Tourism Minister: 4.5 Million Foreigners Visited Bulgaria Last SummerTourism | December 5, 2015, Saturday // 16:28| views
Bulgarian Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova. Photo: BGNES
Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova stated on Saturday that 4.5 million foreign tourists visited Bulgaria in the summer of this year, which represented a drop of 3.3 %.
Angelkova added that according to expectations, the number of tourists from Ukraine and Russia decreased by 25 %.
However there was a forecast for 30 % increase in the number of Russian tourists, she said in an interview for Darik radio.
Furthermore, based on data from early bookings, a growth of 5-7 % is expected in the forthcoming winter season compared to last year.
The minister noted that preparations for the next summer season have started as early as May this year.
In her words, summer tourism is more favourable for Bulgaria in terms of revenues and number of visitors, with it accounting for 70 % of all kinds of tourism.
The share of winter tourism is around 20 %, with the remaining 10 % shared between the other kinds of tourism.
Although the last summer was a tough one, it was not as difficult and bleak as had been suggested by initial forecasts in the beginning of the year.
As regards the Russian market, the bookings made so far retain their level from last year, but their number is expected to increase both for the winter and summer.
Angelkova said that concrete measures have been taken for Russian tourists, who are among the main target groups for Bulgaria.
She explained that visa facilitation for Russian tourists is being discussed with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov.
Next week Angelkova is to meet her Russian counterpart in Moscow.
Furthermore, there is proposal for increasing the number of visa centers as well as easing the access to them.
Another measure foresees the submission of requests in advance, which will facilitate the issue of visas in the space of 24-48 hours.
Options were also discussed for additional reduction of visa prices and entitling other groups, such as pensioners, to free visas, as is currently the case with children.
Angelkova revealed that leading Russian tour operators visited Bulgaria in the space of seven days in order to examine the conditions offered by the country.
The minister reminded that Bulgaria has the potential to develop as a year-round tourist destination as, unlike other countries, it has the opportunity to offer all kinds of products.
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