Israel Cancels Bulgaria Flights After Blast

Some 23 charter flights from Israel have been cancelled since the recent suicide bombing in Burgas on the Black Sea, the Bulgarian Tourism Minister said, adding that every effort must be made to keep cancellations to a minimum.Delyan Dobrev, the Bulgarian Economy, Energy and Tourism Minister, said the cancellations had affected 3,000 tourists.

The number was not large, but it was important to make every possible effort to keep these cancellations to a minimum, he said.In an interview with Nova TV on Wednesday, Dobrev also said he did not expect any further problems in the tourism sector in 2013.

He also argued that it was impossible to legislate for terrorist attacks and threats within the framework of the Tourism Act, which was submitted to Bulgaria’s parliament last week.

“There is no way to write such protection into legislation. What we can do is work harder in the tourism industry to prevent a further exodus,” he said.

“The good news is that such a fall-off in tourism is linked only to Israel at the present time, and the short drop in Israeli tourists has been made up by visitors from other countries.”

The minister noted that the 138,000 Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in 2011 made up just 6 per cent of all 8.5 million tourists that year.

“In 2012, we expected an increase of 10 per cent of visitors from Israel. It is too early to say if these expectations will be met,” Dobrev continued.

Five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver died in last Wednesday’s suicide bombing at the Sarafavo Airport in Burgas on the Black Sea.

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