The 2022 summer season marked increases for all the main destinations of Romanians (the Romanian coast, the Bulgarian coast, Greece and Turkey), compared to 2021 and even compared to 2019, according to the consultants IRI Travel, a tour operator specializing in both the Bulgarian and the Romanian.

Thus, for the Bulgarian coast, IRI Travel recorded, this year, a 40% increase in bookings, compared to 2021.

The average price for accommodation was 59 euros/person/night, up 11% compared to 2021, and the average length of stay was 5.4 nights/stay, as opposed to 5.6 nights/stay, as of was last year. The most sought-after resorts on the Bulgarian coast by tourists from our country remain Albena – 38% increase, Golden Sands – 36% increase, Sunny Beach – 35% increase, Obzor – 32% increase. This year, the Constantin and Elena resort entered the top, where the number of reservations increased by 201%, compared to last year, due to the opening of new accommodation capacities (modern hotels), where tourists benefit from many services.

Regarding the Romanian coast, IRI Travel recorded a 65% increase in bookings compared to 2021, at an average stay price of 189 lei/person/night, up 8% compared to the previous year.

The average length of stay was 4.6 nights/stay, down from 2021, when it was 5 nights/stay, and the most booked resorts were Saturn – 357% increase (due to the introduction of the all inclusive system for the first time at the hotels there), Eforie Nord – 86% increase and Neptun – 53% increase. Unfortunately, the Mamaia resort (including Mamaia Nord/Năvodari) only registered a 7% increase in the volume of sales and reservations, which places it at the bottom of the ranking after the Jupiter resort – 30% increase and Venus – 25% increase.

“The Romanian coast lacks better promotion or no longer having a negative promotion. If we compare the four-star all-inclusive hotels in Romania with the similar ones in Bulgaria, the respective accommodation units on the Romanian coast have much better services. They are very good hotels, they are not cheap hotels and they have an occupancy rate of 100%. Many of them have recorded an occupancy rate – in terms of bookings – for the summer season of 70% or even 80% since January-February. Chapter where we stay the worst in Romania are the services offered by the cheaper hotels with fewer stars”, Lucian Bădîrcea told us.

The general director of IRI Travel specified that another chapter where we are bad is the fact that we have very few hotels on the Romanian coast that offer all inclusive services.

In Romania we have 35 or 38 hotels in the all inclusive system, which represents less than 10% of the total number of accommodation capacities, while in Bulgaria there are over 300 hotels with all inclusive services, said Lucian Bădîrcea.

Regarding the summer season that is also coming to an end in Greece, in 2022 IRI Travel recorded a doubling of the number of tourists compared to 2021. The average price was 63 euros/person/night, increasing by approximately 16% compared to 2021, when it was 54 euros/person/night, and the average length of stay was 6.5 nights/stay. Next, the destinations preferred by Romanian tourists in Greece are Halkidiki, Thassos, Paralia Katerini, Lefkada, Corfu, Zakynthos.

The early-booking system, in favor of tourists

Bookings started strongly, in the early booking system, in January and the first part of February 2022, but they suddenly decreased due to the conflict in Ukraine between February 24 and March 31 and gradually recovered from April.

“It is true that many Romanians have reserved the last hundred meters, but the interest in their favorite destinations has been increasing from week to week. We are recognized as specialists for the Bulgarian coast, but in recent years we have focused more on the Romanian coast, Greece and Turkey, destinations highly sought after by Romanians. Compared to previous years, we noticed a greater interest in the first part of the summer season, due to the very good weather and lower prices, a situation that initially surprised and which is relatively new regarding the behavior of Romanian tourists. I have great faith in the potential of the Romanian coast, and the Bulgarian coast will always be an option for Romanian tourists, due to its proximity, attractive rates and all-inclusive services. On the other hand , the Romanians booked much more for Greece and Turkey, especially since the two destinations removed any restrictions this season,” Lu told us cian Badîrcea, CEO of IRI Travel.

It is certain that, according to IRI Travel consultants, for the summer season that ends at the end of September, Romanian tourists looked more for the quality hotels – four stars – that they had to win, and at the peak of the season the degree of occupancy was , for some of them, 100%.

Romanians continued to go on vacation, despite the fact that most hotels in tourist destinations increased rates by percentages between 10% and 25%, due to the increase in prices for utilities, energy or consumer goods.

“From the component of prices charged by hoteliers, the utility part represents between 30% and 40%. A 50% increase in energy tariffs automatically leads to a price increase of 20-25%. However, the expected price increase for next year does not exceed 7-8% for the accommodation capacities on the Bulgarian coast, with the mention that there is a 20% discount for tourists who use the early booking system. This has greatly helped the tourism industry and attracted many tourists to the current summer season was exactly this early booking system, Tourists paid an advance of 10% of the total value of the stay, and the remaining 90% could be paid at least 10 days before entering the accommodation. For example, if they have purchased the stay as early as October-December 2021 or in the first months of 2022, they paid only the advance, after which in August, ten days before coming to the hotel they paid the difference of 90%. This system seems that it is preferred by Romanian tourists and the hoteliers we work with will keep it for the next season as well”, specified Lucian Bădîrcea, who told us that the tourists have assumed this year’s price increases, even if, because of them, some of them reduced their stay by one night or at most two.

