Despite the expectations of a very good tourist seasonhoteliers of Varna let’s say that at the beginning of July there are not many holidaymakers.
Hotel occupancy is around 35% and is unlikely to reach 2019 levels, when there were almost no vacancies. According to the industry, the lack of tourists is due to rising inflation, the war in Ukraine and insufficient publicity of Bulgaria in important European markets.
The tourist season on the northern Black Sea coast began at the end of June, and not in May as usual. There is also an exodus of tourists, says the industry.
“Tour operators expected bookings to pick up in the summer months, that’s not a fact“, explains Ventsislav Tanchev, director of a tourist agency in Varna.
Since the war in Ukraine, many of the first bookings that foreshadowed a good season have been canceled and there are not many new ones.
“At the moment, we can’t even reach last year’s levels, in terms of occupancy. Unfortunately, the price is not the determining factor, because we are working on contracts that we concluded last year. We also give very big discounts, and yet there are simply no reservations“, explained the hotelier Stella Deyanova.
In Stella Deyanova’s hotel there are tourists from Bulgaria, Poland, Moldova, Romania and even Ukraine. However, only a third of vacancies are filled.
“Those who come, come carefully, come a few days at a time. There are no stays as long as us. We completely forgot about the Russian market“, explains Deyanova.
“Hotel occupancy averages 40-50%, which is not traditional. It’s usually around 65-70%, in some hotels a bit more“, explained Pavlin Kosev, president of the Varna Association of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers.
There are tourists who spend their holidays every year in the resorts near Varna. Others chose neighboring countries. The industry calls on the state to boost tourism with tax breaks and increase publicity for Bulgaria in important European markets. Tour operators have urged Bulgarians to choose their native Black Sea coast this summer.
“It is unlikely that in the coming years holidays in Bulgaria will be as advantageous in terms of price as they are now. The price increase is inevitable for the next season“, predicts Vencislav Tanchev.
Negotiations are currently underway for the next season. Due to inflation, holiday prices are expected to increase by around 20%, but are unlikely to be more competitive than those offered in neighboring countries.
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