Bulgaria expects an year-on-year growth of some 70% in the number of Russian tourists for the 2011 summer season, according to consular officials.
A total of 10% more foreign tourists are expected in Bulgaria in 2011 as a whole, Deputy Economy Minister in charge of tourism Ivo Marinov forecast in Ruse Friday, as cited by BNR.
In his words, most of the foreign tourists in Bulgaria will be from Russia, Germany, Central Europe, and other Balkan countries.
Marinov stressed the fact that the Bulgarian authorities have opened additional points for processing tourist visa documents in Russia, and that two airlines have been authorized to transport Russian tourists to Bulgaria, with options to authorize others as well.
According to the Bulgarian Consul in Moscow Angel Georgiev, Bulgaria will see at least 60% more Russian tourists, possibly as many as 70% more than it welcomed in 2010, while the number of Russians who own real estate property in Bulgaria has grown even further.
"By the end of 2011 we expect to issue no fewer than 300 000 visas. This is a staggering growth. We have never seen such a growth in the history of visa relations between Bulgaria and Russia. For 2011 so far, the y/y growth is 63%, and compared with the same period of 2009, it is about 110%. We expected that the overall 2011 y/y growth will be 70%," Georgiev said at the Moscow International Fair for travel and tourism, as cited by the national radio in Sofia.
He further stressed that the number of Russians owning real estate properties in Bulgaria has grown by 100% compared with 2010, while the number of tourists is up by 50% is expected to grow further.
The Bulgarian Consulate in Moscow expects to be issuing about 3 500 visas per day in the busiest summer period, which is why its staff was increased with 5 additional members. On Thursday, May 12, 2011, a Bulgarian visa center was opened for the first time in the Russian city of Samara, while by the end of May the first Bulgarian visa center in Nizhny Novgorov will also open doors.