The number of foreign tourists visiting Bulgaria this summer increased by around 7% over the summer before. Increased numbers of visitors from Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom were the main contributors to this growth. During the same period, tourists from Russia,the second most important market for Bulgarian coastal tourism, decreased, according to data of the National Statistical Institute.
Germans remain in the lead
Expectations within the tourism sector that Germans would, once again comprise the most numerous group of visiting tourists were confirmed by official statistics. Data show that, during June, July and August, the three strongest months for the sector, - the number of Germans visiting Bulgaria in the summer of 2017 exceeded 665,000. Only visitors from Romania rival this figure, although their visits are attributed less to tourism than to transit passage, medical treatment, education, visits to relatives and friends, etc.
The second most important market for Bulgarian tourism, Russia, showed a decline of around 4% over the previous year. In advance of the summer season, several tour operators had expected a decrease of between 5 and 7% in the number of Russian guests during 2017. They attributed this to increased bookings of Russians in countries such as Greece and Spain, as well as to the return of Russian tourists to the Turkish resorts. As recently as three and four years ago, the Russians formed the largest single group of foreign tourists spending their holidays in the Bulgarian resorts.
National statistical data confirm a gradual rise in the numbers of Polish tourists visiting Bulgaria. Visitors from Poland now outnumber those from Ukraine or the United Kingdom. Large tour operators have noted an annual growth rate in 15% in the Polish burgeoning market and expect the rise will continue. Tourism from Poland, however, shows a distinct differences from tourism from other markets: it is concentrated in the two peak summer months of July and August. In June of this year, for example, there were 46,000 Polish vacationers in Bulgaria in June this year but in July and August,, their numbers tripled. 2016 showed a similar pattern.
Visitors from Ukraine and the United Kingdom, which are among the six biggest markets for the Bulgarian tourism sector, also posted increases in the summer of 2017. More than 200,000 Ukrainians visited Bulgaria during the peak months and visits by British tourists exceeded 178,000 during the same period.