Bulgaria's Tourism Board Opposes Smoking Ban Cancellation
Bulgaria's National Tourism Board has cautioned that lifting the full smoking ban in enclosed public places may result in a wave of reimbursement claims.
Rumen Draganov, member of the National Tourism Board, called for refraining from a cancellation of the smoking ban for the time being.
Speaking after a meeting of representatives of the Board with MPs of center-right party GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria), he explained that contracts had been signed with foreign tour operators for 4 800 000 holidays in 2014 and a total of 150 000 sales had been registered.
Draganov, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA), pointed out that these contracts had already been signed and any change to the terms of the agreement would give the other party a reason to claim compensation.
He emphasized that it was not possible for Bulgaria to withdraw all brochures from over 32 000 tourist agencies all over the world.
He explained that although the brochures did not explicitly specify whether there was a smoking ban in Bulgaria, the abolition of this regime involved a change to the conditions and it was mandatory for the country to announce the step in order to prevent claims.
Draganov suggested that the claims of the initiators of the legal amendments to the Health Act that the tourism was in dire straits were untrue.
He noted that the 2013 tourist season had been successful and the number of foreign visitors to Bulgaria was expected to exceed 9 million.
"There are problems in Bulgaria's tourist sector but it certainly cannot be asserted that the sector is in decline or the indicators have dropped since the introduction of the smoking ban," he said.
The National Tourism Board called for meetings with representatives of the other parliamentary groups.
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