Sunny Beach CEO Resigns, 340 Russian Tourists Still Stranded in Bulgaria

Tourism | September 16, 2011, Friday // 16:21|  views

Mariya Mihaleva, former CEO of the Bulgarian state-owned Sunny Beach company (R). Photo by BGNES

Mariya Mihaleva, CEO of the Bulgarian state-owned Sunny Beach company, has resigned, as some 340 Russian tourists are still stranded in the country.

Mihaleva's resignation was demanded earlier Friday by the country's Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism Traicho Traikov. Traikov stated that Mihaleva also works for the Alma Tour tour operator, one of the two Bulgarian companies that triggered the crisis, which suggests a conflict of interests is in place.

"She may continue working for Alma Tour, even though she was coping well in the state-owned Sunny Beach," Traikov told the Bulgarian parliament, as cited by the Dnevnik daily. Sunny Beach is the biggest and most popular holiday resort in Bulgaria.

In an official statement on Friday, Mihaleva did not deny she is on a labor contract with Alma Tour, but pointed out that she had officially announced that fact before being appointed at Sunny Beach. She further stated her position at Alma Tour would not make any conflict of interests possible.

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

On Friday, it was reported that 200 Russian tourists are still stranded at the airport in the southern Bulgarian city of Varna, while another 100 are stranded at the northern Burgas airport. Both groups are to be heading to Saint Petersbourg.

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Tags: mariya mihaleva, Traicho Traikov, tourists, Russia, Sunny Beach, resort, Alma Tour, Bulgaria Air


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