Experts Reject Outflow of Ukrainian Tourists from Bulgaria
Blagoy Ragin, Chair of the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (BHRA), has rejected claims of an outflow of Ukrainian tourists from Bulgaria.
Ragin, as cited by investor.bg, explained Friday that Bulgaria had not given up attempts to attract more Ukrainian tourists, adding that in a few days' time, Bulgaria would participate in a big tourist expo in Kiev and shortly after that in an international tourism exchange in Moscow.
He said that Bulgaria's participation in these events had been confirmed in talks with Branimir Botev, Deputy Minister in charge of tourism.
In an interview for the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), Ragin informed that some 700 000 Russians and 300 000 Ukrainians had spent the holidays in Bulgaria in 2013.
He claimed that 360 000 Russian families had bought property on the Black Sea coast, thereby supporting the livelihoods of the residents of several Black Sea towns.
He said that there could be no talk of an outflow of Ukrainian tourists at this stage, adding that the problem was that their currency was losing value.
Stoyan Marinov, member of the Varna Chamber of Tourism, was also optimistic that the number of Ukrainian tourists visiting Bulgaria would not drop.
He argued that Ukrainians mostly booked last minute holidays and it was too early now to draw conclusions about a decline in bookings, as some tourist agencies had already done.
Marinov pointed out that Ukrainians accounted for the fifth biggest group of tourists in Bulgaria's northern Black Sea coast in the summer season, adding that the largest number of visitors came from Russia, followed by Germany, Romania and Greece.
He argued that there was a tangible outflow in tourists in Crimea resorts due to the political instability in the region.
Marinov noted that tourists did not like to go to places plagued by unrest, suggesting that Ukrainian holidaymakers could opt for Bulgaria, where the situation was calm.
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