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Sofia and Bulgaria's winter resorts - preferred tourist destinations

Date: 02.06.2006

Sofia and the country’s winter resorts were among the most preferred destinations for foreign tourists during wintertime, data from the National Statistical Institute (NSI) presented on May 23 showed. Sofia attracted the interest of the largest number of foreigners who came to Bulgaria in the first three months of 2006.

For the period January-March, the city of Sofia welcomed a total of 73 219 foreigners accommodated in the city’s hotels. The hotels themselves registered revenue of over 16 million leva.

The Sofia region took second place in the number of foreigners accommodated in its hotels, with 35 601 foreigners and a revenue of more than four million leva.

Both the city and the region have a total of 182 hotels with a bed capacity of more than 17 000.

NSI representatives said that these figures could be explained with the fact that two of Bulgaria’s best winter resorts – Bansko and Borovets – are just a hop, skip and a jump from Sofia. Bansko, in south-west Bulgaria, is a two-and-a-half hour drive from Sofia, and Borovets is only 45 minutes away.The NSI figures also show that in the first three months of the year, some 602 948 tourists were accommodated in Bulgarian hotels, of whom 192 906 were foreigners. Bulgaria boasts 1216 hotels with 79 725 beds. The available bed nights come to almost seven million. The Black Sea capital Varna leads the ranking in hotels beds with 11 625 beds located in 106 hotels.

The object of the NSI survey was all accommodation establishments with more than 30 bed places – hotels, mountain chalets, camping sites and other types of accommodation (holiday settlements, bungalows and other types of private accommodation).

In the observation of accommodation establishments are collected various data by type of accommodation establishment, nights spent, arrivals in accommodation establishments, revenue from nights spent and others.

The data for the item Available Bed Capacity was obtained through accumulation of the number of bed places for each of the days of the reference period when they are put into utilisation, irrespective if they are occupied or not.

The data on chalets cover both mountain chalets and tourist homes as well as dormitories. Chalets tend to be situated in the mountains and outside inhabited places and tourist homes and dormitories are within the bounds of settlements.

In Revenue From Nights Spent in Accommodation Establishments are included the sums paid by guests, excluding extra services.

The statistical surveys on arrivals of visitors from abroad to Bulgaria and the trips of Bulgarian residents abroad are carried out every month. The statistical survey on accommodation establishments is carried out quarterly. Information on international tourism is provided by the Interior Ministry. The data on the arrivals of visitors from abroad to Bulgaria and the travel abroad of Bulgarian residents was obtained after processing information from the border checkpoints at the Data Processing Centre of the Interior Ministry.

The information available on accommodation establishments is obtained quarterly through the regular statistical reports of the National Statistical Institute.

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