More than 11.6 million foreign tourists are expected to visit Bulgaria this year, 11% more than in 2016, according to Rumen Draganov, Director of the Institute for Analysis and Assessments in Tourism. Holidaymakers from Germany, Britain, Romania and other countries have already arrived in the Black Sea resorts of Sunny Beach, Golden Sands and Albena.
Draganov told reporters that cultural urban and historical tourism accounts for half of all visits. Bulgaria has become a year-round destination due to low-cost airlines, and cultural tourism is the purpose of many visits.
Commenting on staff shortages in tourism, he said the problem cannot be solved while the industry pays an average monthly wage of 320 euro in Bulgaria as against 1,400 euro in other European countries. Employers are seeking staff from non-EU countries, including Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus, and even India and Bangladesh. The National Tourism Board has set itself the task to bring the average wage in Bulgaria's tourism industry level with wages in the EU by 2026.