Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov will on Monday lead a delegation of senior tourism industry officials to Bulgaria in order to maintain the relationship and tourism interests between the two countries, despite the murderous terror attack that took place this last Thursday in Burgas.
The Minister will be accompanied by senior representatives of the Israeli tourism industry, including: Kobi Karni, Chairman of the Israel Tourist and Travel Agents Association, Yossi Fattal, CEO of the Israel Tourist and Travel Agents Association, Ami Etgar, Director General, Israel Incoming Tourism Operators Association, Moni Bar, Honorary Consul of Bulgaria in Israel and Chairman of TUI Israel and Air Berlin Group in Israel, Yaron Miller, Founder and Owner of Flying Carpet, Boaz Waxman, Chairman of Ofir Tours, David Kaminitz, CEO I.D.B Tourism, and Yehuda Shen, Manager of the Central and South Europe Department at the Ministry of Tourism.
The delegation will discuss with their Bulgarian counterparts efforts to promote mutual tourism in order to maintain Israeli tourism to Bulgaria and increase tourism traffic from Bulgaria to Israel.
During the first half of 2012, there was an 11% increase in tourists from Bulgaria to Israel as compared to the same time last year. According to data from the Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism, nearly 139,000 Israelis visited Bulgaria in 2011. In 2011, over 8,000 Bulgarian tourists visited Israel.
During his visit, the Minister of Tourism will meet with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Economic and Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev, as well as the Bulgarian Police Commissioner. The Minister of Tourism together with members of the delegation will also meet representatives of the Bulgarian incoming and outgoing tourism industries who work with the Israeli tourism industry in order to send out a “business as usual” message, not to give in to terrorism and to strengthen the tourism relationship with Bulgaria.
Minister of Tourism Misezhnikov will hold an official memorial ceremony at the site of the terror attack, laying a wreath on behalf of the State of Israel. Minister Misezhnikov will meet with the governors and mayors of Burgas and Varna, the main tourism destinations in Bulgaria, will tour the hotels and tourism sites frequented by Israelis and will meet with the leaders of the Jewish community in Bulgaria.
Minister of Tourism, Stas Misezhnikov: “When terrorism hit Israel in the past and the world warned against traveling to Israel, our reaction was clear: murderous terrorism knows no boundaries and does not differentiate between the blood of man. Despite the sadness and concern, we cannot deter or give in. Terrorism will not disrupt our lives and stop our aspirations. Tourism is a bridge to peace, understanding and dialogue between nations and it has the power to strengthen our mutual relationship with the Bulgarian people and the Bulgarian government. We extend our gratitude to the Bulgarian government for its dedicated treatment following the tragic terror attack.”
The Minister’s visit is expected to spark a lot of interest among the Bulgarian media that is following closely the developments between the two countries. During the visit, the Minister will take part in a number of press conferences and interviews while referring to the topic of international terrorism as a reality that needs to be dealt with around the world.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)