Bulgarian Energy and Economy Minister Delyan Dobrev has said that the flow of tourists from Israel has returned to normal.
Dobrev told journalists Friday that the July 18 bus bombing at the Sarafovo Airport in Burgas had caused a temporary decrease in tourist flows from Israel but added that the numbers of tourists had returned to normal, matching the forecasts from the beginning of the season.
The terror attack in the Bulgarian Black Sea coastal city killed seven, including five Israeli tourists, the Bulgarian bus driver and the suspected suicide bomber.
Dobrev announced that 28 charter flights from Israel had landed in Bulgaria last week, meaning that the tourist flow from the country had been fully restored.
He suggested that the normalization of the tourist flow from Israel had happened thanks to the visit of Israeli Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov to Bulgaria and Delyan Dobrev’s visit to Israel and the promotional campaign for Bulgaria published by four of the largest print editions in Israel and the interviews aired on local TV channels.
Dobrev claimed that the problems with the bankrupt tour operator Bulgarian VIP Tours (BVT) would not affect the summer season in any way.
He pointed out that the Ministry of Energy, Economy and Tourism had pooled efforts with tour operators and hotel owners to take timely steps to prevent a situation like last year’s scandal with Alma Tour.
In September 2011, Bulgaria Air, Bulgaria’s national airline carrier and heir to Balkan Airlines, cancelled a number of flights to Russia and Finland booked by bankrupt tour operator Alma Tour, saying that the company owed them EUR 3.6 M.
The dispute left some 700 Russians, 200 Finns and dozens of Lithuanians stranded in Bulgaria for days.
In his Friday statement, Dobrev admitted that the news of BVT’s bankruptcy had resulted in some hotel owners asking tourists to re-pay their stay.
However, Dobrev emphasized, the situation had been resolved after talks with the hotel administrations.
He said that BVT’s commitments were being taken care of by other Bulgarian tour operators who were working with Russian, Moldovan and Iranian tour operators.
Dobrev attended Friday the miners’ feasts in the southern cities of Madan and Zlatograd.