Invest Sofia’s third “Sofia Tourism and Air Transport Market Report” 2019

The aim is to provide potential investors and all stakeholders with comprehensive and accessible information

The third edition of the annual report “Sofia Tourism and Air Transport Market Report has been published.

Sofia Tourism and Air Transport Market Report 2019 takes a close look on the tourism sector in Sofia as of September 2019. The aim is to provide potential investors and all stakeholders interested in the development of the tourism sector in Sofia with comprehensive and accessible information.

The document presents an overview of the latest data, analyses and reviews of the key tourism indicators, as well as current statistics on Sofia Airport aircraft movements, the number of tourists by country of origin and by the purpose of their visit, the accommodation capacity of the city, the development of the urban environment in Sofia, the potential of the MICE industry, and the most important trends in the sector today.

Sofia Tourism and Air Transport Market Report 2019 is prepared by the Investment and Business Development Department of the Sofia Investment Agency.

 Here are some of the key points from the report:

  • The number of nights spent in Sofia increased by 122% and the number of tourists – by 110% since 2010. There is a tendency that annually around 60% of Sofia’s visitors come from abroad, and around 2/3 of the number of nights are spent by foreigners.
  • In 2018, Sofia Airport serviced almost 7 million passengers, a 7.3% growth on 2017. In the last five years the total number of passengers has doubled, making Sofia Airport one of the top airports in terms of passenger increase among the top 100 busiest airports in Europe. This growth can be attributed both to the opening of 44 new destinations since 2015, mainly by low-cost carriers, and the improved performance of the Bulgarian economy.
  • The ongoing urban rejuvenation projects like the expansion of Sofia’s subway, which now connects Sofia Airport’s Terminal 2 with all of the key destinations in the city, are another important factor for the tourism growth in Sofia. The extension and modernization of the Sofia subway plays an important role in the currently developing concept of intermodal urban transport: by 2020 the first 12 kilometres of the third line of the subway are expected to be completed, and will be later connected with the Vitosha lifts.
  • The hotel market in Sofia is still recovering from the setback experienced during the global financial crisis in 2008. Sofia’s hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) dropped by over 30% in 2008 because of very significant decreases in both occupancy and average daily rates (ADR). It was not until 2014 that the city’s RevPAR started to recover, and by the end of 2018 it reached almost EUR 51 – a 4% growth on 2017.
  • As of the summer of 2019, there were around 4 916 four- and five-star hotel rooms and more than 10 five-star hotels in Sofia, some of which belong to the biggest hotel brands worldwide.
  • There is a renewed interest in the city from hotel investors and the number of available four- and five-star rooms is expected to increase by over 1 200 rooms by 2021. The demand and interest in opening new hotels in Sofia are expected to gradually shift to the three- and four-star segment.

More detailed data, charts, analyzes and trends can be found in the full version of the report.



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