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Camping amidst a global pandemic

How are campsites in Bulgaria preparing for the summer season?

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Photo: Pixabay

Campsites on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast are faced with a difficult summer ahead. The tourist season in them starts on July 1, but they are already preparing their facilities for welcoming guests. Safety measures are outlined, although there are no instructions and rules for their work at this stage - currently an official ordinance has been issued only for hotels.

"There are many campsites in Bulgaria that have already opened. One of the most important regulations that must be observed is that for the operation of commercial sites in the open”, explains Tsvetomira Tsotsova from the Bulgarian camping and caravanning portal Camping.bg. “In addition to the regulations for hotels, they must comply with that for the operation of swimming pools because it says how common bathrooms should be maintained, as well as how the open-air restaurants should work."


Due to the expected fewer tourists and lower revenues, the cost of disinfection of sanitary facilities will be a problem for some campsites, as they have to hire additional staff.

A poll conducted by the Bulgarian National Radio with campsite managers on the North and South Black Sea coasts in Bulgaria shows that they are already preparing for the start of the season and are taking measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

"We will be guided by the criteria that apply to hotels in order to take all precautions - brochures, disinfectants in prominent places, disinfection of bungalows. Otherwise, our beach is large enough to abide by the social distancing rule. The terrain for putting up tents is large enough”,  says Galina Nedelcheva, manager of the Cosmos camping site near Durankulak. Located in a picturesque area in a very close proximity to the Bulgarian-Romanian border, the campsite has 30 bungalows and a plot for tents and caravans.


The late start of the summer tourist season does not cause much concern among those employed in the industry on Bulgaria’s northernmost Black Sea coast, as traditionally there the season begins around early July and lasts until early September. The preserved pristine beaches in this part of the coastline attract fans of free camping, which again emerges as a serious problem of coastal municipalities.

"What is new for this summer is that motor vehicles are not allowed within the boundaries of the beaches”, says Marian Zhechev, mayor of Shabla. “The ordinance we expected to be issued to regulate free camping – clearly designated places where it should happen and under what conditions - unfortunately is not yet available. This further exacerbates concerns about the epidemic. Problematic are the cases where people go camping on places without running water, sewerage and toilets. For me, the best measure at the moment is to refrain from free camping in such areas."

Tighter hygiene measures this summer and a possible reduction in prices are being discussed at the Kavatsi campsite. It is one of the largest on the Southern Black Sea coast with 60 bungalows, a motel, as well as 100 places for tents and caravans, as the visitors there are 99% Bulgarians.

"We will pay even more attention to cleanliness," explains Zornitsa Ilieva, the campsite's manager. Mass entry will definitely not be allowed. There will be a certain person from the staff to watch over this, and the entry will be done only with an electronic chip. The most important thing is the health of our tourists and staff. We are discussing prices now and maybe, albeit minimally, there will be a reduction. However, we are talking about the prices for overnight stays for the hotel and the bungalows, because we are really expecting a very difficult season.


In Bulgaria, campsites that work mainly with foreigners will bear the heaviest consequences of the crisis, Tsvetomira Tsotsova predicts. Half of Bulgarians will change their vacation plans this summer, but only 5% will give up their plans to go camping. 61% of respondents believe that a camping holiday is safer at a time of a coronavirus epidemic, shows an online survey conducted by the Bulgarian camping and caravanning portal Camping.bg.


Editor: Yoan Kolev /based on reports by BNR correspondents from Burgas and Dobrich and an interview of Valeria Nikolova/

Photos: Shabla Municipality, Pixabay, Radio Sofia, Camping.bg

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