Sofia Airport symbolically opened the ski season

16 December 2022

Today, a regular flight of EL AL airline from Israel arrived at Sofia Airport with the first tourists arriving for ski holidays in Bulgaria, with which the airport symbolically opened the winter season 2022/2023 in Bulgaria. The flight was welcomed with a traditional water salute.

The first tourists - 159 passengers on board, including Israeli media and bloggers, were welcomed by Deputy Minister of Tourism Prof. Mariela Modeva, by the Consul of the State of Israel in the Republic of Bulgaria, Mrs. Orly Dafna Sona, who praised the beauty of Bulgaria and the opportunities it offers, by the CEO of the airport operator “SOF Connect”, Jesús Caballero and Kobi Golan, Vice President Global Operations of EL AL. 

Deputy Minister Mariela Modeva congratulated the organizers and the guests, saying that Bulgaria and Israel have traditionally good relations and she is glad that today the ski season opens at Sofia Airport with the arrival of tourists from this pre-growth country. According to estimates, the number of Israeli tourists who will visit destination Bulgaria for this winter season will be around 30 thousand.

Mariela Modeva stated that for the first ten months of the year we have recorded more than 130 thousand registrations of Israeli tourists in the accommodation facilities in the country, and Israeli guests are interested in our winter resorts, cultural tourism in big cities and Bulgarian spa resorts.

According to prof. Modeva, in the last winter season 2021/2022, more than 1.2 million registrations of Bulgarian and foreign tourists were recorded in the accommodation facilities, and this winter season is expected to be even better. According to the data of the municipalities, in Bansko an increase of tourists of about 12% is expected, in Pamporovo - about 14%, in Borovets also good results are expected.

The Deputy Minister pointed out that both countries have a wide range of tourism products that attract tourists from all over the world. “Bulgaria is a beautiful country with a diverse combined tourism product and our joint work in promoting it will contribute positively to the tourism flow of both countries. At the same time, airports are the first thing tourists see when they arrive in their chosen destination, this is the reason why good relations and fruitful work with airport operators is among the priorities of the Ministry of Tourism,” Deputy Minister Modeva said.

The airline pointed out that over the past few years there has been a large increase in the number of passengers booking flights to Sofia and this trend is sustainable in the winter season. Therefore, EL AL considers Sofia as a strategic route.

Sofia Airport CEO Jesús Caballero also shared his optimistic expectations for the upcoming winter season. A new route between Sofia and Tel Aviv will start operating at the beginning of the year, which will provide more travel opportunities and additional revenue for the tourism industry, he stressed.

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