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Bulgaria tourism industry hit by shortage of workers

Date: 30.09.2007

Companies in Bulgaria's tourism industry are finding it more and more difficult to recruit labour force and warned they will be short of 30,000 workers next year.

"Thousands of Bulgarians, often those with the best qualifications in the sector, have emigrated to western Europe, lured mainly by higher wages," Blagoy Ragin, head of the Bulgarian hotel and restaurant association, said at a seminar on Thursday.

Ragin cited official data, according to which the number of foreign tourists to Bulgaria for the first seven months after its accession to the European Union has increase by 10 % to 30%.

"Bulgaria has the capacity to welcome between 10-12 million visitors with an annual turnout of EUR 8-10 B," Ragin said.

This year's figures stood at 6 million tourists and EUR 1.35 B of revenues.

Empty beds are only one of the Bulgarian tourism industry's problems, experts at the seminar pointed out. Businesses have invested millions of euros to build beautiful hotel grounds, bars and other amenities. But the corresponding infrastructure, transportation and communication networks are too little or completely lacking.

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