The ministers of tourism and health met with representatives of the industry.
Representatives of the tourism and restaurant industry met with Ministers of Health Stoycho Katsarov and Tourism Stella Baltova. Both expressed general support for determining incentives through vaccination vouchers for Bulgarian citizens. Prime Minister Stefan Yanev and Finance Minister Asen Vassilev will discuss the issue as well.
We suggest introducing incentives that already exist in other countries. For example, every vaccinated Bulgarian could receive a voucher worth BGN 50 from the state for hotels or restaurants. In this way, the tourism sector that has suffered the most from the global pandemic will directly be supported, Dr Polina Karastoyanova, Executive Director of the NBT, explained.
The low percentage of complex doses in our country hinders tourism and the attraction of foreign tourists. The main markets for the Bulgarian Black Sea coast allow their citizens to rest in countries with a high vaccination rate. The cabinet should help stimulate the vaccination process to protect the health of business workers and tourists. Accelerating vaccination is extremely important, as tourists would not visit a country that neglects the problem.
Greece is already working in this direction. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced yesterday the launch of the Freedom Pass, an innovative mechanism aimed at encouraging young people (aged between 18 and 25) to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Freedom Pass will be available from July 15. The card will have a prepaid credit of 150 euros and will be available to every Greek citizen born between 1996 and 2003 who received at least one dose of the vaccine between January 1 2021, and December 31 2021.
Regarding the National Board of Tourism proposal for the possibility of allowing vaccination for foreign tourists in Bulgaria, the health authorities cannot approve such a measure because the European Commission has signed the contracts for the supply of vaccines with pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, they will only discuss with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the possibility for Bulgarians returning from abroad in the summer to be vaccinated in Bulgaria. Then, they should be able to apply single-dose preparations.
The rotating chairman of the BCCB, Richard Alibegov, proposed to the Minister of Health to introduce relief for abolishing the mandatory wearing of masks by already vaccinated employees in restaurants and hotels, regardless of the open or closed space.