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Tourism business expects "hot" winter season combined with unrelenting inflation

Photo: BGNES

The number of bookings for Bulgarian winter resorts is high and the tourism industry is more hopeful as this country is preparing to welcome nearly 1.2 million foreigners by the end of March 2023, the Institute for Analysis and Assessment in Tourism /IAAT/ says. After several years of decline, guests from Great Britain, which is a leading market for Bulgarian winter tourism, are now returning. There is also a growth in the number of bookings from Central Europe and the Balkans, Konstantin Zankov of IAAT says. According to him, in the coming months, the industry will approach the levels of the pre-pandemic year of 2019, despite the economic crisis, inflation and the raging military conflict in Ukraine.

It is still too early for firm predictions, but the awakening of tourism after the pandemic pause is a fact that is valid not only for Bulgaria. People around the world want to travel and ever-rising prices can't stop them. However, a ski holiday in Bulgaria will be more expensive this winter:

"Broadly speaking, the rise in prices compared to the previous year is expected to reach between 11 and 18% in some of our hotels. Tourism business is a hybrid of different services and when the cost of food, fuel and staff salaries increases, it is normal for the price of the tourist package to rise as well,” Konstantin Zankov says. The season will be difficult for some hoteliers because their costs will exceed the price of the final product. The prices that tour operators offer have also increased. For a long time people did not travel because of the Covid-19 restrictions, so the packages were extremely attractive. But now the prices of plane tickets, rent-a-car services, and overnight stays in hotels abroad are rising. The same is happening in this country. Unfortunately, that inexpensive tourism that we had during the pandemic is gone."

Therefore, travelers around the world are willing to spend more, but are also looking for higher quality and more attractions. In Bulgaria, when it comes to winter tourism, people usually think of skiing and snowboarding in Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo, but this is just a part of the variety of experiences we can offer, Zankov says. "We have conditions for winter tourism in urban environment, we have spa and wellness hotels, which are very well occupied at the moment. We offer cultural and educational tourism in smaller towns, as well as alternative forms of recreation," the expert says and adds:

"The current trend is diversifying the packages, creating tours so that the guests can taste local food and drinks, creating opportunities for the ladies to enjoy a spa holiday while their partners are skiing, organizing various workshops for children in the hotels and creating an experience for the whole family. Many cultural routes can also be included in the standard program. The idea is for the traveler to try everything and be thirsty for more, so that they return again to try different forms of recreation," Konstantin Zankov says in conclusion.

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: BGNES, library

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