Bulgaria Winter Tourist Numbers Show 7,8% Increase

Sofia News Agency, 29 March 2010

Bulgaria experienced a 7,8% increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting the country in January and February.

The Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism has published data showing that visits were up in the first two months compared with the same period in 2009.

More than 437 000 foreign tourists arrived in these, the two strongest months for ski resorts. People on private visits and taking vacations numbered 273 000, an increase of almost 30% over 2009, while business trips fell by 25%, to just over 85 000.

According to the statistics published on Monday, visitors from Macedonia and Serbia increased considerably, following the launch of the visa-free initiative with Bulgaria which took effect in late December 2009.

Macedonians made 44 000 visits in the first tow months of the year, a 41,5% growth compared with 2009.

Serbs also increased their visits by 45%, registering over 27 000.

The Tourism Ministry also noted that, in the same period, and despite the Greek farmers' extended blockade of the border, Greek visits topped 437 000, a 4% increase on the same period in the previous year.

The two principal sources for winter tourists to Bulgaria - Britain and Russia - recorded increases of 2,1% and 25,5% respectively.

Bulgaria's revenue from international tourism in January amounted to EUR 103,9 M, an increase of 8,2% over the same month of 2009.



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