In half a year, the guests left over BGN 14.8 million in the local economy
The city is 4th in the prestigious ranking of European Best Destinations
It is 3 p.m., and the hot August sun is burning mercilessly. At the same time, groups flock to the streets of Plovdiv and look at the revival houses. The heat does not scare them at all.
At the intersection between “Saborna” and “Chetvarti Januari” you can hear more speech in English, French, German and Spanish than in Bulgarian.
Statistics show that in July nearly 400 people visited the sites of the architectural reserve every day
A few days before the end of the month, a total of 11,213 tickets were sold, and in the previous two – the houses in the Old Town were viewed by 29,126 tourists. These data were presented to “24 Chasa” by Tanya Slavova from the Municipal Institute “Ancient Plovdiv”.
With the naked eye, it is visible that there is an explosion of tourists in Plovdiv and the city is approaching the levels of 2019, when it was the European Capital of Culture, experts are categorical. The expectations are that Plovdiv will surpass the levels of 3 years ago, when it was quite visited due to the numerous events.
“The effect of the pandemic is long-lasting, but in the first 6 months of 2022, there was an 89% increase in tourists compared to the same period last year. The number of people staying overnight in the city increased by 79%.
Foreign tourists are 200% more than in 2021, but compared to 2019, we still have to catch up by about 30%.
But the Bulgarians who chose to visit Plovdiv with an overnight stay are 5% more compared to 2019″, explained the head of the “Tourism” department in the municipality, Yuliana Yordanova.
The most guests are from Turkey, Greece, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Italy. The Dutch have the longest stays, and all choose mainly 4- or 5-star hotels.
“Foreigners really like Plovdiv. After becoming the capital of culture in 2019,
the whole world found out about the beauties
of the city and now they come to see them with their own eyes”, says a curator at Dr. Stoyan Chomakov’s house, where Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s permanent exhibition is located. The courtyard of the “Hindliyan” house is also crowded.
Foreigners marvel at the alafrangi, the furnishings and above all the bath in the courtyard, which is in Roman style. Everywhere in the architectural reserve one passes large groups every day. There are also students.
Organizers will not forget how this summer Irish children, born of mixed marriages in Dublin, came to visit their grandmothers in various localities in our country.
They organized themselves and came to Plovdiv to see the Ancient Theater, the Basilica, the Roman Stadium. Their teacher from the Bulgarian school in Dublin, Zornitsa Gogan, who is married to an Irishman, was with them.
“They came to the basilica. The guide walked them along the main street and to the most iconic sites, they also passed through the “Trap”. At the end of the day, they caught their flights and went to their grandmothers’ birthplaces. It was very impressive,” editors said.
Another tourist of German origin had arrived under the hills with his half-Bulgarian girlfriend. And he said that he was most impressed by the Ancient Theater and the Old Town.
“Wonderful! But it would be nice to have more fountains to cool off in the heat,” he recommended.
“We also came for your food, it’s very nice.”
Canadian Blair is ecstatic. He and his family live in Turkey and organized a trip to Plovdiv because it is close to them. Toured Main and Old Town, but were impressed by the delicious cuisine.
“I would definitely visit Plovdiv again”, promised Jack Williams from England after a two-day stay in the city.
“Such an outburst of tourists hasn’t happened since before the pandemic,” admitted officials of the architectural reserve.
The cultural and historical heritage of Plovdiv – the Old Town, in which the renovated art gallery was opened on “Saborna” Street, the Great and Small Basilicas, the Roman Forum and other sights, is one of the reasons for the influx of tourists. The other is the eventful cultural calendar.
“Festivals like Hills of Rock and Opera Open attracted thousands, hotels were packed
The “Wine and Gourmet” and young wine defiles, as well as the Crafts Fair, also enjoy great interest. We are also working on new events such as “Gourmet under the hill”, so that there will be more for the guests of the city to see”, adds Yordanova.
In itself, the “Kapana” district, with its numerous restaurants and galleries, is also a magnet for tourists, with its biggest fans coming from the capital.
“Sofians drink their coffee in “Kapana”,
claim the tourism industry and specify that it is actually not just the coffee. Domestic tourism has emerged as a leader in the past few years.
“Bulgarians rediscovered Plovdiv.
The majority of visitors are from Sofia, but there are also from neighboring cities such as Stara Zagora and Velingrad, as well as from further afield such as Burgas, Varna and Ruse”, says the head of the Tourism Department.
Until 5-6 years ago, the people of the country perceived Plovdiv as a transit destination – you pass through the city for a few hours, explore the Old Town and the Ancient Theater, drink a coffee and leave.
The European capital of culture, through which many people heard about Plovdiv both in the country and around the world, reversed this trend. Now most tourists stay under the hills for 2 or more nights.
“Plovdiv came in fourth place in the prestigious ranking of European Best Destinations, and in the subcategories it was defined as the best wine, cultural and romantic destination. Besides being very prestigious, it is a site visited by most people who decide to travel somewhere in the world.
So this advertisement will attract even more tourists”, Juliana Yordanova is convinced.
All this leads to an increase in tourism revenues by 100% in the first six months of 2022 compared to last year and by 9 percent above the receipts for the same period in 2019. For the period from the beginning of January to the end of June 2022, tourists spent in Plovdiv over BGN 14.8 million.