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.

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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.

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Escherichia coli found in the sea water of Popski Beach in Tsarevo

The Regional Health Inspection Authority of Burgas found Escherichia coli bacteria in the sea water near the Popski Beach in Tsarevo. The probes were taken two times in July 2011 and two times in August 2011.

Escherichia coli bacteria

Escherichia coli bacteria. Credit: Janice Haney, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Escherichia coli concentration on 11th July 2011 was 539 cfu in100 ml of water. On 25th July the concentration was 574 cfu in 100 ml of water. On 8th August 2011 there were 24000 coliforms in 100 ml of water, with fecal coliforms 2100 per 100 ml of water, Escherichia coli concentration was 524 cfu per 100 ml of water, and the intestinal enterococci concentration was 467 cfu per 100 ml of water. On 11th August 2011 the intestinal enterococci concentration was 347 cfu in 100 ml of water.

The Regional Health Inspection Authority informed the Reginal Inspection for the Environment and the Waters, the Basin Direction for the Black Sea Region , as well as the District Governor for the Burgas district. It is expected that the beach will be closed in order to prevent the tourists and the local people from getting infections.

According to investigations made in 2010, the pollution comes from the Popska river, which is used as an outlet of the waste water treating plant of the town of Tsarevo, which does not work well in the summer season due to heavy load.

Escherichia coli is a bacterium normally found in the intestinal tract of the humans as non-pathogenic strain. There are pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli which cause many gastroenterological diseases, meningitis and others.  Infections with enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli were reported recently in Germany.

It is a common problem for the tourists on the Bulgarian Black Sea beach to get intestinal infections. Luckily the infections do not take more than 1-3 days, without complications, in most of the cases.

Note: CFU or cfu, the Colony-Forming Unit, is a measure of the concentration of bacteria. The bacteria are counted indirectly, by the number of colonies they form in an appropriate environment by binary fission.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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BG is for Bulgaria

Have you come upon an interesting web site about a hotel or a vacation village which has that strange sounding bg in its name? It is for Bulgaria. Here’s the story:

In the early days of the Internet in Bulgaria the access of the dot BG Internet names was not easy. It was expensive too. And still it is. It is a bit tricky to defend a hold of such name if you just decide to register it. You must provide an evidence that you have a company with that name, you have organized an event with that name, you have published a book with that name and have an ISBN etc. Some companies even register themselves with dot BG suffix as their official name just to have the right to have a domain name. It is still as three times more expensive than having a dot com domain for example. So what do you think was the reaction of the people to the absurd situation?

The Bulgarians started to register domain names in the dot com, dot net and dot org top level domains with prefix bg or bg-, or with suffix  bg or -bg. It’s just a tag which says the web site is Bulgarian and that the owner of the site doesn’t want to deal with all the complicated and expensive procedure of registering and maintaining a Bulgarian domain name. It seems the search engines honor this spelling.

Therefore knowing all of that if you see instead of you will not wander any more what is that strange bg in the name.

Bulgaria All Inclusive

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