Minister Ilin Dimitrov and Minister of Tourism of the State of Israel Haim Katz Signed an Agreement in the Field of Tourism

23 January 2023

The Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria, Dr. Ilin Dimitrov, and the Minister of Tourism of the State of Israel, Mr. Haim Katz, signed, at an official ceremony, an Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Government of the State of Israel for cooperation in the field of tourism.

The agreement provides for Bulgaria and Israel to promote the exchange of expertise and knowledge related to the organization, management and operation of special forms of tourism, such as seasonal tourism, spa and wellness, adventure, cultural and historical, religious tourism. The two countries will deepen their cooperation within the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as well as with other international organisations. According to the document, the countries shall promote cooperation and exchange of good practices to attract investment in tourism.

Israel's Minister of Tourism Haim Katz is on a two-day working visit to Bulgaria. 

'My colleague Minister Katz chose Bulgaria for his first visit abroad since taking office as Minister, and this is also the first visit of an Israeli Minister of Tourism to Bulgaria. We understand this as an unequivocal sign of the importance of our bilateral relations and the desire to develop them,' Minister Ilin Dimitrov said. He stressed that Israel is among the top markets for Bulgaria.

Minister Ilin Dimitrov announced that in March he will lead a delegation to Israel, composed of representatives of the tourism sector, which will hold bilateral B2B meetings.

The guest stressed that as the son of parents who survived the death camps, he is deeply grateful to the Bulgarian people for all they have done to support his countrymen in the worst part of their history and reminded that this year marks the 80th anniversary of the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews. 'On behalf of the Israeli government and on my own behalf, I would like to thank the Bulgarian people,' Minister Haim Katz said. 'In my family, I was taught that when you receive, you must also give. We will do everything possible to send more tourists to Bulgaria.’ Minister Haim Katz added that he hopes that Israeli tourists in Bulgaria will be at the levels of the pre-COVID year 2019, over 200 thousand tourists. For his part, Minister Dimitrov expressed hope that in ten years this figure will increase many times.

Before the signing ceremony, the ministers held a bilateral meeting to discuss topical issues and questions. After the signing of the document, the Ministers of Tourism of Bulgaria and Israel, together with the members of the delegations, held talks with representatives of the Bulgarian tourism business. The topics of the talks were the continuation of the good cooperation in tourism between the two countries and concrete initiatives for cooperation and development of the sector. The possibility of deepening the successful practices in spa tourism and the development of health tourism, similar to the cooperation with the German health insurance companies, was discussed. A significant part of the talks was devoted to the possibilities for better transport connectivity, as well as to improving the effectiveness of advertising and the opportunities for investment in tourism. Bulgaria is among the preferred destinations for tourism in Israel, assured Minister Katz.

In mid-February, the Ministry of Tourism and Bulgarian tourism companies will take part in the IMTM international exhibition in Tel Aviv.

Israeli citizens mainly travel to Bulgaria for holidays and recreation. Annually, most of their trips are registered in July and August, followed by June and September. There is a growing interest in winter destinations in Bulgaria. In the past year, nearly 200 thousand Israeli tourists came to our country, which is an increase of about 300% compared to 2021. The most popular Bulgarian destinations are Sofia — with 37 thousand Israeli tourists, Nessebar and Varna with over 26 thousand each, Bansko — 16 thousand, Samokov — 4400, Plovdiv — 3700.

On Tuesday, Minister Katz will visit Bansko in order to personally get acquainted with the excellent conditions for holidays and winter vacations in the Bulgarian ski resort.

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