H.E. Irith Lilian, ambassador of Israel, to Minister Angelkova: Thank you for developing cultural tourism and attracting ever more visitors from Israel

19 July 2018

We are reporting an over 31% growth in Israeli tourists during the five months of 2018

Bulgaria can offer a lot more than just sun, sea, and partying. I thank the Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova, for developing cultural tourism and making such places of interest more accessible both to Israeli tourists and to all visitors in your country. Thus said H.E., Irith Lilian, ambassador of the State of Israel to Republic of Bulgaria during a meeting with the Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova. H.E. Irith Lilian further explained that the market is longing for cultural places of interest, with Bulgaria being selected increasingly often as a travel destination by families with children. She added that on the meeting’s day there were 14 flights from Israel to Bulgaria, a large part of the travellers being tourists, since our country is a preferred destination for Israelis.

We are reporting a 31.8% increase of Israeli tourists during the period January-May 2018, compared to the same period of last year, with the visits totally exceeding 73 000. Over the past 10 years the number of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria has grown by almost 90% - from 97 000 tourists in 2008 to over 178 000 in 2016 and over 208 000 in 2017, Minister Angelkova stated during the meeting. She clarified that last year Israel ranked 12th among the top markets for inbound tourism to Bulgaria. The conversations were also attended by the CEO of Sunny Beach PLC, Zlatko Dimitrov, and representatives of Israeli tour operators.

The Minister said further that a consistent policy is implemented to attract ever more Israeli visitors, with customized products being develop in alignment with their demand. This is one of the ways to enhance the quality of the tourism products we market, she commented. There is a tangible trend of the greater part of Israeli nationals coming to our country during the May-October period, meaning that the tourists come not only to the seaside but are looking for opportunities for a short vacation, recreation, and sight-seeing in our country, explained Minister Angelkova.

Given the huge importance of the Israeli market for Bulgaria, the Ministry of Tourism regularly takes part in the IMTM tourism exhibition in Tel Aviv. Bulgaria took part in this year’s edition of the tourism exchange with an information stand of 49 sq. m., with the Ministry presenting the country as a year-round tourism destination, focusing on winter- and summer vacation, medical spa opportunities, cultural get-to-know tours, entertainment travel, etc. The Israel market is crucial for us, therefore, we will continue to take part in the Tel Aviv exhibition, the minister stated categorically.

Minister Angelkova and H.E. Irith Lilian also discussed the opportunities for bilateral cooperation in tourism, as well as the development potential for tourism types other than the traditional summer and winter ones. They reached mutual agreement for cooperation between the two countries, stating their preparedness to support the implementation of future initiatives. We rely a lot on Israel’s expertise, this is why we hope to retain the successful partnership going forward, stated Minister Angelkova.

The Ministry of Tourism is working hard to expand the season fringes, the Minister explained, adding that the institution has developed 7 medical spa & spa destinations, with 12 wine-culinary destinations having also been set up jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture, thus complementing our efforts to attract more visitors outside the active travel months.

Prior to their meeting, Minister Angelkova, H.E. Irith Lilian, and the Pomorie mayor, Ivan Alexiev, visited the ancient tomb near Pomorie. It dates back to the 2nd – 3rd century AD, according to scholars, pagan religious rites and rituals were performed in its circular, rotund-type hall, which were dedicated to the sun cult. It is also the biggest cupola tomb discovered in Bulgarian lands, the only one of its kind in the Balkans.

The Israeli ambassador was impressed by Bulgarian culture, nature, and customs, with the two sides agreeing to have the tomb included in the itineraries of Israeli tour operators.

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