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Bulgaria Attractive Tourism Destination Despite Price Changes

Sofia Echo- July 11, 2005

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The price-sensitive interest towards Bulgaria's holiday options has been playing seesaw in the past week, with news of cost moving in both directions. Local media reported on October 31 that charter flights to Bulgarian seaside resorts were expected to rise by about 40 euro next summer. The reason would be higher fuel prices, the Executive Agency on Tourism said.

Nevertheless, the agency believes, interest in Bulgaria as a tourist destination will increase. Among the advantages of this country, agency experts point out, are the higher service prices in Turkey due to increased visitor interest. In addition, terrorist threats in Bulgaria's southeast neighbour's resorts led to a decrease in tourist interest.

As a result, a number of tourists who planned to visit Turkey are expected to select Bulgaria as an alternative destination. Since the next summer season is still way ahead, some foreign tourists, like those in the UK, are still focused on winter opportunities. Bulgaria is represented in the majority of UK media as a cheap tourist destination, it appears.

Information about its inexpensive ski resorts is published in newspapers like The Irish Times and The Times. The publications report that Bulgarian tracks are mainly suitable for inexperienced skiers.

The number of UK tourists visiting Bulgaria for the winter season increases every year. Heightening interest towards Bulgaria is evident in the fact that a number of tourism agencies are, for the first time, including the country as a tourist destination in their catalogues.

The number of UK tour operators offering trips to Bulgaria is growing. Currently there are about 35 companies offering such services in the UK.

Bulgarian resorts offered cheap prices, refurbished ski tracks and hotel buildings, The Irish Times reported. A one-week stay, including airplane tickets, will cost no more than 500 euro, according to the publication.

The Times wrote that the only legacy from Bulgaria's Socialist past was the low prices. Resorts have totally changed and have practically become new places with the construction of hotels and infrastructure renovation, the newspaper says.

Surprisingly enough, though, it is not the UK or German or any other developed country's tourists that Bulgarian hosts value the most. Bulgarian travel agencies declared on October 28 that the Romanian tourists are the most welcome in this country.

The statement was caused by the simple but very important fact - holidaymakers from Romania were bringing their money with them to Bulgaria. That was in complete divergence from low-cost tourists of other states visiting the resorts here. In addition, the Romanians' behaviour is almost impeccable.

Bulgarian was visited by 146 000 Romanian tourists over the first nine months of this year alone, which was twice the number of Romanian guests to Bulgaria over the same period of 2004.

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