Russia Suspends Flights to Bulgaria, Summer Tourist Season at Risk
Russia suspends the flights to Bulgaria for tourists, so this summer will be the second season in a row without Russian tourists on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, told TravelNews Evelina Puleva, member of the Management Board of the Burgas Regional Tourist Chamber.
The last flight of Russian airline S7 to Burgas will be on May 9, she said. So far, one flight a week has been performed since the end of March.
The suspension of flights comes after Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, one of President Vladimir Putin's staunchest supporters, called for official ban on the purchase of properties in Bulgaria, as well as tourist trips to our country.
Tour operators have information from Russian citizens that the Bulgarian Embassy in Moscow does not currently issue visas. Visas are issued only to members of mixed families.
"We are worried about the summer season. The situation is difficult and we cannot endure a second season without Russian, German and British tourists who are among the most important guests for the major resorts", commented Evelina Puleva. According to her, the future caretaker government must take urgent measures.
Recently, German and British tour operators cancelled holidays to Bulgaria for the start of the summer season in May and June. "All trips for May and June to Bulgaria have been cancelled and redirected by the German tour operator DER Touristik", said Kalin Sudev, Manager of Destination Touristic Services, a representative of DER Touristik in Bulgaria, which also includes the tour operator ITS.
The charter airline "Bulgarian Air Charter" has also suspended flights from Germany to Varna and Burgas airports until the end of June. Bookings in Germany and other markets for the Bulgarian Black Sea coast have stalled, said Nina Chamova, General Manager of Suntours, which is a representative of the German tour operator Alltours.
Ivan Groshev, Manager of MTS Bulgaria pointed out that a large part of the bokings are shifted for 2022 rather than the upcoming season. The company is a representative of the German tour operator FTI, the British Jet2Holidays and the Russian "Coral".
Groshev does not foresee the opening of the Russian market this year. The British company has already postponed its programme until June 24 and cancelled all vacations for the start of the season. Groshev expects Bulgaria to fall into the yellow corridor in the UK, which means not being among the safe destinations for travel in the summer. The other major UK tour operator Balkan Holidays UK has also postponed its programme and charters for July.
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