New regulations for hotels which host all-inclusive holidays proposed

A new regulation has been proposed by the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency, which will forbid  the hosting of all-inclusive holidays by hotels having less than 4 stars. The argument of the agency is that the hotels with less than 4 stars do not have enough capacity in their restaurants for their visitors to get and eat their meals without queuing.

All-inlusive food

What are you going to think if you are served food like this in your hotel?
Don’t worry. This is also all inclusive food, but it is diet food served in a Bulgarian hospital.

Some all inclusive operators opposed to the idea saying that there are hotels from the past, built by the old regulations, having 2 ar 3 stars, which have some small deficiencies which do not allow them to get 4 stars, but they still have big enough restaurants.

The Food Safety Agency is subordinated to the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Food, although the tourism is a prerogative of the Ministry of Economics, Industry and Tourism. There were some indications there is some disagreement with the idea of the Food Safety Agency in both ministries.

It is also unclear what will happen with the reservations for all inclusive holidays in 2 and 3-star hotels if the idea of the Food Safety Agency comes into effect.

Posted in All Inclusive, food, health | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

500 Russian tourists stuck at the airport after a vacation in Bulgaria

Last week about 500 Russian tourists got stuck on the Varna and Bourgas airports after the Bulgaria Air company cancelled charter flights for Alma Tour Air, a subsidiary company of Alma Tour. According to Bulgaria Air the flights were cancelled due to debt of Alma Tour Air of 7 million bulgarian levs owed to the flight operator, which is about 5 million USD, or about 150 million Russian rubles, and the tourists should turn to the tour operator for issues related to the cancelled flights.

After a short hesitation the tour operator started handing out food, drinks and baby supplies on the airport and accommodated the tourists to hotels.

The crisis between the two Bulgarian companies prompted the reaction of the Bulgarian regulators an the Russian government, who sent officials to handle the situation. A Bulgarian government official said the government can compensate the tourists, but threatened the two companies with revocation of their operation permits unless they resolve the crisis by their-selves.  It also sent the government aircraft to transport children, elderly, ill people and pregnan women. About 80 people were transported to Moscow.

On 11th of September 2011, Sunday, in a TV interview, an official of the Bulgaria Air said that all blocked Russian tourists will be transported. It is expected that part of the tourists will have to stay until Monday or Tuesday.

Some of the tourists left Bulgaria by using other airlines at expense of their local travel agencies.

An investigation of the Bulgarian law enforcement authorities is under way.

In the meanwhile the Turkish Airlines started an aggressive TV advertisement campaign.

Alma Tour Fly Ltd. is registered in the Commercial Register of the Bulgarian Registration Agency with a capital of 5000 BGN. The yearly report for year 2010 shows an overall deterioration of of the short-term financial status of the company compared to the status for 2009. It might be a result of the decision leasing of two airplanes.

The mother company, Alma Tour – BG AD is one of the biggest Bulgaria tour operators, founded back in 1991. It has subsidiaries in many countries.

Bulgaria Air is the national air transporter of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Posted in airport, All Inclusive, crisis, Russia, transportation | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hotel, Restaurant and Shop Owners Protest Against the Situation in Sunny Beach

Many owners of hotels, restaurants and shops, suppliers as well as taxi drivers in Sunny Beach participated in protests against the duplicate costs they have to pay directly or indirectly for services to Sunny Beach PLC, while they pay taxes for the same services to the municipal and state authorities.

In the past the infrastructure of the resort got privatised to Sunny Beach PLC, however it is used to serve hotels, restaurants etc. out of the Sunny Beach PLC ownership. The protesters want the infrastructure to become municipal property. They prepared a list of demands.

According to Sunny Beach PLC, they act according to the Bulgarian law. They also said that by the restrictions imposed on the access to the infrastructure they implement the policy of the state for Sunny Beach.

Sunny Beach is one of the Bulgarian best known resorts, where many of the hotels have all-inclusive offers. The tourists are not likely to feel anything from the tension.

Posted in All Inclusive | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food In All Inclusive Hotels In Bulgaria Under Scrutiny

A dish served in Zheravna.

A dish served in Zheravna.

The Food Agency from the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Foods will initiate massive campaign to check the quality of the food offered in the all inclusive hotels on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The campaign will start on 10th of June 2011. In it the agency will be checking the allegation that some of the food is with passed expiration date. The conditions under which the food is stored and served will also be checked.
If the inspectors from the agency find violations of the norms for food storage or preparation, it will impose fines on the hotels. It is even possible that the agency will seal some kitchens if the violations are extensive.

