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Bulgaria loses tourists from Macedonia, Serbia due to sluggish visa system

Date: 29.05.2007

Bulgaria loses tourists from Macedonia and Serbia due to the sluggish system in issuing visas, claims the head of the Bulgarian hotel and restaurant association.

Blagoy Ragin said the Foreign Ministry has already been approached for speeding up the issuing of visas to neighbouring countries.

Bulgaria is seeing a steady growth in the number of tourists from neighbouring countries, whose citizens do not need a visa, such as Romania and Greece. The number of tourists, however, from neighbouring Macedonia and Serbia are decreasing, because of inefficient visa service.

Officials set the expected rise in tourists this year at 6-8%, mostly thanks to visitors from Romania, Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine and the Scandinavian countries.

In order to boost tourism, Bulgaria must engage with problems like infrastructure and personnel shortages, he said.

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