LEISURE INDUSTRY COMPANIES OPERATE AT A LOSS
For months on end western media were busy writing about Bulgaria as a wonderful tourist destination. Nevertheless, the resorts along our Black Sea coast are only half-full in the high season. Inevitably, this has adversely influenced the financial results of leisure industry companies. Their latest reports, presented by BFB-Sofia, are quite expressive of that. Albena, which posted the highest profit in the branch for 2003 - BGN15.5MN - ended the first half of 2004 at a loss of BGN6MN. But considering the fact that the situation was similar for the same period of last year (Albena's loss was BGN5.4MN then), its managers probably hope to gain speed in the remaining six months. Moreover, the company has undistributed profit from previous years, amounting to BGN42.3MN. Golden Sands has been the worst performer. The company's losses from the January 1 - June 30, 2004 period amounted to almost BGN1.4MN, and its profits for the first half of this year totalled BGN159,000. However, the resort's proceeds declined by BGN1.3MN only, to BGN5.1MN. The poor financial results are somewhat compensated by the huge investments of Golden Sands AD, which poured BGN18.4MN in the construction of the Admiral hotel complex, which already welcomes guests. Sunny Beach has also reported a slump from the first half of 2003 when its profit totalled BGN8.8MN , and now it's down to BGN451,000. The company's proceeds dropped down too, from BGN34.6MN for the first six months of 2003 to BGN7MN in the same period this year. This is easily explained, having in mind that Sunny Beach AD is practically occupied solely in selling its assets. As most of them are already in others' hands, the company's eventual liquidation has become a topical issue lately. It cannot be realized only because Sunny Beach AD still holds infrastructural facilities that cannot find buyers. As of May 19 the company began fulfilling the functions of an electricity distributor and BGN606,000 was remitted to its accounts from electricity bills.Unlike the rest, Sts. Constantine Helena resort posted a small profit for the first half of 2004, amounting to BGN266,000. That is a great achievement, considering that exactly one year ago the company reported a BGN157,000 loss. Its operating revenues are much bigger now, too - BGN2.6MN, compared to BGN469,000 year-on-year. All resorts along the Black Sea coast are now competing to reduce the prices of the services they offer. The battle for more customers started from Golden Sands resort. At the end of July the company advertised reduced rates at six of its hotels for Bulgarian vacationers. As of August 1, guests from the country were offered a holiday at a luxurious hotel in the resort for BGN50 a day instead of BGN90 charged so far.According to experts, the discount is due to the absence of enough foreigners coming to the seaside. The number of beds in the resorts has been increased by 35% this summer and compared to last year, the growth of foreign holiday-makers is just 21 per cent.Even the Albena resort management announced on August 2 that their 3-star hotels were reducing twice the rates for Bulgarian guests. Holidays will cost between BGN39 and BGN105 until August 31. Some hotel-keepers now offer sleeping accommodation, breakfast, lunch and supper for a total amount of BGN49. During the high season the rate is usually some BGN80.On July 31, the municipal council of Balchik cut the resort fee by 50 per cent. However, the lower charge only refers to tourists aged under 18, women older than 55, and men above 60.Nearly two million foreigners spent their holidays in Bulgaria during the first half of 2004, the Ministry of Economy told the BANKER weekly. Greeks were the most numerous - 400,000, followed by Germans (200,000). There were also many guests from Great Britain, Macedonia, and Russia.