The business traveler segment of Bulgaria tourism market has suffered a slowdown in Q1 2012. Many of the business hotels in Sofia have reported poor trading so far in 2012. The drop in bookings is attributed to 2 main factors; firstly the continued global economic problems and secondly the extremely cold weather in Sofia for the first 2 months of the year.
By contracts the local ski resorts have benefitted from the extreme weather and are enjoying one of the best seasons in several years. As well as an increase in foreign tourists there has been a boost from more Bulgarian skiers and snow boarders.
Overall Bulgarian tourism revenue reached almost 3 billion euros in 2011, an increase of 4% from the previous year. Russian visitor growth was particularly strong, up over 20% in 2011 with over 450,000 Russian tourists
Total tourist number for 2011 was 6.4 million visitors which is up almost 5% on the 2010. The other main visitors after Russia were from Germany, Greece, Romania and UK.
Bulgaria hopes that its membership of the Schegen zone will soon make it much easier for tourists to visit the country and increase trips between Bulgaria and other Schegen members. This is expected to be very attractive to Russian travelers who may use Bulgaria as an entry point for other European travels.