The largest tour operators on the Bulgarian market have registered an unexpected decrease of up to 50 per cent in the number of bookings made by Scandinavian tourists.
The reasons given were criminal cases in which Scandinavian tourists in Bulgaria had been involved in the summer of 2006, and the bad service in most Bulgarian hotels, branch representatives said, as quoted by Dnevnik daily.
The alleged cases of robberies and raping of tourists, some of which turned out to be attempts at insurance frauds, were followed by an active negative campaign in the Scandinavian media.
Bogdan Hristov, representative for several foreign tour operators, said that the decrease was serious and affected only Bulgaria.
Dnevnik quoted branch representatives as saying that they hoped to compensate for the decrease in the months to come. TUI representative for Bulgaria Valentin Yossifov said that “we would be lucky to get away with a 20 per cent decrease”. However, the decrease would most probably be about 30 per cent.
The Scandinavian market is among the most important ones for Bulgaria’s summer tourism. Between 300 000 and 350 000 tourists from the four Scandinavian countries visited the local summer resorts in 2007.
Up through 2006, the number of Scandinavians coming to Bulgaria saw a significant rise. The tourism branch even hoped that Scandinavians could make up for the lowering number of German and UK tourists visiting the country.