Financial and business news from Bulgaria

Restaurateurs at protest against colleague discussed for tourism minister

Richard Alibegov's people are against BHRA Chairman Georgi Shterev
Two professional restaurant organizations - the Association of Restaurants in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Association of Restaurants, have vowed to protest if a colleague was appointed as a caretaker minister of tourism, but by another branch organisation. It is about Georgi Shterev, chairman of the existing Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (BHRA) for nearly 30 years.

“This is not a proposal by the majority of the sector, but only of the association, which has proven itself only interested in the interests of hoteliers in the last year,” the two organisations wrote in a letter to the media. The people of Richard Alibegov, who leads the Bulgarian Association of Restaurants, believe that Shterev's possible appointment as caretaker minister of tourism is “lobbism and another attempt by hoteliers to gain power and privilege”.

So far it is not known whether Georgi Shterev was stopped as a caretaker minister of tourism. This idea became known from an open letter of the BHRA itself, which describes at length and length the difficulties that tourism is experiencing at the moment and lists the qualities of Georgi Shterev, for whose appointment to the ministerial post was gathered wide support from the entire tourism industry. The letter also says that “the BHRA offered for the post of official tourism minister Georgi Shterev, although the organization itself cannot afford to deprive itself of its chairman at such a difficult time”. There is also the suggestion that the previous office cabinet did not take the necessary analysis of the situation in tourism and served only as a “springboard for a smooth return to the status quo”. Shterev himself declined to comment to 24 Hours the attacks against him on the grounds that the BHRA had already said everything.

For several weeks now BHRA has been particularly active in the media space mainly with its warnings about imminent failure of the summer season and its calls to President Rumen Radev not to allow halting the charter flights of Russian tourists to Bulgaria. On Tuesday, the Russian Federation's operational headquarters over the pandemic is expected to disclose under what conditions Russian citizens will be able to travel abroad this summer.

Meanwhile, there are other applications for official minister of tourism, such as Stela Baltova, who once held this post in the government appointed by Rumen Radev of Ognyan Gerdzhikov, as well as BSP MP Hristo Prodanov.