Bulgaria's Black Sea resorts became ghost town
The largest Black Sea resorts in Bulgaria, famed for their lively nightlife and crowded coastline, are like a ghost town.
Just a handful of holidaymakers sunbathe among hundreds of unopened umbrellas and untouched sunbeds on its 5 km stretch of golden sand since the coronavirus pandemic has closed borders, grounded flights and forced people to stay home.
Tourism accounts for around 12 percent of the economic output of Bulgaria and provides a lifeline for thousands of people in the poorest member state of the European Union.
The government has provided discounts for charter flights and cut concession fees to save anything from the summer holiday season so beach operators can sell affordable sunbeds while keeping the coasts clean and desinfected.
Bulgaria, which has a fairly small number of cases involving coronavirus, has since early June opened its borders for leisure travel to most European countries.
The pandemic has, however, cut charter flights scheduled for the season to the Bulgarian Black Sea gateways at Varna and Burgas by 35 percent compared to 2019.
"We were expecting the best summer yet. Unfortunately, this is no longer on the agenda. Let's hope we can kick-start the season from July, spin the wheel and build on that," said Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova.
Maritime Business World