Russian tourists in Bulgaria quadruple y/y through May despite war

Russian tourists in Bulgaria quadruple y/y through May despite war
Tourists at a seaside restaurant at Balchik, Bulgaria.
By bne IntelliNews July 26, 2022

The number of Russian tourists in Bulgaria jumped four times y/y to 33,584 in the first five months of 2022 despite the sanctions imposed on travels due to the Russian war in Ukraine, outgoing Tourist Minister Hristo Prodanov said on July 26 as quoted by

Russians are not allowed to travel directly to Bulgaria due to the EU-wide sanctions imposed since the start of the war on February 24 but can travel via Serbia, which did not join the EU sanctions and has increased the number of direct flights to and from Russia. Russians can also reach Bulgaria via Turkey or Armenia.

The visitors to Bulgaria include those staying at their own properties or in hotels. Bulgaria has for years been a popular destination for Russian tourists and many have bought property at seaside and mountain resorts.

At the same time, Bulgaria has temporarily stopped all planned information and advertising campaigns on the Russian market. The Bulgarian tourist attaché does not participate in any official tourist events in Russia.

Bulgaria keeps issuing visas to Russians without limitations but is trying at the same time to replace Russian tourists with visitors from Eastern Europe and Central Asia.