Bulgaria's Seaside Struggle: Shortage of Lifeguards and Medics Threatens Summer Season

Tourism | May 12, 2024, Sunday // 09:48|  views

The seaside resorts of Bulgaria are facing an urgent shortage of lifeguards and medical personnel, exacerbated by new regulations mandating a higher presence of medical specialists at rescue stations. This shortage is not only causing uncertainty for hotels and restaurants along the coast but has also been a longstanding issue during the summer months in providing adequate medical staff.

Recent changes to water rescue regulations have heightened concerns about the upcoming summer season. The most significant alteration requires a doubling of medical specialists at each water area, catching concessionaires off guard with little time to adapt. The Association of Sea Beach Concessionaires has expressed frustration at the sudden implementation of these requirements, leaving them scrambling to meet the new standards.

For beach concessionaires, hotel owners, and spa complexes, the new regulations pose significant challenges in finding qualified medical personnel within a short timeframe. Previously, only one medical professional was required per beach, but the new rules mandate a medical team for every five posts, along with a resuscitation team equipped with a mobile unit.

The shortage of medical specialists in the country makes it difficult to comply with these requirements, especially considering the need for professionals to meet Bulgarian qualifications. Ivo Stefanov, manager of the industry association, highlights the impracticality of sourcing such specialists within the limited timeframe before the official opening of the beach season on June 1.

The association is advocating for a postponement of the regulation's enforcement, arguing that the sudden increase in requirements will lead to additional costs for businesses, potentially forcing some to close. Concessionaires who manage to meet the staffing demands may be compelled to raise prices for beach services, impacting visitors through higher rental fees and increased prices for food and beverages. Overall, the industry association warns that these regulatory changes risk disrupting the upcoming summer season and imposing financial burdens on businesses and tourists alike.

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Tags: Bulgaria, seaside, lifeguards, shortage


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