Posted in All Inclusive | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Websites spotted to offer all inclusive holidays to/in Bulgaria (1)

There will be a series of posts in which I shall summarize which sites I spotted to offer all inclusive holidays to/in Bulgaria in  2011. I will post the URL, the place where I spotted the site, as well as in which language the site is offering all-inclusive holidays. Please note that even if the site is in Bulgarian, in most of the cases there is a button which switches the language to English, German, French, or Romanian.

Posted in All Inclusive | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Is The Solar Maximum Going to Influence The Summer Holiday Industry In Bulgaria in 2011?

After several years between 2005 and 2009 of relative calmness, our closest star is once again beginning to increase its activity. The number of sun spots is increasing. There were several solar activity events in the beginning of 2011, some with an intensity over X on the NOAA’s  SWPC magnitude scale. It is now clear that the Sun is entering a solar maximum period. So what is in common between the solar maximum and the summer holidays? The common point is your skin.

During the summer it is hot, your skin is willingly or unwillingly, directly exposed to the rays of the Sun. After all, one of the objectives to go to a sea holiday is getting a nice chocolate complexion which you can show off to your friends. The more active is the sun, the stronger is the intensity of the UV and X-rays which come to the Earth. The stronger in the ray intensity, the greater is the risk of skin burn and skin cancer.

How much greater? I don’t know – I haven’t checked. The average person not only has not checked, he/she doesn’t care too.

Therefore the summer holiday industry in Bulgaria will not be influenced by the Solar Maximum.

Posted in All Inclusive | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VAT On Tourist And Travel Services In Bulgaria Changes On April 1st, 2011

The value added tax on tourist and travel services will change in Bulgaria on April 1st, 2011. The current differential tax rates of 7 percent for group packages and 20 percent for individual packages will become a single tax rate of 9 percent for all tourist packages. It is still unclear if the tax rate for the additional services which are not included in the packages will still be 20 percent or it will be 9 percent as well.

As most of the all inclusive packages are resold by travel agencies, therefore included in the group travel category, the tax rate for the end users will change from 7 percent to 9 percent, ending in a 2 percent growth.

In spite of the single VAT rate, it is still a good idea to sign a contract with a travel agency in your country, which will bear the responsibility for the fulfillment of the holiday package before the end users, thus buffering the communication with the holiday package provider. It is also more convenient to have the responsible party handy in your country in case you need to take some legal action. The Bulgarian courts are well known for their unpredictability and sluggish lawsuits.

Posted in All Inclusive | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grand Hotel Varna Started Their Early Booking Campaign For Summer 2011

Grand Hotel Varna have started their early booking campaign. There are 20% and 15% discounts for early bookers of All Inclusive Premium packages depending on the date on which the booking is made for each of the hotels Grand Hotel Varna 5*, Dolphin 4*, Dolphin-Marina 4*, Rubin 4* and Lebed 4*. The early bookings until March 15th, 2011, get 20% discount, while the early  bookings made until April 30th, 2011, get15% discount.

Unfortunately I found the page on their web site only in Bulgarian http://www.grandhotelvarna.com/main/special_offers.php?cell=64&lang=bg.

Posted in All Inclusive | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Albena Calls for Early Booking for the Summer 2011 Campaign (review)

In an article on their web page Albena Resort describe the upgrades they made to some of their hotels and facilities for the summer of 2011. They also mention an upgrade of their All Inclusive and Ultra All Inclusive programs which is meant to raise the quality of the programs. In addition they advise that visitors who book their vacations in the beginning of the campaign will enjoy lower prices, as the prices may go higher as the summer comes.

Please note that the picture with the logo of the campaign is in Bulgarian. ‘готов ли си за … ЛЯТО 2011′ means ‘are you ready for … SUMMER 2011′. Do not be confused by that, everything is just fine. Maybe later they will change the Bulgarian logo with an English one for the article in English.

Here is the original article http://www.albena.bg/en/news/view/id/82.

Posted in All Inclusive | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Albena Invested In Food Control Lab

According to the web site of Albena JSCo, the company which runs the Albena resort and a major Bulgarian all inclusive vacations provider, they established a food control laboratory. The laboratory will test the quality of the food acquired for the resort. It will start to function in the mid 2011. Here is the original information http://www.albena.bg/en/news/view/id/85.

Posted in All Inclusive | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment