80% of Foreign Tourists Back Bulgaria's Full Smoking Ban – OfficialTourism | October 28, 2013, Monday // 15:38| views
Some 80% of the foreign tourists who visit Bulgaria approve of the country’s full smoking ban in enclosed public spaces, according to a local tourists association chair.
Bayko Baykov, chair of the Association of Bulgarian Tour Operators and Travel Agents, expressed his support on Monday for keeping the full smoking ban.
“It is not true that the turnover of establishments has decreased. What European tourists want is to have holidays in a clean environment and enjoy a clean nature,” Baykov said, as cited by dnevnik.bg.
He stated that the 5% increase in foreign tourists during the previous winter season in Bulgaria was precisely the result of the smoking ban.
Last week, the Bulgarian Parliament’s economy committee adopted at first reading a proposal for amendments to the Health Act aiming to ease the smoking ban in public spaces.
Under the amendments proposed by the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party, the smoking ban would remain in force for administrative buildings, offices, kindergartens, schools, hospitals, and fast food restaurants, but will be lifted for establishments whose area is under 70 square meters. Their owners would be able to choose if the establishment would be smoke-free or not.
The proposed amendments have been met with widespread public criticism, with some 60% of Bulgarians backing the existing ban, according to polls.
The full smoking ban was introduced in June 2012 by the country’s former center-right cabinet.
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