Russian Tourists Welcome in Bulgaria, Says Deputy PM

Bulgaria will be expanding cooperation with Russia in tourism, so it seeks to facilitate the issuance of visas for Russian tourists, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said in an interview with TASS ahead of her visit to Moscow.

“Russia is an extremely important partner for Bulgaria in the tourism sector and we always say ‘You are welcome’ to Russian tourists,” said Zaharieva.

“Russia has frequently emphasized that Bulgaria is a quiet and safe location for Russian holiday makers, especially for organized groups of children,” she said. “A similar language, similar culture, history and traditions make human contacts easier. Simultaneously, we strike a balance between the cost and quality in the travel industry and provide vast opportunities for holidaying – summer and winter tourism as well as health, sightseeing and gourmet tourism,” she said.

According to the Deputy PM, a total of 511,701 Russian tourists visited Bulgaria in 2018, placing the country in sixth place in tourist arrivals to the Balkan country. In January-July 2019, Bulgaria saw a 12.4% decline in Russian tourist arrivals compared to 2018.

“I hope that we will be able to join efforts for compensating this downturn,” Zaharieva said.

The Bulgarian foreign minister pointed out that when offering travel opportunities to Russians, Bulgaria abides by the visa policy of the European Union, including by the Russia-EU agreement on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

“I would like to recall that Russian citizens who have a common Schengen visa, a visa for long-term stay or a residence permit issued by a state that has accepted the Schengen legislation, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Croatia, Romania and Cyprus do not need to obtain a Bulgarian entry visa to,” the foreign minister said.