The hybrid war against Bulgarian tourism

Angela Dimcheva

When will the Ministry of Tourism develop an adequate program to counter the hybrid war against our seaside resorts? When will the state decisively stand on the side of the tourism industry and prove with facts and appropriate advertising the safety, high standard of service and unique natural features of our Black Sea coast? This is what hundreds of hoteliers and restaurateurs are asking this season. The outflow of Bulgarian and foreign tourists is visible. Hotels continue to be half occupied even in mid-July. The tourism industry by the sea is facing collapse. Even during the summers of the three-year Covid pandemic, we have not witnessed such an outflow – 30% of the reservations from European tour operators have been canceled. And the Bulgarian is deceived by the aggressive anti-advertising and panics from the media attacks to the detriment of our coast. Especially harmful for our image are the comments of the know-it-alls in social networks: either they were not dead cows (most likely thrown out by passing merchant ships in the Black Sea), or they were not “biological and radioactive waste” from the reservoir “Nova Kakhovka”, or they were not malicious posts by supposedly “Bulgarians” who photographed “increased” prices in restaurants, or they were not “patriots” who praised “the Turkish cheapness” and “the Greek hospitality”. And they are silent about the salty fines in our southern neighbor, about the five-hour wait at the border, about the cultivated fish products that are served in Greek restaurants. Our fishing companies and ordinary fishermen supply our restaurants with really wild-caught fish, not raised in cages, fed with waste products and stuffed with antibiotics. These are facts that should not be hidden. Another thing: such a rich cultural program (festivals, concerts, exhibitions, seminars), which Burgas, Sozopol, Pomorie, Varna, Balchik, Nessebar and all complexes adjacent to them offer, does not exist anywhere in Greece and Turkey. Besides beach and here and there archaeology – some insensitive remains in these countries, there is nothing that enriches the cultural horizon of guests from Europe. Obviously, the hybrid war against our tourism is fueled by neighboring countries, in order to outline Bulgaria as an attractive destination – because the military situation in Europe is ideal for other purposes. Where are the state officials here who will come out in front of the big European media and state with scientific evidence that there is no pollution along our coast? What are the Bulgarian MEPs doing? Why are they silent? We expect their categorical position not only in the European Parliament, but also to give interviews for BBC, for Deutsche Welle, for Agence France-Presse and other authoritative media.