The Russian tourist market is lost for Bulgaria, and Bulgaria itself is lost for Russian tourists and owners of numerous real estate, at least At least for a period until the geopolitical situation improves, Draganov, director of the Institute for Analysis and Evaluation in Tourism, categorically stated. According to Novinite, the property bought by our compatriots there is either sold below market prices or abandoned, because flights from Russia to Bulgaria are now possible only through third countries, which significantly increases the cost of the trip.
“About 50,000 Russian citizens are expected to arrive in Bulgaria this year on flights via Istanbul, Dubai and Belgrade, some of them own property in Bulgaria,” the tourism expert said. “However, this is the minimum they have reached in the 2020 pandemic. For comparison, in previous years there were 550,000 of them, during the years of socialism in the USSR they exceeded a million.
Although the specialist did not have exact data, he calculated that there are more than 200,000 of these properties owned by Russians in Bulgaria: not only by the sea, but also inland, and some of them belong to families in mixed marriages.
“Is the Russian tourist market lost in our country? At the moment, yes,” Draganov said. However, according to him, the market will definitely recover when the international situation allows it.
Russians are selling their homes primarily for economic reasons, not for fear of Russophobia, added Hristo Nikolova, chairman of the association With Russia for Faith, Unity and Culture – Nessebar, which has more than 550 members, more than half of which – Russians. The association has existed since 2016 and its initial idea was to include the Russian diaspora in Bulgaria through various cultural celebrations.
“However, the EU sanctions definitely have a negative impact on them. Due to the flight ban, Russians who have real estate in our country travel through Turkey, which significantly increases the cost of their visits,” Nikolov added. He gave a specific example: “The flight from St. Petersburg via Sochi and via Turkey cost the traveler 1,500 euros (140,000 rubles), which is a huge amount.”
Pomorie: 50% of Russian real estate sold
The area known as “Little Russia” and tacitly called “Little Moscow” in Pomorie is abandoned, and there is a tendency to sell bought apartments there. “Now Russian speech is not heard in the city,” the publication quoted the mayor of Pomorie, Ivan Aleksiev, as saying.
The reflux started two years ago with the onset of the pandemic and travel restrictions, he said. “Fewer and fewer Russian citizens began to come, they were also affected by inflation and the collapse of the Russian ruble, and this process of selling apartments began, which has been going on for two or even three years. Most Russians who visit Bulgaria come in the summer. There were not so many of them last summer and the year before last, and because of the events in Ukraine, their houses are being sold en masse,” he said.
Very few Russians currently live in Pomorie, and at least half of the houses have been sold for ownership in the past two to three years, the mayor added. His observations showed that the events around Ukraine did not force our fellow citizens to move to Bulgaria, and they are currently in Russia. “In winter, pensioners live here, who tolerate the climate well, and their relatives help them, but they obviously returned, I don’t see them in the city now,” Aleksiev said.
Property for sale
To the question: “Is there a real estate market in the current realities that flourished because of the search for a“ second home ”, the mayor of the resort replied:“ Yes and no. There is no shortage of Russians who want to sell their property in our country, but in practice this is currently impossible. Such real estate in Bulgaria is mainly owned by the average Russian, who often took out a loan for the purchase, and was acquired for considerable sums, ”Ginka Todorova, manager of the MG Estate real estate agency with offices in Burgas and Primorsko, was quoted as saying. The weakening of the Russian ruble is forcing some owners to part with real estate. The coronavirus crisis has dealt another blow, and the situation in Ukraine has put many of them in a hopeless situation.
“A trip to Bulgaria is difficult and expensive. For some, this is a problem of servicing their loans, which are taken in euros, there are expenses for the maintenance of property, which in the end they cannot use, she noted. “So the decision to sell comes naturally, but sanctions against Russia, and in particular those related to payments, effectively freeze these transactions.” According to her, despite the general situation, one cannot expect that these objects will be bought for a penny and offered at prices that are adequate on the market at the moment.
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