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Monday, April 22, 2024

‘Too many Bulgarians in Bulgaria’

A Norwegian family who traveled on a package tour to Bulgaria filed a formal complaint and demanded a refund, because most of the other guests at the hotel where they were staying were Bulgarians.

The Hotel Sveti Toma in Bulgaria, shown here on one of many booking sites. The Norwegian family traveled to Bulgaria, but wanted to vacation with other Norwegians, not Bulgarians. PHOTO:

The family conceded in its complaint that the Hotel Sveti Toma itself and its vacation facilities were fine, reported newspaper Aftenposten on Wednesday. They had wanted, however, to spend their holiday with other Scandinavians, and contended that tour operator Apollo should have informed them that most of the guests at the Bulgarian hotel were either Bulgarian or from other eastern European countries.

“We never would have chosen this hotel if we had known that beforehand,” the family wrote, arguing that their 12-year-old daughter had no one to play with.

Their unusual claim was rejected by the state commission handling complaints filed against package tour operators (Pakkereisenemnda), which ruled that Apollo can’t be criticized for not revealing how many rooms or apartments they have at their disposal.

Apollo’s information chief, Helen Begby, said their Norwegian customers must inform them if they only want to travel to places where there are a lot of other Norwegians or Scandinavians. She noted that it would border on racism if Apollo were to monitor the nationalities of all guests staying at hotels they use in their tour packages.

“We Norwegians must not forget that it’s not just us out traveling,” Begby told Aftenposten. “In countries like Thailand, we’re now seeing that most other guests are from India, China and Russia.” She thinks that’s a fine development.

Eastern Europe also now has a growing middle class that’s able to take holidays, noted Helge Baardseth, editor of Vagabond magazine. “We’ve been used to meeting other tourists from Scandinavia,” he told Aftenposten. “Charter holidays have long been a western phenomenon, but economic development leads to more similarities among folks, and I think we’ll see a lot of that reflected in the travel business in the years ahead.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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