The On a Holiday in Defiance of COVID-19 is a brave and noble initiative that mobilises citizens to help Bulgarian tourism. Svilen Petkov, cofounder of Luxury Discounts, a tour agency for exclusive offers for the best hotels, shares more about the idea and how to participate.
Bulgarian tourism is among the most affected business sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic. What is the current situation?
Tourism indeed suffered heavy losses in the past month, just before the start of the summer season. We are not talking about a couple of closed hotels, but about a whole ecosystems including providers, delivery services, transportation and many other stakeholders. The situation is unprecedented and it is hard to tell how will it develop, because nobody knows when will the pandemic end. Having in mind tourism's central role in Bulgarian economy we can say that the effects will be felt throughout the society.
What is the On a Holiday in Defiance of COVID-19 campaign and what are its benefits for clients?
The campaign's main goal is to help hotels and other tourism-connected business affected from the crisis. It does it by focusing on their abilities to preserve work places. Everyone who wants to help Bulgarian tourism can buy a holiday voucher through the campaign's website. This will guarantee them an affordable exclusive holiday but also the satisfaction that they have helped a hotel to keep its employees and to stay open.
Tourism is among Bulgaria's biggest employees and letting of significant part of the staff would be a serious burden on Bulgarian social security system. At the same time the campaign is of help to all stakeholders, as it allows clients who agree to support the sector now to enjoy really great holiday in the future.
Why did you decide to start On a Holiday in Defiance of COVID-19?
When the state of emergency was declared, two types of companies emerged: defeatists just closed but others tried to be part of the solution. Our agency will hardly profit from this campaign because it drains a lot of our resources. The money it collects will go directly to the participating hotels and will help them pay salaries and other expenses.
However, we believe that although not profiting now, the On a Holiday in Defiance of COVID-19 campaign will help us to position ourselves in the future as a reliable partner to other stakeholders. It is in time of crisis when a company can stand out with innovative approach and reap the fruit of its efforts later, when the situation goes back to normal. In the end, hotels' trouble free operation is essential for platforms such as our.
What hotels participate in On a Holiday in Defiance of COVID-19?
We aim to help both small and big Bulgarian hotels. However, we exclude ones that do not offer sufficiently high quality or have bad reputation among tourists. It is key for us to offer a selection of hotels that offer truly great service and exceptional experience.
What in your opinion will look tourism and travelling after the pandemic ends and what makes Luxury Discounts well adapted for the new conditions?
Bulgarians love travelling and Bulgaria has become recognisable destination among foreign tourists. That is why I am optimist that after the situation returns to normal the sector will bounce back quickly and will continue to grow. That is why our current goal is to help hotels to keep their teams and business, so that they are able to use them in better times.
However, in the upcoming recession, price will be more important than before. That is why I believe that the Luxury Discounts platform is excellently positioned for the future years of tighter budgets. This is the only project of this kind in Bulgaria that successfully combines high-quality holiday offers with exceptionally good-value-for-money and affordable prices, and with the advantages and comfort of Internet technologies.
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