Bulgaria's Black Sea resorts expect an even higher number of Romanian tourists in summer 2011, according to hotel managers.
"Figures are already indicating that there will be a substantial growth in the number of Romanian tourists. It is another matter if this boom can compensate for the decrease in the number of tourists from other destinations," Ivan Portnih, CEO of Grand Hotel Varna, is quoted as saying by the Cherno More newspaper.
"The record number of Romanian tourists has its explanation. On the one hand, the Romanian resorts have a shorter summer season. On the other, they are not as developed as the Bulgarian ones, and the prices in Bulgaria are cheaper for them," Portnih says, adding that a large number of Romanians, as well as Bulgarians have taken advantage of the early booking offers of the Bulgarian resorts.
In 2010, the number of Romanians on vacation in Bulgaria surpassed one million people, prompting the governments of the two countries to launch joint police patrols of the resorts and the border areas.
2011 forecasts also indicate a record number of tourists from Russia, and an increased number from Germany, while UK tourists are generally expected to be fewer than in 2010.
Portnih has especially stressed the fact that Bulgaria's tourism industry is looking forward to a "comeback" by tourists from Poland as well as from Hungary, who used to be regulars in Bulgaria in the communist period and in the 1990s.
"Poland is an enormous market, and the number of Polish tourists in Bulgaria is growing each summer," Portnih is quoted as saying.
In his words, Bulgaria's tourism business is suffering from the lack of major highway infrastructure.
"If the roads from Kavarna-Shabla-Durankulak (along Bulgara's northern coast – editor's note) and from Ruse to Shumen are built, the business will be revived. Romania itself has better roads that Bulgaria. The fact that the overdevelopment of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast was a mistake is another matter. Look at the Southern Bulgarian coast. The massive overdevelopment led to many resort complexes, and now that the investors are trying to sell, the prices collapsed to 400 euro per square meter, and there are no buyers," he explained.
The CEO of Grand Hotel Varna has pointed to the resort of St. Constantine and Helena as a good example because it is green, does not allow car traffic, its all-inclusive services are on a good level, and it provides good conditions for family tourism.