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Rise of camping tourism during pandemic

Photo: Veneta Nikolova

More than 80 campsites on the seaside, in mountains, near lakes and historical towns in Bulgaria have been enjoying great interest during the times of epidemic restrictions. This was stated by those working in the industry on the eve of the 2021 edition of Camping & Caravanning Expo in Sofia with the participation of 40 exhibitors from Bulgaria and Turkey.

During the Easter holidays the campsites were full and the forecasts for the upcoming summer season are more than optimistic, Veselin Valev, a representative of the specialized site camping.bg has told us. The explanation is that this is currently the healthiest form of recreation, providing social distance and living outdoors. "About 80-90% of campsites in Bulgaria fully meet European standards," Mr. Valev says. And that means perfect service, availability of electricity, water, impeccable hygiene, equipped kitchens, bathrooms and all modern extras for complete relaxation. The only problem is the lack of staff. The reason is that most of these sites are located far from populated areas and it is difficult to find personnel.

"This year we published a camping guide to Bulgaria, which includes 34 Bulgarian campsites, divided into 7 routes: The Danube, northwestern Bulgaria, southwestern Bulgaria, Rhodopes, Balkan Mountains region, central and northern Bulgaria and the Black Sea coast. In all these regions there are campsites offering great conditions. Guests can combine their itineraries to stay in different places and visit historical, cultural and natural sites. The camping guide is also uploaded on the official tourist portal of Bulgaria," Veselin Valev says.

Contrary to expectations, this type of vacation is not for people with thin wallets. For example, if you want to rent a nice caravan in a green campsite, you will need to pay from 50 to 150 euros per day, not including additional costs costs. In fact, an overnight stay in a hotel can be much cheaper. The fee for parking your own camper varies from 20 to 40 euros. You will pay more or less the same if you use a tent in the campsite.

"The equipment one needs is quite expensive,” Vesselin Valev says. “This type of tourism is more often practiced by middle-class and more affluent citizens."

Still, the interest is high, especially on the southern Black Sea coast, where it was difficult to find vacancies last summer. Along with Covid-19 and restrictions on international travel, the number of foreigners has sharply fallen. But this is compensated by Bulgarians and to some extent by Romanian tourists, who are traditional guests of the Bulgarian Black Sea campsites. Spring is the preferred time for camping in the mountains or near dams.

Vesselin Valev and his colleagues expect an even more successful season in comparison to the previous year. The reason is that more and more people have been looking for this type of tourism. New campsites appear on the map of Bulgaria, as well as new companies for camping equipment and those that rent campers. "All this contributes to the rise of this type of tourism in Bulgaria," Veselin Valev says with optimism.

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: Veneta Nikolova

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