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Beating the Heat at Bulgarian Mud 'Spa'
If you're tiring of T-shirts and wide-brimmed hats to beat the summer heat, inspiration may be at hand from a Bulgarian summer tradition rolling around in the mud,
Every summer thousands of locals and tourists flock to an improvised mud-and-lye "spa" on the edge of an open-air salt factory near the Black Sea city of Burgas.
Apart from its cooling effects, people also believe there are...
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Deadline for EU nationals to register to vote in Bulgaria’s local elections is September 16
The deadline for nationals of other European Union countries resident in Bulgaria to register to vote in the country’s autumn 2019 mayoral and municipal elections is September 16, according to a timetable on the website of the Central Election Commission.
By presidential decree, Bulgaria’s 2019 local elections will be held on October 27.
Should second-round elections be necessary, they...
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Clear skies, but bright moon, for peak of 2019’s Perseids over Bulgaria
The annual Perseids meteor shower will peak in Bulgaria’s night skies on August 12 and 23 2019, and the good news is that the weather forecast is for clear skies – but the not so good news is the show will have competition from the waxing moon.
There will be a full moon on August 15, meaning that something of the shine of the Perseids may be taken off in the days leading up to it.
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Bulgarian Flight Delays Trigger A Government Investigation
Last week we reported thatÂ the Greek government is enacting emergency measures to end flight delays in the country. But Greece is not the only state battling with this issue. More and more European countries seem to believe that government intervention is required as a solution to frequentÂ flight delays. Bulgaria now joins the list.
The Bulgarian Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications issuedÂ a news releaseÂ last month outlining its plan of action. The news release states the problem as being â€śincreased delays in flightsâ€ť. The Minister then requests airlines â€śto provide information on the reasons for delays or cancellationsâ€ť. The news release also announces that the Civil Aviation Administration of Bulgaria will conduct an inspection regarding this matter.
Aviation in Bulgaria
The southeastern European country of Bulgaria is the poorest in the European Union. Even so, its aviation sector has beenÂ booming in the last few years.
Â As reported byÂ Fraport
Â for the two Bulgarian airports it has a share in, the growth of passenger traffic is strong, at 16% in Varna and 10% in Burgas over 2018. The countryâ€™s main airport, Sofia Airport,Â publishedÂ that it recorded a growth of 7% last year. That is no small feat for an airport that already handles seven million passengers.
Emigration drives air traffic growth in Bulgaria.Â The Irish TimesÂ lists Germany, Great Britain, and Spain as favorite destinations for migrants. With a history of corruption in Bulgaria and the economy offering low salaries, it is unsurprising that Bulgarians are making use of their EU right to work elsewhere.
As migrants constitute a major share of air passenger traffic in this middle-income country, it is also unsurprising that there is a strong presence of low-cost carriers there. Wizz Air flies a total ofÂ 29 routesÂ out of the capital Sofia. Ryanair fliesÂ 27.
The country also has a national carrier, Bulgaria Air. It flies more routes from Sofia than either Wizz Air or Ryanair but carries far fewer passengers. Simple Flying previously analyzed whetherÂ national carriers are even needed anymore.
Thus, it is foreign airlines that carry most of the air traffic in Bulgaria. It is perhaps for this reason that the Bulgarian government feels the need to react and investigate whether foreign carriers are treating Bulgarian passengers fairly during these frequent delays.
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Eurostat: In Five Years No Sea Cruise has been Realized in Bulgaria
In the last 5 years in Bulgaria, no sea cruises have been realized from our two ports Varna and Burgas, Eurostat data show the trends in the development of this type of sea tourism in the EU countries last year.
The only sea cruise departing from the port of Varna was in 2013, according to European statistics.
However, many of our travel companies offer organized cruises with the most famous liners of known cruise companies such as Celestyal Cruises, Costa Cruises or Costa Crociere - a cruise company based in Genoa, Italy, owned by the largest cruise line operator - US-British Carnival Corporation and plc, conglomerate Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD and others.
The native companies offer organized cruises to the start and end ports, which cancel tourists' commitments for airline tickets. For those who want to sail from the port of origin, native tour operators assist in cheap airline tickets at special airline rates, hotel accommodations, and visas where needed.
For example, a Venice Wheel cruise with a flight from Sofia to Venice and from there with a cruise ship costs about 2000 levs, an American Dream cruise with a flight from Istanbul to Miami, USA, includes a 10-day cruise to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Miami to price from BGN 3 570 and others.
