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IH&RA President Honored in Bulgaria

Date: 10.08.2009

GENEVA, 10 August 2009

IH&RA President Dr. Ghassan AIDI was named an honorary citizen of Bulgaria at the Velingrad Spa Capital of the Balkans on 8 July 2009.

During a ten-day visit in Bulgaria, Dr. AIDI attended several meetings and press conferences with the Bulgarian hoteliers. Among those attending the ceremony were many notable public officials: the Vice President of Bulgaria Mr. Angel Marin, President of the National Assembly Mr. Georgi Pirinski, President of the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association Mr. Blagoy Ragin, Mayor of Sofia Mr. Boyko Borisov, Mayor of Velingrad Mr. Ivan Lebanov, and Minister of Tourism Mrs. Alenia Krushkowa. Also in attendance were presidents from various associations in the Balkans, including Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.

In his speech, Dr. AIDI stated that Bulgaria should strive to become a quality destination by applying the European standards of hospitality. He pointed out that Bulgaria, the heart of the Balkans, has a bright future. Through the development of its link between eastern and western Europe, Bulgaria will see many successes as a tourist destination. He also discussed the hospitality market, and advised the hoteliers to correctly define their products as well as the markets where that product would be sold.

“Since I became the President of IH&RA,” Dr. AIDI spoke, “I concentrated our efforts on the Balkans’ new, emerging European market. IH&RA wants to help Bulgaria become an attractive destination in Europe. It has the gift of linking the East and West, a very attractive quality for tourists of all parts of the world.”

Dr. AIDI explained how Bulgaria can see itself into a new level of hospitality. “The public sector must cooperate closely with the private sector to improve the infrastructure of the country and the standards of their hospitality industry. We will lead Bulgaria towards the next generation by creating an office to help hoteliers to achieve the standards of European hospitality and become an example for the Balkan region.” For over thirteen centuries, Bulgaria has been the link between the East and West. Located in southeastern Europe, Bulgaria occupies the northeastern part of the Balkan Peninsula.

IH&RA was founded in 1946 and is the only global business organization representing the hospitality industry worldwide. Officially recognized by United Nations, IH&RA monitors and lobbies all international agencies on behalf of this industry. It is estimated to include 200 000 hotels and 6 million restaurants.

For more information, contact: Leila Sidawy or Thalis Papadopoulos at +41 (0) 22 734 80 41 or by email at the official website at

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