A better year in tourism is expected from the “Future of Tourism” Association. However, the political situation and the winter without snow are not in favor of the sector, said Pavlina Ilieva, president of the branch organization of tour operators.
The past year has been extremely busy for tour operators due to the measures for the coronavirus and the war that started in Ukraine at the beginning of the year. The two years of isolation and the lifting of measures unleashed people’s desire to travel and the year was very strong for outbound tourism, Pavlina Ilieva pointed out.
“For inbound tourism, unfortunately, it was not so good for Bulgaria, because, you know, there was a problem with the Ukrainian crisis, which lasted for quite a long time. This stopped bookings from our traditional markets”.
The market has changed significantly compared to the pre-pandemic 2019, and this has forced tour operators to be flexible in terms of the destinations offered, said Pavlina Ilieva. She noted:
“Tourism would follow, if we want to develop it in full and for it to be at the levels at which we observe our neighboring countries and other, of course, much more developed destinations than us, then we must make it a national policy If we make tourism a national policy, then things will take on a completely different profile. In order for us to develop the summer, that is, we must already have started with advertising. It must be quite serious, target markets must be made , to see according to price class what market we will offer, in which region of the country it will be for the respective market”.
The political situation and the lack of a permanent government do not reflect well on the work of the sector. At the moment, business representatives are looking for an individual solution to their problems and are lagging behind in their development compared to those from European countries, Pavlina Ilieva also said. She pointed out that a modern strategy is needed for the development of the sector.
From the point of view of tour operators, it is imperative to create a guarantee fund to cover travel risks, as well as the creation of a working control body.
“At the moment, our gray sector has a rather serious percentage, something that I think the state is not rich enough to be able to afford,” commented Pavlina Ilieva.