Fearing the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the Bulgarian government plans to support the country's tourism industry with a voucher scheme to encourage domestic tourism over the summer, politicians agreed on Tuesday.
"Bulgarians' money should be spent supporting tourism at home and not be spent abroad," said Krasimir Karakachanov, who heads the nationalist IMRO party, partner in the governing coalition.
The scheme is currently being worked out in detail. Bulgaria hopes to reopen holiday locations as of July 1.
The governing parties agreed that tables in open-air restaurants should be placed 1.5 meters apart. This is a concession to owners, as originally, tables were to be placed 2.5 meters apart at restaurants and cafes, which are due to reopen on Wednesday.
Bulgaria is the poorest country in the European Union and tourism accounts for at least 12% of GDP. The sector employs 11% of all workers.
Bulgaria has reported 1,689 cases of the novel coronavirus and 78 deaths, in a population of almost 7 million. So far, 342 people have recovered from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.
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