National statistics have revised downward the former government’s figures suggesting more foreign tourists visited Bulgaria in 2016 than the size of its population.
Officials of the previous cabinet earlier said more than 8 million foreign arrivals would be registered between the end of January 2016 and January of this year, in a country of just 7.1 million.
But data from the National Statistical Institute (NSI) indicates the number of foreign visits with recreation purposes was just 5.1 million over the course of 2016.
Government estimates referred to another period, but with tourists’ inflow falling below the millions in january, it is unlikely for the definitive estimates to make up 8 million.
Combined, the foreign and domestic leisure trips to Bulgaria amount to 8.9 million.
On Saturday, tourism officials rebuffed the former Tourism Minister, Nikolina Angelkova, for having presented incorrect data, and urged authorities to implement a unified tourism information system that would help gather exact data on tourist overnights in Bulgaria.
The NSI’s data, on the other hand, does indicate an increase in the number of tourists if compared to the past nine years.
Foreign tourists’ arrivals stood at 4.7567 million in 2008 and 5.11745 last year.
A sharp rise in the number of tourists from Turkey (29 233 vs 328 800), Serbia (155 646 vs 330 700), and Macedonia (104 114 vs 482 900) has been registered if compared to 2008.
Russians visiting Bulgaria also increased in numbers, from 242 478 to 531 800, respectively.
Numbers of Greek (762 222 vs 253 500), British (328 696 vs 164 700) and Romanian (933 936 vs 354 500) tourists registered a steep decline.