That’s why IRI Travel consultants recommend tourists to make reservations in this system in order to prepare their vacation in the summer season in the desired destinations and under the desired conditions.

Early booking offers for the 2023 summer season

The early booking campaigns for the 2023 summer season start on October 15 and the discounts are up to 50%. Tourists will be able to book both for the Bulgarian and Romanian coasts, as well as for other favorite destinations such as Greece and Turkey. In general, the biggest discounts can be obtained the earlier the reservation is made, so the period October – December is recommended for reservations. Most of the time, tourists can pay in installments, paying an advance at the time of booking.

“Our tourists have already started to take an interest in the early booking offers. This concept greatly benefits the tourist, who benefits from a substantial discount, but also supports travel agencies and hotels, which can thus have a circulation even in the winter season, in order to -ensure their basic expenses. Romanians have been familiar for about 15 years, step by step, with early booking offers, promoted for much longer in Western Europe, and only the lack of predictability has led them to stop using them in 2020 and 2021”, declares Lucian Bădîrcea.

The general director of IRI Travel showed that since the end of July, Romanian tourists started booking for the winter season, especially for the holidays.

Iri Travel has a network of 1,378 partner agencies throughout the country and, through its fleet of eight coaches and two minibuses, it also offers transport for Romanian tourists to the resorts in the north of the Bulgarian coast.

Among the most sought-after European foreign destinations are Bulgaria, Austria and Italy, loved by snow and winter sports lovers. Bulgaria attracts Romanian tourists with famous resorts such as Bansko, Borovets or Pamporovo, and the average rates for mountain resorts in the neighboring country are:

– Christmas 22.12 – 27.12.2022, 5 nights:

Hotel 3*: 101 euros/ pers./ 5-night stay with breakfast

Hotel 4*: 141 euros/ pers./ 5-night stay with breakfast

Hotel 5*: 249 euros/ pers./ 5-night stay with breakfast

284 euros/ pers./ 5-night stay with breakfast and Christmas dinner

– New Year’s Eve 28.12 – 02.01.2023, 5 nights:

Hotel 3*: 185 euros/ pers./ 5-night stay with breakfast

Hotel 4*: 220 euros/ pers./ 5-night stay with breakfast

305 euros/ pers./ 5-night stay with breakfast and New Year’s Eve dinner

Hotel 5*: 525 euros/ pers./ 5-night stay with breakfast and New Year’s Eve dinner

For the period January 2-7, 2023, the average prices for a 5-night stay with breakfast are: 3* hotel – 133 euros/ pers./ stay, 4* hotel – 147 euros/ pers./ stay, 5* hotel: 382 euros / pers./ stay 5 nights with breakfast.

In Austria and Italy, the prices are a little higher. Thus, in Austria, a stay at a guesthouse with breakfast included for Christmas costs 375 euros per person, and New Year’s – 475 euros. If we talk about hotels, a stay at a 3* hotel with breakfast included is for Christmas – 454 euros, and on New Year’s Eve – 558 euros, while at a 4* hotel with half board we have a stay for Christmas at 874 euros, and on New Year’s Eve a stay at 1115 euros.

In Italy, for the winter holidays, the prices are between 388 euros per person (board) and 775 euros per person (4* hotel with breakfast).

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A novelty for the cold season is the launch by IRI Travel of the offer for the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana). The tourist packages also include the return flight to the respective destination, the flights will be carried out by the aircraft of the Air France company. The duration of a stay is eight nights, and the first departure takes place from Henri Coandă Otopeni International Airport, on January 19. The price of a tourist package, for one person, is between 2004 and 2214 euros, the rate including the flight, airport taxes, private transfer from the airport to the hotel and back and all-inclusive accommodation only at 5-star hotels. IRI Travel consultants point out that the Dominican Republic has been positioned, in the last 3 years, in the top 3 exotic destinations for the Romanian market, and in the coming winter season it is predicted to reach the number 1 exotic beach destination.

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One of the most visited accommodation units on the coast of Bulgaria by Romanian tourists is the Prestige Deluxe Hotel Aqua Park Club, rated at four stars, which offers all inclusive services. If in June, 40% of all tourists were Romanian, in the July-August period there was a jump up to 65%, and in September it is expected that approximately 55-60% of tourists are Romanian, followed by those from Bulgaria and Germany . 20% of Romanian tourists have been to the respective hotel in previous years as well, and some have returned this summer season three times, the majority, 70%, spending their stay together with family members.

Angelica Chirică, representative for Romania of the Prestige hotel, stated: “The only problem we faced was the lack of labor, but we managed to motivate employees by increasing salaries, by supporting the payment of these salaries during the October-May period as well when the accommodation unit is closed, and by employing this year refugees from Ukraine who wanted a well-paid job and to whom we also offered the necessary food and the support their children need in the educational process.

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