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Free city tours attract tourists again

Photo: Free Sofia Tour

In the last few weeks, we have witnessed the gradual lifting of various bans connected with the Covid-19 pandemic. Normality and predictability in everyday life returned. City tours are among the best indicators of the revival of tourism, because this type of tourism has huge potential and the interest in the city tours before the coronavirus crisis was very big.

Free city tours are held in over 300 cities in more than 75 countries worldwide, including Bulgaria. Tourists choose this type of tourist service to get acquainted with the history and the sights of the respective city and feel the local spirit as well.

Organizers of city tours in Bulgaria forecast that the number of individual tourists and travelers will increase as a result of the measures adopted against the novel coronavirus.

“In my view, we will witness an increase in the number of individual tourists from different nationalities this year- the Chairperson of the Union of Bulgarian Tour Guides Hristina Nedelcheva forecasted in an interview for Radio Bulgaria. – Of course, it all depends on the transport options they can find to get to our sea capital Varna. I suppose that the interest in this type of walking tours will increase. In many cities worldwide, as well as in our city, the number of individual tourists and travelers who want to stay in a city hotel, hostel or a private accommodation has increased.”

The Union of Bulgarian Tour Guides received a permission from Varna Municipality to make certain changes to the schedule of the city tours held in the coastal city.

“We will have city tours in different languages every day until the end of June- Hristina Nedelcheva points out. - They will be short and will include visits of certain sites depending on the interest of the foreign tourists. We will start with Romanian, French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Hebrew and English. Every Saturday and Sunday, we will have city tours in Bulgarian. We really hope that our city will be visited by many Bulgarians this year, because the trend is to promote domestic tourism. These tours will be broadcast via a live stream on the Facebook page of the tourist information center. Thus, we advertize the city and facilitate those who are not able to come to Varna”.

City tourists are curious and ask many questions depending on their own interests. Some of them are interested in the history of the buildings. Others want to learn more about the local historical figures. Some people are interested in the way of life in Bulgaria, etc.

Ivan Dzhamulov is organizer of two city tours in the Old Town of Plovdiv. One of the tours tells the story of Kapana creative district. The second tour, which lasts for two and a half hours, reveals the culture and history of the city which was European Capital of Culture in 2019. 

“Our business is gradually resuming, yet at a much lower capacity than before. Currently, the groups consist of a maximum of 10 people. We engage more tour guides, in order to avoid gatherings of many people and guarantee the necessary physical distance. At this point, we manage to deal with the situation with the existing team.”

Finally, we take a look at Sofia, where the large groups of tourists standing in front of a symbolic building were part of the cityscape before the outbreak of Covid-19. Recently, the free city tours in Bulgaria’s capital resumed again. In an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, the organizer of one of the city tours Tomislav Rashkov voiced hopes that increased interest in the city tours will be registered as of mid July. In his view, the guests who visit the capital city will be again able to become part of a nice tourist experience.

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

Photos: Free Sofia Tour, Free Varna Tour, Free Plovdiv Tour, Union of Bulgarian Tour Guides

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