Reservations for Bulgaria’s coming winter holiday season are down by 40 per cent compared with last year, Tourism Minister Mariana Nikolova said in a television interview on November 28.

Calculations show that a full lockdown in the winter resorts would result in losses of a billion leva, Nikolova said.

Bulgaria is among countries that have rejected German chancellor Angela Merkel’s call for a shutdown of ski resorts in Europe until early January.

Nikolova said that Bulgaria’s resorts complied with all anti-epidemic measures.

She said that the instructions in the order she had issued regarding anti-Covid-19 measures in Bulgaria’s winter resorts were borrowed from the top ski destinations.

“They are observed flawlessly, inspections showed, with the exception of some administrative omissions,” Nikolova said.

“I do not think that anyone in the industry could afford a risk or a mistake that could hit the entire sector,” she said.

She insisted that the measures introduced by the government are timely.

“We are trying to strike a balance between keeping the economy working and keeping people healthy. In this case, discipline is very important and I believe that if we mobilise for three weeks we will be able to celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays with loved ones,” Nikolova said.

She expressed hope that the tourism industry would be flexible in terms of the opportunity to apply for new economic measures and added that at the moment for the tourism and restaurant sectors, more than 23 million leva assistance had been provided.

Nikolova said that at the moment, accommodation and spa centres are not closed, and are working with the ability to provide room service.

She said that the industry had demanded the opportunity for hotels to cater only for their guests.

“This is also my position. I have asked for this to be allowed by the health authorities, but at the moment we still do not have an answer,” Nikolova said.