A New Record - 8 Million Foreign Tourists Visited Bulgaria in 2016
Are you on your first trip to Bulgaria and are looking for hotels in Sarafovo, or for a hotel in Bulgaria close to the airport? You would be pleased to know that Bulgaria is fast emerging as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. A record 8 million foreign tourists visited the country in 2016.
According to Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova, this is unprecedented. Ms. Angelkova said that the holiday season of 2016 as the busiest Bulgaria ever had, with over 5.5 million foreign tourists making their way to the nation.
The figure of 8 million foreign tourists is quite stunning when you consider that the population of Bulgaria is only 7.1 million. So, more foreign tourists visited Bulgaria over a period of 12 months than the entire population of the country. That is amazing, indeed.
This Christmas was a special time in Bulgaria. Over 400,000 foreign tourists spent their Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the country, celebrating the start of a happy and prosperous New Year 2017 along with the friendly locals.
The number of winter tourists to the country was up by 7% in 2016, which is exciting. The tourist inflow has continued in January 2017 as well, and there is no let up of any sort.
It’s not just the interest from abroad – there is an enormous potential for domestic tourism in Bulgaria. Over half of Bulgarian population actually made their way to the popular winter resorts in the country, such as Pamporovo, Borovets and Bansko this season. Things have never looked better for the tourism industry in the country.
There are some concerns that remain. There’s been a cold war between the European Union and Russia of late, over Ukraine. This has to an extent dampened the interest from Russia. We just didn’t see the same number of Russian tourists making their way to Bulgaria as last year, but it’s still nothing to be worried about. Russians are still visiting Bulgaria in tens of thousands.
It has helped that Bulgaria is a very stable country politically and economically. There have been no terrorist attacks of any sort in Bulgaria, such as those seen in neighbouring Turkey, or in Tunisia and Egypt in North Africa. That is why a number of tourists who would have otherwise spent time in those countries have made their way to Bulgaria this winter.
Bulgaria is fast emerging as one of the most popular four-season tourism destinations in Europe. Rumen Draganov, President of the Institute for Analysis and Assessment of Tourism said that Bulgaria had already arrived as a destination for winter tourism. He hoped for the country to become a major hub for spring and autumn tourism as well.
Summer is of course, the main tourism season in Bulgaria. The government of Bulgaria has said that it gets three times as much revenue from the tourism industry during the summer than during the winter. This is not expected to change any time soon.