Bulgaria's Tourism Industry Calls for Anti-Crisis Measures
Stressing that the annual occupancy rate of hotels is 20%, Blagoy Ragin, Chair of the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (BHRA), has called on the government to implement anti-crisis measures.
In a Thursday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), he spoke in favor of the introduction of multiple-entry visas for Russian-speaking and Turkish tourists and for the allocation of 1% of the revenues in the sector to external advertising.
"If multiple-entry visas for a period of 5 years are introduced for Russian-speaking and Turkish tourists and if 1% of the revenues in the sector go to external advertising, the number of holidaymakers from these countries is expected to grow by 10% on an annual basis over the next 5 years," Ragin stated.
"If we get help for advertising and visas, we may achieve an annual occupancy rate of 30%, our aim being at least 40%. If we manage to reach 40% through external advertising and visas, this means that we will double tourism revenues, turnover rates and visitor numbers in 5 years," he explained.
Ragin made clear that 80% of Russian tourists preferred holidays by the sea, adding that they were also interested in visiting Bulgarian monasteries, ski and spa resorts. He informed that a tourist left around EUR 1000-5000 in the Bulgarian economy during their stay. Ragin also noted that a total of 350 000 Russians owned property in Bulgaria.
The BHRA Chair explained that Turkish tourists were interested in visiting winter resorts in Bulgaria.
He said that preliminary data indicated a growth by 4-5% in tourist numbers on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast this season.
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ALL ministries are "on holiday" - that's why all those people are mooching around Sofia demonstrating and besides, it's tough work finding places to stash your ill-gotten loot these days. Until the tourist resorts get cleaned up there's no point in encouraging more tourists in to be fleeced, so that "businessmen" tax-dodgers can get even richer and pay off their cronies in government.
The fact that most Brits can't find us on a map is no reflection on the tourist authorities but rather on the lack of education in the UK - and I bet those same people can't point to Salford on a map either....
We certainly need to improve both the quality of tourist accommodation, but also the quantity and quality of the people who come here: Brits vomiting and fighting in the streets isn't exactly an attractive prospect for normal families from any country and nor are the hordes of local "ethnic" hookers and pickpockets. As long as they stick to the Black Sea Wasteland however an increase in tourists and the revenue they bring would be welcome - once we get a real government into office.
I have to wonder what the Minister of Tourism is doing. Bulgaria offers as much if not more in terms of climate, history and culture than Spain. At half the cost. I am British and have retired here after purchasing a holiday home 8 years ago. 3 major ski resorts with similar seasons to Spain. A varied coast line with warmer water than the med. Limitless history throughout the country which is accessible with trackiya 1. Easy access to Turkey and Greece for those with plenty of time. When in UK I tell people about where I live, most can't identify Bulgaria on a map. Let alone tell you anything about the country. What are the marketing people doing? As a tourist destination we are a direct competition to Spain. Apart from the cost of flights I can't see anything to make Spain compare with Bulgaria. A little less income to the airport costs for carriers and a sustained marketing campaign across Northern Europe from Finland to Belgium as well as the Ukraine and Russia. We have a Belgium, Dutch, Russian, Ukrainian families as well as some Brits in our village. There are further families with holiday homes. The golf is starting to take off. The Oligarchs might own the hotels and some other facilities. As long as they pay their taxes it is the responsibility of government to market the country. It is still developing, but as Europe is moving out of recession it is vital for the Tourism Industry to work together to market this beautiful country. At this moment of time it would appear the Tourism Ministry is on holiday.
"Ragin also noted that a total of 350 000 Russians owned property in Bulgaria."....................
Well, therein lies part of the problem of low tourist rates. If 350,000 Russians alone, did not or were not allowed to own property for holiday purposes, then you would then earn that potential revenue in hotel bookings. Whoever thought of that idea only looked at the short term benefits. Not a smart move logically!! So why cut off your nose to spite your face?
Also, unless you want a cheap as chips holiday and are not fussed about low quality service and accomodation standards, you wouldn't choose BG as a holiday destination. There are other more competitive destinations in the world now and some tourists like to have variety, not the same old place every time they travel.
Also, there has been so much overdevelopment on the coast with eave to eave tacky hotels and apartments galore, that they now cannot be filled to capacity and which lie empty for most of the year. This creates a very unattractive ghost town effect and is rather creepy. Sunny Beach is a perfect example. And the environment and coast of BG has been ruined forever. Again, lack of long term thought and planning, but hey, the Oligarchs and Developers have made their fortunes and are laughing all the way to the bank. Everyone else is wondering how to make a living.
I understand that the chairman has to give this numbers as he is not personal guilty for the 100% over on capacity of hotels c.q. hotelrooms all over the country, as well in the big cities, along the coast and area´s like Bansko.
Another problem he gets to face is that there is hardly money this way to do the normal maintainance and even safety rules for things like fire, water etc will get under havey pressure.