Bulgarian resorts blame Black Sea tourism slump on dam disaster

Bulgaria’s Black Sea resorts are blaming a slump in visitor numbers on pollution fears trigged by the ecological disaster caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in Ukraine.

Tourist businesses on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast are blaming fears of pollution following the destruction of Ukraine’s Kakhovka dam for a slump in bookings.

Debris from the disaster, including unexploded mines and pollution, swept down the Dnipro river to Ukraine’s own Black Sea coast.

But experts in Bulgaria say they’ve seen no evidence of any pollution on their beaches along the southwestern shores of the Black Sea.

Yamor Dimitrov, of the Basin Directorate water authority, said: “We guarantee the results of the samples we take on the northern Black Sea coast so far show no excesses. Since June last year, there have been no such increases.”

Other reasons

Tourist officials in Bulgaria say other factors may have contributed to the decline in visitor numbers.

Daniela Stoeva, of the European Committee of Travel Agency Associations, said: “There’s at least one reason, one of the main things to think about is the structure and the quality of our product. When we see that happening, we look for the blame outside ourselves, but in the end the business has to generate a flow when it comes to tourism.”

Russia has widely been blamed for blowing up the dam, causing a major ecological disaster in Ukraine and beyond. Moscow blamed the disaster on Ukrainian missiles.

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