As with almost every other segment of our lives, the Tourism & Hospitality business has been affected greatly
by recent terror attacks with well over 50% of attacks in the last year being committed inside or close to entertainment venues, restaurants, clubs, nightclubs, concert venues and even beaches. The very ideology of our would-be-attackers turns towards the perceived decadence of their enemies so it is little surprise that most attacks are targeting innocent civilians who are just trying to have fun.
Bulgaria has a unique problem concerning the threat of terror attacks in this country, simply;
There is no other location within the EU with so many citizens of target countries with so little protection from local security services as Bulgaria.
This is a bold statement but one that is easy to justify:
- Target Rich – The largest groups of tourists who visit the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast are (in no order) Russians, Israelis, British, Germans, Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia. All have been targeted in the last six month.
- The least amount of protection – Sunny Beach alone holds well over 300,000 international tourists at peak times with only 300 police officers in total (based on 2016 figures) to look after them. These police officers are not on duty at all times and are regularly drafted in from other villages and towns for a month at a time to boost local police force numbers.
- Proximity – Sunny Beach is less than 100KM from the recognised crossing points at the Turkish frontier into Europe which has allowed thousands of unregistered migrants to enter the region unchecked. As we have seen time and time again, terrorists tend to go for the easiest opportunities and Sunny Beach is a mere bike ride from a major IS war zone; Syria & Iraq.
- Open to radicalised “home grown” visitors – Sunny Beach (for example) has been providing fun in the sun for British holiday makers for nearly fifty years. Although we see a major threat coming from the Turkish border in the form of the migration route/s, all terrorist attacks committed in the UK in recent months have been conducted by British nationals, many second and third generation. As the UK and other target countries become harder to plan and commit such attacks, homegrown terrorists may be inspired to think about their own family holidays to Europe to pick a target of opportunity, with little in the way of security to prevent them.
- Easy access to lethal weapons – In Great Britain, it is illegal to carry any kind of blade or knife unless it is approved for your work. In Bulgaria, you cannot miss the “weapon stalls” on the promenades of most beach resorts in Bulgaria. For some reason, tourists love to come to Bulgaria for a good time and seem to want to take a Samurai sword home with them! For as little as €30, a wanna-be-terrorist can equip themselves with large knives, swords, electric stun weapons, CS gas and gels and even easy-to-convert blank firing or signal weapons without even needing to produce ID.