Bulgarian shoppers influx lures businesses to Edirne
Nearly 60 companies launched businesses over the past year in the northwestern province of Edirne amid the influx of visitors, mostly arriving in the city for shopping, from Bulgaria.
Edirne was already popular with Bulgarian shoppers, but the number of visitors from the neighboring country significantly increased after Türkiye scrapped the visa requirement for Bulgarian citizens in late July. This has given a strong boost to the local economy, particularly tourism and services sectors are the main beneficiaries.
“Visits from Bulgaria increased at least by 30 percent. Over the past year, 57 companies have made investments in the city,” said Recep Zıpkınkurt, the head of the Edirne Chamber of Industry and Commerce (ETSO).
Both local and foreign companies are investing in the city, according to Zıpkınkurt. Most of those businesses operate in the furniture, textile, appeal and eatery sectors, which serve Bulgarian shoppers, Zıpkınkurt said. “Some 57 companies have applied to our chamber to get necessary permissions.”
Some investors are looking for land plots to build hotels, and there are also projects to turn the existing buildings in to hotels, he said.
Zıpkınkurt, however, noted that in the face of the influx of Bulgarian visitors, prices in the city have risen by around 10 percent. “We observe this price hike in supermarkets and outdoor markets.”
Investments go both ways, he said, noting that companies in Edirne also do businesses in Bulgaria, mostly active and invest in the agriculture sector. “There are companies which sell construction material and hygiene materials to Bulgaria as well as food wholesalers. Some of them open branches there.”
Property and office prices are also on the rise in the city.
“Lured by lively business environment, entrepreneurs are coming to Edirne, hoping to take advantage of the situation. Manufacturing firms from Istanbul are looking for space… Prices are going up,” said Serhat Çeker, head of the local real estate consultants’ association.