ARTICLES 
TUI Brings More UK, Scandinavian Tourists to Bulgaria
SeeNews, Article by Andreana Stankova, * with excerpts, 14th December 2005

Europe's biggest tourism company TUI brought about two percent more tourists to Bulgaria in the 2004/2005 season as more Scandinavian and UK holidaymakers came to the country to offset an outflow of Germans, a senior company official said.

TUI brought about 292,000 tourists to Bulgaria in the 2004/2005 season that ran from November 1 to October 31, up from 286,800 in the previous year, TUI's Senior Manager Structured Finance, Dieter Semmelroth, told SeeNews in an interview. More than half of them came from Germany and almost all of the rest were from the UK and the Scandinavian countries.
"There's a decline in the number of German guests of 13.6%, the number of British almost doubled, and there is also an increase in the people from Scandinavia, some 18%," Semmelroth said.

Semmelroth said German tourists shifted their interest to other budget destinations like Tunisia and that is why they came in smaller numbers to Bulgaria.

He added the larger number of British tourists to Bulgaria was due to their interest in a new and unknown budget destination.

"Somehow the British wanted maybe new budget destinations so they decided to send new shuttle planes and also subsequently the guests came," Semmelroth said.

Semmelroth said Scandinavians discovered Bulgaria as a family destination, where parents could arrive with their children and retain overall spending within the frames of the family budget.

Bulgaria attracts foreign tourists to its Black sea and mountain resorts and the industry brings much needed foreign currency to offset the country's large foreign trade gap. Some 4.87 million tourists visited Bulgaria between November 1, 2004 and October 31, 2005.
Bulgaria, which is famous for its Black Sea resorts Albena, Zlatni Pyasatsi and Slanchev Bryag, also has three key skiing resorts Borovets, Bansko and Pamporovo.

"Compared to the summer season, winter holiday in Bulgaria is at a very infant stage," Semmelroth said.

"In winter 2004/2005 we brought only very few thousand guests to the Bulgarian ski resorts, (...) we see no major leap in the 2005/2006 season," he added.

Semmelroth said Bulgaria had to upgrade its infrastructure and improve the country's image as winter sports destination to attract more guests.
"One idea would be to conduct major events like European or World Championships to bring Bulgaria as a winter sport destination to the attention of a broader audience," Semmelroth said.

Earlier this year, the country has applied to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee will shortlist the candidates for event in the summer of 2006 and select the host in June 2007.

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