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Bulgaria's Dental Tourism Flourishes

Sofia News Agency, 07 April 2010

Dental tourism is an increasing trend with more and more foreigners who combine a holiday to Bulgaria's Black Sea coast with a visit to the dentist.

Bulgaria, especially the bigger cities along its Black Sea coast, has started to cash in from a growing number of foreigners, the majority of whom Britons and Greeks, who cannot get treatment on the NHS or cannot afford to pay huge bills for going private, doctors say.

“The global economic crisis increased the demand for lower prices, which dentists in Eastern Europe and Bulgaria in particular offer,” says Ventsislav Stoev, chairman of the Dental Tourism Association in Bulgaria.

According to him the crisis provides a new opportunity for Bulgaria to develop further its dental tourism, which has already 20 years of history.

Dentists in the southwest Bulgarian cities of Sandanski and Petrich have reported a massive influx of Greek clients who prefer to come to Bulgaria for treatment because the quality of service is "just as good but considerably cheaper".

According to local media reports Greek dental tourism is so popular that clinics in Petrich have already started writing their working hours in both Bulgarian and Greek. It is mainly working class Greeks who go there; some of them also speak Bulgarian.

Bulgaria is a preferred destination due to the low-cost, high-quality dental care. Prices that local dentists charge are about seven times lower than those in Great Britain.

Data shows that 35,000 Britons a year travel overseas for dental work and nearly 60,000 searched online for information on dentists.

Britons can save up to 70% by travelling overseas for dental treatment - before accommodation and flights are taken into account.

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