20% Fewer West Europeans to Spend Summer Holidays in Bulgaria - Expert
Bulgaria's hospitality industry has recorded a recent 20% decline in the early bookings of tourists from Germany, Britain and the Scandinavian countries.
According to Bayko Baikov, president of the Association of Bulgarian Tour Operators and Travel Agents, one of the reasons behind the drop in tourist numbers is the crisis in Ukraine, as Bulgaria is considered a part of Southeast Europe, Pressa Daily reported.
"Unfortunately, Bulgarian administration neglects the importance of an information campaign which will distance Bulgaria from the conflict, therefore part of the West European tourists have decided to postpone their trips to Bulgaria and will spend their holidays in the Mediterranean countries, mainly in Italy and Spain," Baykov said.
The lower numbers of West European tourists can be compensated by attracting visitors from the Balkan countries. However, Bulgaria has launched an advertisement campaign solely in Romania and has turned its back on Serbia, Macedonia, Turkey and Greece, Baykov claimed.
In the summer of 2013, a total of 451,905 Germans, 141,737 Brits and 121,294 tourists fro the Scandinavian countries have spent their holiday in Bulgaria, Pressa Daily reminds.
The decline of Western tourists' early bookings in Bulgaria is at the expense of the significant increase on the Greek market, Elena Ivanova, Chair of the Owners Union of the Black sea resort of Sunny Beach explained.
However, Rumen Draganov, Director of the Institute for Tourism Analysis and Assessment is positive that between July 25 and August 30 Bulgaria's resorts will be fully booked.
In his words, no Russian or Ukrainian tourists under major contracts have canceled their holidays in Bulgaria so far.
According to tourist agencies estimates, Bulgarian tourists spent nearly EUR 50 M in Greece over the long holidays between May 1 and 6.
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