism for Tourist Summer 2012Tourism | May 29, 2012, Tuesday // 10:44| views
The famous botanical garden in the Black Sea town of Balchik on the northern coast. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria expects a 5% to 8% increase of foreign tourist during summer season 2012, according to the Deputy Economy Minister in charge of the tourist sector, Ivo Marinov.
Marinov spoke during the official launch of "Summer 2012" in the Black Sea town of Balchik, saying the optimism is grounded on early reservations data.
The Deputy Minister further voiced hope that the revenues from the sector will surpass those from last summer and exceed EUR 3 B.
According to Marinov, Balchik, also called the "White Town," is very suitable for the official start of the season since it combines natural, cultural and historical attractions for year-long tourist activities.
"The season here never ends, because even during the winter the hotel occupancy rates reach 40% to 60% of the summer ones, and this is serious proof that the municipality really has ambitions to turn the area into a year-round tourist destination," he said, wishing all in the sector similar success – many and satisfied customers, who would return to Bulgaria again and again.
The increase will be different for the different market segments with the highest one being forecasted for Russia and the Ukraine – about 15%-20%, which comes on the heels of the decision of Bulgaria's government to accept national Schengen visas for Russian citizens. The opening of 9 new visa centers in the Russian Federation is forthcoming and it would bring the total to 16.
The 100 000th visa of a Russian citizen is expected to be issued in the first week of June.
Marinov stressed that his Ministry pays serious attention to projects eligible for EU financing. He also quoted Eurobarometer data, showing that 73% of Bulgarians favor vacations inside the country.
The ceremony was attended by the governor of the Dobrich region, the chairman of the Balchik municipal council, local officials, local and foreign investors, and businessmen from the sector.