According to Polina Karastoyanova, managing director of the National Tourism Council, the number of tourist arrivals in Bulgaria dipped approximately 80% over the summer, while about 30% of employees in the tourism industry have been laid off.
“What we can say about the outgoing summer season is that it has been the most difficult yet, but also completely unusual for the Bulgarian, European and international economy. As for the Bulgarian market, a lot of efforts have been made by both the tourism sector and the government”, Polina Karastoyanova told NOVA TV.
Forecasts show a roughly 80% loss of tourists over the summer season. “These data apply not only to Bulgaria, but also to our competing destinations”, Karastoyanova added.
As he explained, at the moment two plans are being processed in parallel. “One action plan refers to the way the coming winter and the 2021 summer season will be approached. The problem of possible bankruptcies and the inability to service loans, may at some point prove that the banking sector is the owner of tourism. This is a very bad prospect,” she said.
Karastoyanova was adamant that the post-COVID-19 version of the Bulgarian tourism sector would not be able to continue to exist in the way it used to. “The state must step in as an investor and prepare a general plan for the development of infrastructure that ensures access to tourist sites”.
As she said, most of the jobs in the sector have been retained. “It was achieved through the socio-economic measures. However, almost 25-30% of the employees lost their jobs in the tourism sector due to its inability to operate”, Karastoyanova concluded. /ibna