The summer of 2016 could turn out to be the most successful ever for the tourist industry in Bulgaria, the Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova, said on Tuesday.
She noted a 20.6-per-cent rise in foreign tourists who spent their vacation in Bulgaria in July, reported by the National Statistics Institute, or NSI, on Monday.
The number of foreigners who visited Bulgaria that month for work or vacation hit 1.87 million, a record for the 21st century.
A total of 4.5 million tourists visited Bulgaria between January and July 2016, which is 16.9 per cent more than the same period in the previous year.
“The first seven months were the strongest for the past ten years. If we keep the same pace in August and September, this could be our most successful summer ever,” Angelkova said, adding that the results will likely exceed initial forecasts.
Statistics show that Russian tourists, whose number dropped over the past two years as a result of EU sanctions against Russia, have returned to Bulgaria's Black Sea resorts.
They form the greatest part of the foreign tourists for July – 151,874, followed by the Germans, 143,308, and Poles, 80,412.
Meanwhile, the Commission for Consumer Protection reported a drop in legal violations committed by tourist-related businesses against their customers.
From the beginning of the summer season till now, the commission said it has checked 2,397 tourist sites, registering malpractices in 6 to 8 per cent of the cases.
In previous tourist seasons, cases of fraudulent practices usually exceeded 10 per cent.
As a result, at a press conference on Tuesday, the chairman of the commission declared the tourist season “strong and calm”.
Most often tourists have complained of a lack of menus in restaurants and of tourist services of a lower quality than the category they have declared.
In other cases, restaurant owners declared lower prices on their menus than the prices that they charged customers.
The majority of foreign complaints concerned the quality of transport. Only 8 per cent filed claims against the services offered in resorts.
While the number of foreign tourists in Bulgaria has significantly grown, the number of Bulgarians who vacation abroad has also surged.