Virus Lays Waste To Bulgaria's Tourist Hotspot

Virus lays waste to Bulgaria's tourist hotspot

Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, Aug 5 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 5th Aug, 2020 ) :"We need at least 100 charter flights a day," says Plamen Kopchev, head of the hotel owners' association in Bulgaria's mammoth Black Sea resort of Sunny Beach, laid waste by the coronavirus pandemic.

But the trouble is, only a fraction of those flights have been arriving, a disaster for a resort Kopchev explains "is made for mass tourism" -- a model that some Bulgarians have long been questioning and which now lies in tatters.

Bulgaria is the poorest country in the European Union and will be dealt a body blow by the virtual collapse of its tourism sector, which accounts for 12 percent of annual economic output.

Initially, Bulgaria managed to control its infection numbers but after easing its lockdown comparatively early, it has found itself in the midst of a fresh spike.

With more than 12,000 infected and a peak of 330 new cases a day in late July, the country has been hit with travel restrictions from several western European countries.

The British tourists who would normally be thronging the fine golden sands are nowhere to be seen, while the occasional Czech, Polish or Romanian family scurries to the beach through the deserted alleys or enjoy having a hotel pool to themselves.

Rows and rows of sunbeds and umbrellas lie empty while hawkers selling inflatable flamingos and other beach must-haves wait idly by.

"Our turnover is down 90 percent from last year, there are simply no foreigners and Bulgarian visitors are few," beach bar manager Nedelin Yankov, 37, told AFP.

"Our bar is open and that's fine with us even if the hotel is only 15 percent full," said Czech teacher Lenka Svobodova, 35, who ventured on holiday with three friends.