Some of the cheapest cruises offered by our companies include very discounted discounts of up to 50 percent for a second person on a trip, such as a five-day boat trip around Italy for 500 levs per person, and three days with a Mediterranean ship on our southern coast. neighbor Greece is bidding for about 600 leva per person.
Luxury deals are also offered at BGN 1 600 per person for a 7-day cruise on the most exotic corners of the Mediterranean, as well as an offer of BGN 1 700 for 7 days along the Adriatic coast.
Last year, the number of passengers traveling by sea from the EU to various destinations reached 7 million, surpassing the record of 6.9 million in 2012, according to Eurostat.
Most passengers / about 85 percent of all travelers / have embarked on a cruise in one of the five EU countries, with the lead for most cruise ship tourists held by Italy - nearly 2 million departing from ports in Italy. Followed by Spain - 1.5 million passengers, Germany - 1.1 million passengers, the United Kingdom - 1 million passengers and Belgium - 500 thousand passengers.
Most cruise passengers travel from two European ports that hold the lead in this type of tourism: Southampton, UK - over 830,000
passengers and Barcelona, â€‹â€‹Spain - 720 thousand passengers.
Our neighbor, the undisputed leader in cruise travel, is Greece, with over 220,000 passengers from ports in our southern neighbor. The number of cruises from Turkey has been falling: from 250,000 passengers in 2013 - to about 60,000 in the last year. and mainly with destinations in the Mediterranean.
Romania's northern neighbor also has not completed any cruises from its port last year.
Sea cruises covered by these statistics are those where passengers are provided with their own cabins and entertainment onboard. Passengers on ferries or day trips by boat are not included in the survey, Eurostat said.
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Bulgaria Ranks Last in the EU in Online Holiday Booking
Bulgaria ranks last in the European Union (EU) in online holiday booking, Eurostat statistics for 2017 show.
In the EU in 2017, 50% of internet users said they had booked their vacations online. Only 17% of the Bulgarian population planned their vacations this way.
Luxembourg, Switzerland, Finland and Germany are at the top with 73, 66, 65 and 64 percent respectively. Romania is just ahead of Bulgaria by 18%.
Traditionally, planning holidays or trips online is more common among Bulgarian internet users between the ages of 25 and 34 (55%).
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Significant Increase in Bulgarians' Trips for the Second Quarter of the Year
The trips of the Bulgarians doubled in the period April - June, according to the data of the National Statistical Institute. Over the three months, 1.219 million Bulgarians traveled, as expected, most of them traveled in the country - 75.7%, 19.1% traveled abroad, and 5.2% - both in the country and abroad. Compared to the same quarter of 2018, the total number of passengers increased by 12.4%, data show.
As expected, Bulgarians aged 25 - 44 traveled the most - 548 thousand, or 44.9%. The relative share of trips in the country is prevailing in all age groups, with the highest among people aged 65 and over - 78%.
For trips abroad, the share of travellers aged 25-44 is the highest - 19.9% â€‹â€‹of the travellers in the respective age group.
The majority of tourist trips both in the country (46.2%) and abroad (78.4%) were for the purpose of "rest and vacationâ€ť.
The expenditures by species with the largest relative share in the country are those for food - 37.8%, while abroad the main expenses go for transport - 29%.
The average cost of traveling for one person's own purpose is BGN 198.34 in the country and BGN 658.74 abroad. In the case of work trips, the average cost per person is BGN 168.82 in the country and BGN 1198.35 abroad.
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The Strike of the Ryanair Pilots is POSTPONED
The Irish Supreme Court has blocked the strike of the Ryanair pilots scheduled for tomorrow and again in Dublin.
The airline welcomed the decision and urged pilots to return to negotiations and to resolve any disagreements without disrupting the flight schedule.
A British court decision is also expected today to postpone the protest by pilots in Britain.
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We Can Already Choose Our Seats on the Train
They will be booked.Â
As of Tuesday, BDZ and Information Services are beginning to implement in the real environment bookings in the ticketing system. This was reported by the state railway, cited by Darik News.
Through reservations, customers will be able to choose their own seat in the wagon to be accommodated during their journey. Until now, there was an option to reserve seats, but it was not possible to choose exactly which ones.
It is very important for the proper functioning of the system to be implemented in a real environment, taking steps to remedy any inaccuracies in specific situations in a timely manner.
During the implementation, two-screen displays will be gradually installed in the main ticket offices and train ticket offices, which will visualize the seats on the train and thus facilitate customer choice.
