There was a 44% increase in the number of tourists in Sofia in 2021 compared to the previous year despite the decline due to COVID-19. However, regardless of the positive trend, the recovery of global travel and tourism is still far from over.
The potential of Sofia as a tourist destination will continue to be developed this year as well. Sofia Municipality has developed its own tourism products, one of which is the Wine Map of Sofia, which is now a fact. Two other maps - Meet the birds of Sofia and ART arts in Sofia, will soon be presented. The new tourism products aim to attract both Bulgarian and foreign tourists. Sofia’s revenue from the tourist tax for 2021 was BGN 1.26 million (in 2020 it was BGN 964 000).
According to current data, tourists stay an average of 2 days in our capital, and there is a 50% growth in the number of overnight stays. The revenues that remain in the industry are BGN 140 million, according to data from the Unified Tourist Information System (UTIS) of the Ministry of Tourism.
An interesting fact is that the most active tourists in Sofia are in the age group 30-44. Men significantly predominate over women. For the second year in a row, Bulgarian tourists have a higher relative share compared to foreign ones (52% vs. 48%), but on the other hand the trend in overnight stays is reversed (45% vs. 55%).
In 2021, Sofia became a popular tourist destination in Romania. Tourists from our northern neighbor were 90% more than the previous year. The number of tourists from Germany, Italy, France, Turkey, Israel, and the USA also increased.
Over 70% of foreigners visited Sofia for the first time, and the rest had been here more than twice, according to a study conducted by Sofia Municipality. 74% of all respondents would return to Sofia, which is a sign of a high degree of satisfaction with the destination. They came mainly by plane (73%) and car (14%). There was an increase in hotel stays (50% in 2021 compared to 36% in 2018) at the expense of accommodation in partments (26% in 2021 compared to 37% in 2018).