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Bulgaria and Israel to Strengthen Strategic Cooperation on Tourism and Security

Israeli Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov, together with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev, at a joint press conference held on Monday in Sofia, Bulgaria, announced that Bulgaria and Israel will strengthen strategic cooperation in the areas of tourism and security.

Minister Misezhnikov, who arrived in Bulgaria at the head of a delegation of senior representatives of the Israeli tourism industry, thanked the Bulgarian Prime Minister on behalf of the Israeli Government for the effective care given by the Bulgarian Government to the terror victims, and for the competent investigation of the attack.

During the press conference, the minister stated that the terrorists, who tried to damage the relations between the two countries, must not be allowed to succeed, and that the answer to terror is to strengthen the ties in all areas.

President Plevneliev stated that, in his talks with US President Barack Obama and the British Prime Minister David Cameron, it was stressed that those responsible for the terror attack would brought to justice. According to the President, the Bulgarian authorities are fully cooperating with the United States and with European security forces, who are now following intelligence warnings regarding the Olympic Games in London.

Government representatives from Israel and Bulgaria will meet in Jerusalem in September to discuss bilateral cooperation. In October, the Bulgarian President will arrive in Israel on a state visit.

Bulgarians holds a soft spot for Israeli vacationers and vice versa. 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, more 8,000 Bulgarian tourists visited Israel.

On Tuesday morning, Tourism Minister Misezhnikov will hold an official memorial ceremony at the site of the terror attack and lay a wreath on behalf of the Government of Israel. The minister will meet with the governors and mayors of Burgus and Varna, the two main tourism destinations for Israeli vacationers in Bulgaria. In addition, the minister will tour the hotels and entertainment areas in the region frequented by Israelis and meet with the heads of the Jewish community in Bulgaria.

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