For sellers

Bulgaria’s Black Sea braces for a bumper summer as Russian holidaymakers flock to Sunny Beach

15 January 16

Russian holidaymakers have historically enjoyed four key summer hotspots: Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Bulgaria. The past 6 months has seen horrifying events in three of these locations causing upheaval throughout their holiday markets.

The ‘Sousse Attacks’ on the beaches of Tunis last June resulted in the deaths of 38 innocent tourists, 219 Russians died when Metrojet flight 9268 from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh disintegrated at 31,000ft having been targeted by ISIS, and finally on November 24th 2015 a Turkish Air Force F-16 shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber on the Syria – Turkey boarder causing the loss of 2 military personal, a collapse of diplomatic relations and the removal of all charter flight routes between the countries.

For the average middle class Russian family, the choice of standard sunshine getaways locations just became much smaller.


So, where will all these Russian holidaymakers head this summer?

With Sofia’s airport now receiving more than double the volume of charter flights than in 2014 and an expedited visa process for Russian applicants, Bulgaria’s Tourism Minister, Nikolina Angelkova, marked the start of the 2015-16 ski season by stating that she expects 30% more Russian visitors in 2016.

Although an extra quarter million Russians tourists this year is hard to believe, we agree there is likely to be a substantial increase in visa applications and we can already confirm holiday rental bookings are up ahead of the alluded rush. Geopolitics have, for once, done Bulgaria a favour and in a struggling sector the boost to numbers will come as a welcomed bonus to tour operators and renting property owners alike.

However, with oil heading to $25 / barrel and the Rouble at 84 / Euro low, it is a very expensive time for even the wealthiest middle class families to visit the Eurozone, almost 2.5x more expensive than in 2014. Given that, most are expected to simply not holiday at all or follow Mr Putin’s advice and holiday within the newest territory of the motherland, Crimea.

All considered, the fast approaching summer is likely to be beyond capacity and the sector is clearly investing based on such expectations. ‘No property in Sunny Beach or the surrounding area should be empty this summer, if its furnished we can fill it’ said's founder, Gorian Varbanov.

Arriving tourists 2014 by nationality