Dentists in the southwest Bulgarian cities of Sandanski and Petrich have reported a massive influx of Greek clients who prefer to come to Bulgaria for treatment because the quality of service is “just as good but considerably cheaper”, the Bulgarian private national channel BTV was quoted as saying on March 23 2010.
“In Bulgaria it is better. The quality of service is better than Greece, and it’s cheaper,” Giorgos Kopravilious told BTV.
The report says that Greek “dental tourism” is so popular that clinics in Petrich have already started writing their working hours in both Bulgarian and Greek.
“It is mainly working class Greeks who come here; some of them also speak Bulgarian,” Doctor Nikola Stoilov was quoted as saying.
“We are aware that service in Greece is considerably more expensive but we don’t differentiate between Bulgarians and Greeks – they are all treated the same,” Stoilov said.
While Greeks, hard hit by the economic crisis in the country, come to Bulgaria in droves for dental care or bargain shopping, Bulgarians visit Greece for the weekend.
With austerity measures, a debt ridden economy and salary cuts, Greeks in the north are now opting for cheaper prices where they can find them.
With petrol cheaper in Bulgaria, Greeks can stock up by filling their tanks as well as jerrycans. Shoes in Bulgaria go for 30 leva, while similar quality footwear in Greece can cost 100 euro.
“Everything is cheaper here. Clothes, cotton, spinach, petrol – everything. A coffee in Bulgaria is one euro, in Greece – three euro,” said one Greek visitor.
“Petrol in Greece is more expensive. Down south it’s 1.5 euro a litre, here – one. People are coming here; there is a big crisis in Greece, people have no money and no jobs,” a man identified as Kostas said. “It’s very difficult for us”.
Merchants said that Bulgarian fruit and vegetables were very popular among Greeks and much cheaper on the Bulgarian side of the border. Petrich is also expecting a boom in lamb sales come Easter, BNT said