Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure BG-2020-23/1179 – Updated – measures in Bulgaria
|Country||Bulgaria , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 31 May 2020 – 30 November 2021|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Direct subsidies (full or partial)
|Author||Tsetomila Sabcheva and Luboslav Kostov (Citub)|
|Measure added||24 September 2020 (updated 26 May 2022)|
State aid for tour operators using air carriers with a operating license to operate charter flights to the Republic of Bulgaria for tourism purposes.
Aid to tour operators in the form of direct grants under Section 3.1 of the "Temporary Framework for State Aid Measures to Support the Economy in the Condition of the Current COVID-19 Outbreak".
It is provided to tour operators who use air carriers with an operating license to operate charter flights to our country for tourism. The amount of the subsidy is €35 each seat of the maximum passenger capacity of the aircraft for each flight.
The subsidy for tour operators is granted for each seat occupied by a person using a tourist service in our country, only for flights with a capacity of not less than 100 seats . The subsidy is available to all tour operators , regardless of their location, who use the services of air carriers with a valid operating license issued in the Republic of Bulgaria or another Member State of the European Union, or a party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, or Swiss Confederation or a third country.
Funding : €20 million have been provided for this measure under the operational program 'Human Resources Development'.
The measure is to be updated in early 2021, as well as its extension.
The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.
|30 March 2022||
The state aid BG-176789478-2021-08 for tour operators using air carriers with a valid operating license to operate charter flights to Bulgaria for tourism purposes was open for applications until 31 May 2022. The state aid is provided for flights that have been realized from June 1, 2021 to May 14 2022.
|21 September 2021||
Following the amendments of the State Budget, the Ministry of Tourism had to terminate the collection of applications under Phase III of the measure. The application process started on 23 July 2021 and was set to continue until 30 November 2021. The measure was closed to applicants on 21 September 2021.
|20 January 2021||
After the second ban on conducting excursions in the conditions of lockdown, which practically blocks the activity of tour operators and travel agencies until December 21, the Ministry of Tourism promised BGN 50 million (€25 million) in subsidies from the state budget, which should be distributed in the industry as compensation.
So far, the interest was five times higher than the provided budget, which required the provision of additional funds. This measure will continue in 2021 for the sector.
So far, there is information that the program is funded by two operational programs: Innovation and Competitiveness and Human Resources Development.
The state aid scheme covers flights operated between 14 May 2020 and 31 December 2020 and is the first phase of the anti-crisis measure. The flights that will be operated during the period from 01 January 2021 to 14 May 2022 will be subject to a new notification. The maximum amount under the State aid scheme may not exceed €800,000 per Phase 1 undertaking in the form of a direct grant, all values used being in gross terms, i.e. before deduction of taxes or other charges.
Grants were paid to another 25 companies performing tour operator and travel agency activities, with an individual amount of a total of BGN 2,551,534.71. According to the latest data, a total of 597 companies were financed under the state aid scheme, and grants were paid in individual amount of a total value of BGN 34,508,528.37. This is one of the measures taken by the Ministry of Tourism to support the sector to overcome the effects of COVID-19.
Under the third phase of this aid, up to €1,800,000 per company may be awarded in the form of direct grants. Small and medium-sized enterprises can also benefit from the aid. They must be in difficulty on 31 December 2019 and must not have received rescue or restructuring aid.
The Ministry of Tourism said there is also possible to settle a fourth phase for the period from 1 January to 15 May 2022.
|Does not apply to workers||
Sector specific set of companies
||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies||Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The measure was discussed within the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation and was supported by all nationally represented social partners , namely:
Trade Unions :
The social partners expressed their support and responded positively to the measure, which is an initiative of the government. They undertook to promote the measure among their main members.
Organizations supported the measure Trade Unions:
This case is sector-specific (only private sector)
|Economic area||Sector (NACE level 2)|
|H - Transportation And Storage||H51 Air transport|
This case is not occupation-specific.
Eurofound (2020), Subsidies available to tour operators for charter flights, measure BG-2020-23/1179 (measures in Bulgaria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/BG-2020-23_1179.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.