Sofia Investment Agency published the “Tourism and Air Transport in Sofia” report, prepared by the Investment Department at the Agency. The report contains data, analysis and conclusions on the tourism sector in the capital as of September 2017. The document presents an overview of the main indicators of the dynamic growth in the sector – number of tourists by country of origin, accommodation capacity, traffic at Sofia Airport, opportunities for development of congress tourism in the city and trends in the industry.
Here are some of the main highlights of the report:
Tourists in Sofia
In 2016, the number of visitors in Sofia went up to 1 197 654. A total of 458 867 of them came from other places in Bulgaria and 738 697 or 61.7% came from abroad.
According to the report, the highest number of tourists came from Germany, Greece and Great Britain with 49 982, 48 102 and 44 227 respectively.
Sofia was among the top 3 cities in Europe with the highest growth of international visitors for the period 2009 – 2016, with an average increase of 9.4%, according to Mastercard report “Global Destination Cities Index”, published in September 2017.
Most of the visits, or 87.2%, were for holiday, and the remaining 12.8% for business. Along with the development of congress tourism in the capital and the forthcoming presidency of the Council of the EU, it is expected that the number of business visits will grow significantly.
Accommodations in Sofia
The hotel market in Sofia is demonstrating a stable growth in number of arrivals, number of nights spent and revenue from nights spent. The trend continues since 2009 but was especially visible in 2016 and is expected to continue in 2017.
Increased occupancy drove an increase in RevPAR, though it remained one of the lowest among the European capitals.
The average daily rate (ADR) in Sofia for 4 and 5 star hotels was EUR 46 and occupancy reached 45%, continuing the trend for consistent growth.
For the period 2013 – 2016 ADR in 4 and 5 star hotels increased with a steady rate of approximately one Euro per year and occupancy grew from 37% to 45%. The revenue in 2016 was EUR 49.5 mln. However, both ADR and occupancy rate in Sofia remained one of the lowest on the continent.
In 2016, Bulgaria was the country with the second biggest increase in airport passengers (15.2%), after Iceland (29.9%).
The total number of passengers at Sofia Airport increased by 21.8% in 2016 to 4 980 387 passengers. The trend continues in 2017 with Sofia Airport welcoming its fifth million passengers in the beginning of October.
The rapid expansion of low-cost carriers was the major factor behind the double-digit increase in number of foreign tourists in Sofia and the city becoming a more and more popular destination for city breaks. According to the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance, more than 56% of the foreigners that visited Bulgaria in 2016 arrived with a low-cost flight.
More detailed data on the growth of the number of international tourists in the capital, passengers and flights at Sofia Airport, the capacity of the accommodation, employment in the sector, etc. is available in the full version of the “Tourism and Air Transport in Sofia” report, published on the website of Sofia Investment Agency in the Market Data and Analyses section.
You can download the full document here.
If you have further questions regarding the report or other data on the investment climate in Sofia, do not hesitate to contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.