Russian Media: Bulgarian Tourism Is Dead

Tourism | September 14, 2011, Wednesday // 12:43|  views

Two of the hundreds of Russians stranded for days in Bulgaria's Black Sea Burgas and Varna airports. Photo by BGNES

The problem with Russian tourists, who were stranded for days at the Black Sea airports of Varna and Burgas, has earned a number of negative comments in Russian media, saying Bulgaria is sloppy and its tourism is dead.

Under a headline "Rotten in Bulgaria – Russian Tourists Ended Being Hostages of Bulgarian Sloppiness," Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes that Bulgaria slowly, but securely is sticking its reputation as a tourist destination.

The article points out that the end of summer season 2011 will become a nightmare for Bulgarian tour operators next year when the majority of Russians will turn their backs to Bulgarian beach resorts. It further talks about a "memorable anti-publicity."

"In the last five days, all Russian media begin and end their news broadcasts with information about Bulgaria – the reports, reminding those from the war and the front lines, announce daily how many Russians still cannot return home from their Bulgarian vacation," writes Rossiyskaya Gazeta, stressing that the reaction of Bulgarian authorities had been too slow to allow them the excuse that they have applied all possible effort.

According to the article, if these had been German or British tourists, not Russian ones, the issue would have been resolved in hours or no more than a day.

"But the Russian brothers can wait. This is the psychology of most Bulgarians, regardless of what officials in Sofia say," the daily stresses.

Meanwhile, the Russian Federal Tourism Agency banned tour operators from sending Russian tourists to Bulgaria through the Alma Tour – St. Petersburg company if the latter cannot guarantee their return home.

Some 700 Russians, 200 Finns and dozens of persons from Lithuania waited for days to get home after their flights were canceled Friday and Saturday, due to an alleged EUR 3.6 M debt to national carrier Bulgaria Air from operator Alma Tours.

85 Russian tourists remain in Burgas as of Wednesday from a total of 175 in Bulgaria with the majority being residents of St. Petersburg. The Russian Federal Aviation Agency is negotiating with Russian carriers to take them home.

The Bulgarian Prosecutor's Office and the business police are probing both Alma Tour and Bulgaria Air. Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, is quoted saying this is no longer a dispute between two companies because Bulgaria's reputation is at stake. Transport Minister, Ivaylo Moskovski, stated that in case the crisis deepens, the cabinet will sanction both companies and could even revoke Bulgaria Air's license.

On Tuesday, Bulgaria Air announced it had started legal actions to collect the EUR 3.6 M owed to it by Alma Tour.

After the staggering criticism, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, announced that the country is already "a failed tourist destination."

"Bulgaria crashed in the very eyes of thousands of foreigners – incompetency is just one of the symbols of the rule of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party," former Interior Minister and BSP Member of the Parliament, Rumen Petkov, declared from the parliamentary tribune.

BSP are also demanding the resignations of the Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, Traicho Traikov, and his Deputy for Tourism, Ivo Marinov, over their failure to deal with the crisis.

In order to rescue the otherwise very strong tourist season, hotel owners in Bulgaria's largest summer resort Sunny Beach decided to accommodate, free of charge, the tourists stranded in Burgas. They are also considering inviting the tourists who spent days at the airport of the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas on a free vacation in June next year.

We need your support so can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!

Tags: Economy and Energy Minister, Traicho Traikov, national carrier Bulgaria Air, tour operator, Alma Tour, strong summer season, Prosecutor's Office, Russia, Russian, Finnish, Finland, Lithuania, Alma Tour, Bulgaria Air, stranded, Burgas, Sunny Beach, Moscow, Black Sea, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, Boris Velchev, Chief Prosecutor, Bulgaria Air, Balkan Airlines, Boyko Borisov, GERB, Russia, Russian, Finland, Helsinki, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Scandinavian, tourists, stranded, license, Boris Velchev, investigation, Alma Tour, Blagoy Ragin, Association of Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Owners, Vesela Cherneva, Border Police, visas, Ivaylo Moskovski


» Related Articles: