How Bulgarian Tourism Survives in Time of Pandemic?
The team of Novini.bg asked Assoc. Prof. Rumen Draganov, President of the Confederation of Tourism Business in Bulgaria, for an expert opinion on the situation in tourism during the Coronavirus crisis.
- What are the expectations in the tourism sector for the winter season? Will the tourism industry survive during the pandemic with a view to the new restrictive measures?
- Draganov: Under these measures, the sector will do the best it can to be able to survive in this complicated situation. All of us, who took commitment to serve their customers adequately during the coming holidays are fully prepared to meet these commitments and comply with the orders and instructions of the Health Minister.
- What about the ski season and its postponement?
- Draganov: We uphold the position of Deputy Premier Mariana Nikolova who said that Bulgarian tourism fully complies with the novel requirements and took all the necessary measures in order to preserve lives and health of tourists and our personnel and avoid any dangers as regards observance of anti-Covid measures. We saw that total lockdown is counterproductive and creates many problems. We are prepared to see the same development as we saw during the summer season. Sustainable tourism, which in most cases is family business with small hotels, guest houses and villas for rent worked at full capacity during the summer, the same is likely to happen during the winter. All of these small businesses have their own customers who appreciate their professional skills. These companies have no problems on the internal market and have good connections.
- What are your expectations for foreign tourists?
- Draganov: About 420,000 - 430,000 foreigners will enter the country in December, January and February. These people, whether they come to their loved ones or for business or holiday purposes, must be served. This is about 45% less than last winter, but this is normal in this situation.At this stage, we expect the government to decide whether to allow feeding the guests in the restaurants of the hotels themselves. At the moment we have a large part of the hotels that do not work. Of the 19,900 hotels in Bulgaria, nearly 15,000 are closed and those almost 5,000 which are functioning mainly serve business travelers. They must be able to feed their guests with regard to the area they have, as employment rate is below 15 %. This is quite possible without jeopardizing the measures that were taken under the order of the Health Minister.
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