In effort help the tourism sector recover after almost two years of inactivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 32 tour operators in Bulgaria will be eligible for a €4.8 million state aid, under which €35 will be paid per seat.
In a press release by the Bulgarian Tourism Ministry, the total amount of state aid is €9.8 million, for which 139 applications have been filed – 32 of those being approved and another 73 rejected, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
In addition, two applications were withdrawn before the committee had the chance to review them, with the latter being prepared in compliance with the requirements of the state aid scheme regulated by the European Commission. “The allocated funds after the decision of the Council of Ministers are in the amount of BGN 9,571,588 [€9,892,426] and are within the limits of the budget of the measure previously approved by the European Commission from March 22, 2022. The allocated funds are based on verified 139,825 foreign tourists who used charters for organised tourist trips from June 1, 2021, to May 14, 2022,” the press release reads.
The Tourism Ministry will provide tour operators with a valid operating licence to operate charter flights for tourism purposes using air carriers, a state subsidy of €35 for each seat of the maximum passenger capacity of the aircraft for every flight. The aid is granted for each occupied seat by a person with a tourist service in the country, only for flights with a capacity of 100 or more seats.
Tourism Minister Hristo Prodanov previously revealed that Bulgaria is set to host close to six million tourists in the summer of 2022, with new arrivals mainly coming from Poland, Romania, Hungary, Germany, Serbia, Israel, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. The country, which has access to the Black Sea, has been estimated as the most affordable holiday destination in Europe for 2022, with a basket of eight items considered essential for tourists coming to Bulgaria costing €31.52 in Sunny Beach.
The Post Office UK reveals that the price of a three-course meal for two persons with wine, beer, a glass of wine, a soda can, water, coffee, sunscreen and insect repellent costs less than €32, making Bulgaria rank second for most-affordable items, following Turkey (€31.45). Other countries ranked as cheapest in Europe are the Algarve in Portugal, Costa del Sol in Spain, Cape Town in South Africa and Paphos in Greece.