SOFIA, Bulgaria – Bulgaria loses at least 1 million Turkish tourists a year due to problems with visas, according to Cemal Tekkanat, adviser for tourism at Turkey’s Tourism and Culture Ministry.
Speaking Thursday at a Bulgarian-Turkish seminar in the ski resort of Pamporovo, he said that 300 000 Turkish tourists had been to Bulgaria in 2014, while 1.6 million Bulgarians had spent the holidays in Turkey. He argued that some 7 million Turkish tourists traveled overseas and that the number of Turkish visitors to Bulgaria could increase to around 1 million, provided that the visa problem was solved.
Marian Belyakov, CEO of Pamporovo AD, noted that the ski resort had registered a 300% increase in Turkish tourists over the past three years. Belyakov, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency, suggested that the Bulgarian mountain resort kept gaining popularity among Turkish visitors. Hacer Aydin, director of the largest travel and tourism exhibition in Turkey, the East Mediterranean International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (EMITT), underscored that people got tired of waiting for visas to come to Bulgaria.
He suggested that Bulgaria would see a substantial increase in the number of arrivals if it applied in winter the mechanism Greece used in the summer season, namely to skip the visa issuance process and make do with stamps at the border instead.