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Winter Resorts Booking Taking Off

Sofia Echo- December 28, 2007

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The abundant snow cover in the mountain resorts of Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo revived expectations of hoteliers and tour operators for a good winter season, in spite of delays in foreign tourists' bookings, Dnevnik daily said.

The three resorts, as well as Vitosha mountain, were full of skiers during the Christmas holidays as announced by representatives of the concessionaires and the hotel owners. The branch expected high income around New Year as well, since many of the tourist destinations were already fully booked.

Before the beginning of the season, Balkantourist, owner of the ski facilities and hotels in Borovets, announced that occupancy would depend on snow forecasts for the whole winter, Dnevnik daily said. This was most important to bookings of British tourists, who formed the biggest contingent of foreign tourists in Bulgaria, the tour operators explained. Britons would wait to be convinced that there was enough snow and would then buy a package for the winter, Balkantourist and foreign tour operators like TUI said earlier this year.

International media also reported on good winter conditions, Dnevnik daily said. The British newspaper the Guardian said that Bulgarian resorts expected more snow during the weeks to come. Daily Telegraph also said ski-conditions in Bulgaria were good and directed tourists towards Bansko where the snow was currently between 80 and 180cm at different heights. According to Daily Telegraph, however, Bansko had a problem with the capacity of ski facilities, where long queues formed during rush hours.

According to Balkantourist, this year the interest of Russian tourists was bigger compared to last year. The number of Russian tourists in Borovets, however, could not increase inconsiderably, because demand already outstripped capacity supply.

Tour operators said that apart from foreign tourists, this year, winter resorts counted on Bulgarian skiers as well. The branch was trying to attracts guests from neighbouring countries. For example, this year Greek skiers were expected in Bansko and Pamporovo, hoteliers from the two resorts said.

After Bansko and Pamporovo opened the season, right before the Christmas holidays, about 5 000 skiers kicked off the winter season in Borovets as well, Dnevnik daily said. Currently the snow cover of Borovets' ski runs is between 80 and 190cm.

Borovets started the season with an ameliorated artificial snow system. In mid-2007, the owner of the ski facilities, Borosport, part of Balkantourist, started the construction of a new snow system. Other ameliorations included the widening of some of the ski runs and the creation of better connections between different ski runs, representatives of Borosport said.

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