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(DF) Expert Says COVID-19 “Cleansed” Tourism Industry, Brought Growth for Small Tourist Businesses in Bulgaria

August 27 (BTA) – COVID-19 “cleansed” the tourist industry in Bulgaria and brought growth for small – and sustainable – tourist businesses, according to Institute for Analyses and Assessment in Tourism Director Roumen Draganov. In a bTV interview on Thursday, he also said that the pandemic stepped up the introduction of digital technologies to tourism in Bulgaria. Draganov said that during the pandemic over 550,000 Bulgarians visited tourist destinations in their own country, mostly on the Black Sea coast. “For some of them it was their first seaside holiday in Bulgaria,” he added. “550,000 was as many as all Russian vacationers who came last year,” Draganov pointed out. Many hotels had expected losses, and they found out they are going to break even. “Weekend tourism has been very brisk,” he said. “We always talk about sustainability in tourism, but we just found out that we have the wrong idea about it. Sustainable means investing in tourism money you made on tourism. This is guest houses and small family hotels, and all others who ploughed back their own money, use the skills and work of their own families, offer their own food and produce. […] Small tourist destinations like Koprivshtitsa, Elena and Velingrad are full beyond capacity. They are welcoming more guests in August than they did last year,” said Draganov. He noted that the businesses that made a loss this year are those which invested in building overdevelopment, which constructed those “Great-Wall-style” seaside hotels or “eyesore hotels” that are incongruous in the small towns where they were located. Draganov expects that the holiday season this year will be extended to mid-October. LN/LG //