SOFIA (Bulgaria), August 12 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria recorded over 1.8 million tourist registrations in accommodation establishments during June 1 - July 25, with Romania providing the largest number of foreign arrivals - more than 260,000, the tourism ministry said on Friday.
Foreign tourists from Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic were also in significant numbers in the review period - over 98,000, 70,000 and 56,000, respectively, the ministry said in a press release.
The UK, Israel and Moldova rounded off the list of the countries with the highest numbers of foreign tourists in Bulgaria in the summer season so far.
The domestic market was the most dominant, providing more than 990,000 accommodation registrations.
This summer season is expected to be about 80% as successful as the pre-COVID 2019 season, the ministry added.
Overall seasonal tourism growth rate could end up below 10%, due to concerns over the war in Ukraine coupled with recent flight cancellations and disruptions across Europe. However, double-digit growth in the number of tourist arrivals to Bulgaria is expected in a large part of the main foreign markets, the ministry noted.
Markets such as the UK, Israel, Slovakia and Norway are set to account for significant annual increases in tourists in Bulgaria. Poland is expected to ensure a 38% year-on-year rise in flights to Bulgarian Black Sea airports, along with a 44% increase in flights from the Czech Republic, while flights from Israel and the UK are expected to grow twofold and fourfold, respectively.
The ministry did not provide information on the number of tourists from Russia, traditionally the backbone of Bulgaria's tourism industry.
Visitors from Russia to Bulgaria arriving for holiday purposes totalled 35,886 between January and June, according to the National Statistical Institute. This compared with 8,546 in the same period of 2021.
Last week, the Russian association of tour operators, ATOR, said that Bulgaria has suspended the issuance of visas to Russian tourists and property owners.