Places of accommodation may participate in the new phase of the humanitarian programme

Places of accommodation may participate in the new phase of the humanitarian programme

Not only state and municipal facilities, but also places of accommodation recorded in the National Tourist Register may participate in the new phase of the humanitarian programme for accommodating Ukrainians who have fled Russia’s war on their country, Bulgaria’s government announced on May 20.

The new programme, developed by the Bulgarian government’s operational coordination group on Ukrainian refugees and which is scheduled to take effect when the current phase ends on May 31, provides for 15 leva (about 7.60 euro) per person per night and three meals.

“We are fully aware that this means that it will mainly include lower-class accommodation, family hotels and guest houses,” Deputy Prime Minister Kalina Konstantinova, who chairs the coordination group, said in a video message.

The government cited Tourism Ministry data that one- and two-star accommodation alone had a capacity of 175 000 beds.

Registration for the programme is open and may be done by telephoning 02 905 5555, the government said.

Meanwhile, interviewers are already arriving in the field to test the offline platform for collecting data from refugees, according to the government statement.

Information will be published on the government portal – https://ukraine.gov.bg/  – as soon as the platform is available online. In this way, people with temporary protection will be able to fill in their data themselves, the statement said.

Konstantinova said: “After dozens of reports were filmed and numerous interviews were given by hoteliers, I can confidently say: the humanitarian programme for accommodation of people with temporary protection in hotels was extremely successful.

“This measure not only provided shelter to tens of thousands of mothers with children, but also proved to be invaluable financial support for a number of Bulgarian businesses that were severely affected by the Covid crisis,” she said.

Introduced a few weeks after the February start of Russia’s current war on Ukraine, which has led about a quarter of a million Ukrainians to enter Bulgaria, the programme for subsidising hotel accommodation for Ukrainians in Bulgaria provided for the hotels to be paid 40 leva per person per night. There have been hiccoughs in the payment process, leading hoteliers to complain.

According to figures on the government portal on May 20, a total of 101 388 Ukrainians have remained in Bulgaria. This figure has been decreasing in recent days, as the May 31 deadline for the end of the first phase of the accommodation programme approaches.

The number of Ukrainians granted temporary protection status in Bulgaria, 107 476, now exceeds the number of those who have remained in the country.

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