The number of foreign tourists Bulgaria will receive this winter season is expected to exceed 1.7 million, which is an increase compared to 2019, Institute of Analysis and Assessment in Tourism (IAAT) Director Rumen Draganov said.
Some 3.5 million Bulgarians will make trips within the country during this period.
Draganov noted that the two ongoing major military conflicts will not affect the macro frame of tourism and 2024 is expected to exceed the figures recorded in 2019 by about 5 percent.
The majority of tourists expected to visit Bulgaria this winter, or around 62 percent of all visitors, will come from EU Member States.
The next biggest markets will be the UK and Turkiye.
Israeli tourists, especially the elderly, are expected to choose Bulgaria for their winter holidays this year despite the conflict in the Gaza Strip.
The number of Israeli tourists is projected to be halved compared to last season.
The UK market is on a growth trajectory, getting back to its 2019 figures.
There are prospects for over 20 percent increase in British tourists this winter season, the expert said.
“The number of visitors coming from Turkiye is expected to increase manifold due to the European Union’s decision to introduce digital visas, which will make travel easier,” Draganov said.
The expert noted that some 1.3 million Turkish tourists visit Bulgaria annually.
He added that most of them arrive on business trips and expressed hope that the improvement of the visa policy will get a significant number of Turkish citizens to visit Bulgarian sea and mountain resorts.
This winter season, Bulgarians are expected to make more than 3.5 million trips, visiting relatives and friends, and travelling to spa, wellness and ski resorts. Travel peaks will be witnessed around Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
For the two upcoming winter holidays alone, Bulgarians will make nearly 580,000 trips, 410,000 of which will be within the country, Draganov noted.
Guesthouses, small hotels and villas are most preferred for the winter holidays and have already been booked a year in advance. There is a trend among Bulgarians to combine winter recreation with spa treatments.
Another trend that becomes more prominent is opting for holidays at the seaside, especially in resorts with hot springs.
Examples of such spots include the Saints Constantine and Helena Resort, Pomorie, Kazanlak, Sapareva Banya and Sandanski, Draganov noted.
The expert pointed out that the Bulgarian Union of Balneology and SPA Tourism has contracts with the health funds of Austria and Germany, which gives guests from these countries the opportunity to visit Bulgaria for specialized tourism all year round.
Tourism Advertising The IAAT Director said that Bulgaria spends some EUR 36 million a year on tourism advertising, which contributes to the country being picked as a travel destination by 12 million tourists.
“This accounts for EUR 3 per tourist, and when we consider that a large part of the money goes to summer and winter land tourism, we spend EUR 6 per tourist and even outstrip our neighboring countries, which spend about EUR 5 per tourist for advertising on average,” the expert added. (PNA)