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The Tourists in Pirin Have almost Doubled
The number of tourists visiting the chalets in the mountainous regions of Razlog and Bansko has almost doubled in the summer, BNT reports. According to the owners of chalets in Pirin, dozens of organized groups from England, Germany and Romania made reservations for the month of August in the mountain tourist complexes already 2 months ago.
The most preferred routes are in the area of â€‹â€‹Vihren hut. These include, for example, the road to Fish Lake, which is reached after a 3-hour hike, the Koncheto shelter, the Jamdzhiev rim and the Vihren peak. Since the beginning of the summer season, the Vihren hut has been full of tourists and the hikers have even provided extra sleeping bags and beds.
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Every Fourth Flight from Bulgaria Departed with a Delay in July
Every fourth departure from Bulgaria's three busiest airports is delayed. This is evidenced by the results of the inspection by the Directorate General for Civil Aviation Administration (DGSA), which was assigned to it by Transport Minister Rosen Zhelyazkov late last month. It was reached after many flights were delayed since the beginning of the year. The audit aimed to find out whether European legislation on compensation and assistance to passengers for delayed and canceled flights is complied with.
The Transport Ministry said that extraordinary checks were made at the airports in Sofia, Varna, Burgas, and Plovdiv. Data were collected from all flights in July and two teams, including inspectors and passenger rights experts, participated in the audit.
Sofia is a leader in delayed flights
The inspection shows that there are no delays of departure planes exceeding 30 minutes for Plovdiv Airport. No irregularities were found there in respect of the rights of passengers. However, this was mainly due to the small number of flights - three times a week.
Sofia Airport is the leader in delays in July. Of the 4797 completed passenger flights, which include scheduled and charter flights, 28.8% did not depart on time. 23.8% of the delays are within 1 hour, 3.2% - within 1 to 2 hours, and 1.8% - over 2 hours. For more than two hours, European legislation provides for compensation for each passenger, depending on the distance to the endpoint of the flight.
In July 1276 flights were completed from Varna Airport, with registered delays over 2 hours leaving 3.6% of all flights. One to two-hour delays were reported for 7.13% of flights and between half and one hour for 8.3%.
During the same period, a total of 2484 flights were performed from the Bourgas airport, with registered delays over 2 hours leaving 4.38% of all flights. 6.72% of all departures were delayed between one and two hours, and 9.94% of all departures between half and one hour.
Thus, out of a total of 8557 flights from Sofia, Varna and Burgas 2154 are delayed, which makes 25% of all flights.
The reasons for the delays
"The main reasons for delays to and from airports to be inspected, including long delays, are route restrictions related to air traffic management capacity and adverse weather conditions," the inspection report said.
Other causes of delays include delays in previous flights, technical problems (defect found, sudden damage to aircraft, delayed refueling, etc.), waiting for transfer passengers, bird strikes, delayed baggage loading, delays due to security checks, late submission of flight documentation, etc.
It is underlined that record levels of traffic and record delays of over 18 million minutes were registered in Europe last summer, which was the "major problem in some parts of the European airspace". The biggest delays in Europe are reported at the control centers in Karlsruhe, Marseille, Reims, and Maastricht, all of which have an effect across the European air network.
Air traffic is expected to increase by about 3.5% in the coming years, which is why the Governing Body of the European Air Network has already taken steps to reduce delays, the transport ministry said. Air traffic flows from the airspace of the busiest control centers have been shifted since late April to reduce delays at the European level.
Is the airport staff doing well
The audit found that employees of all ground-based operators at Bulgarian airports servicing airlines under contracts they have concluded: "have shown a high level of knowledge of the procedures and actions to be taken by them in the event of a major flight delay".
Problems with airlines and airports
The transport ministry stressed that at the time of preparation of the report no flight information had been received from 10 Bulgarian and 19 foreign airlines, therefore the data collection and processing will continue. The data collected from Bulgarian airlines shows that not all have published information on passenger rights on their websites. None of them applied their internal rules for passenger irregularities to their response to the airline.
The checks found that, as a whole, check-ins and airport lounges had information available to guide passengers on how to get to know their rights. However, with the exception of Plovdiv Airport, visualization is not sufficient and brochures are not freely available in more public areas of the airports.
Not all check-ins have a clear and legible message in the visible and accessible passenger area containing the rights of passengers in the event of a canceled or delayed flight.
"This is a recurrent violation, to which remedial measures will be prescribed to eliminate it," the ministry said.
The Directorate-General for Civil Aviation Administration will continue to exert ex-post controls on air and ground operators to enforce European legislation and respect for passenger rights, the Transport Ministry said in a statement.
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