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Crisis on the Balkans: Travel Agent for the Alexander Tour Area Says Summer Season for Greece and Bulgaria Differs as Stats Step in

Greece Dives, Bulgaria Thrives: The Contrasting Fortunes of the Two Neighbouring Countries’ Tourism Industries

Sofia, Bulgaria, July 13, 2012 --( Greece has been locked in an unrelenting vice of financial disorder for several years. Among the 27 member states of the European Union, their debt crisis has led to multiple bailouts totalling € 240 billion from their counterparts to service debt in excess of €350 billion, according to the BBC.

This prolonged financial woe has led to social unrest, political chaos and crucially, the possibility that Greece may have to revert from the euro, the sole legal tender within 17 European countries, to its former currency the drachma. The recent general election that ushered in the New Democracy party has soothed fears of such changes as the new government try to meet austerity measures set by the EU.

Holidaymakers however are not convinced and this has endangered Greece’s tourism industry, which could see its annual revenue fall by as much as 15% according to Reuters. This comes after a year of startling recovery in 2011 which saw a record number of visitors, a staggering 16.4 million according to the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises. There is a genuine fear amid tourists that the ongoing troubles mean there is far more risk than reward in travelling to the beautiful but embattled country.

North of the border, the picture couldn’t be more different for neighbouring Bulgaria. The National Statistical Institute reported almost nine million visitors in 2011, an indication that Bulgaria’s coronation as one of the world’s best travel destinations by major websites Lonely Planet and CNN, certainly set luggage wheels racing.

Alexander Tour, a leading travel agent in the Balkans, is also a key player in this surge of interest, investing significantly in advertising and marketing Bulgaria as a tourist destination and having its website content available in English, French and Spanish. As a result, Bulgaria is a destination that finds itself more and more apparent in the psyche of the modern-day tourist, especially with the favourable exchange rate of its local currency, the lev, making it an increasingly attractive proposition in light of the eurozone crisis.

With its age-defying historical sites, stunning nature reserves and fabulous cuisine too, Bulgaria is steadily becoming one of the most cherished countries in eastern Europe with its curious confines attracting a growing number of visitors not only from mainland Europe but around the world.

In the capital city of Sofia, there is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the national symbol of Bulgarian culture, perhaps only usurped by the Russian Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle Maker, a glorious reminder that Bulgaria’s upbringing was anything but straightforward.

Boyana Church and the Rila Monastery, two of nine UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country, illustrate the breadth of religious architecture in the region. In the second city of Plovdiv and its most revered structures awaits a slice of ancient Rome. Further east, a visit to the Thracian tombs of Kazanlak and Sveshtari makes clear that Bulgaria’s past may be long gone but certainly not forgotten.

A blend of emerging cities, charming towns and villages, mammoth mountains and a thriving coastline certifies Bulgaria as a destination for all seasons with Varna and Burgas popular in the summer and skiing resorts such as Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo showing that no word better defines Bulgaria than variety.

After more than twenty years at the forefront of the local travel and tourism industry, Alexander Tour’s assured insight and quality service will undoubtedly be a key factor in maintaining Bulgaria’s tourism boom for years to come.
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Alexander Tour Co
Jourdan Rhule

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