1. "TUI", THE WORLD'S LARGEST TOURIST CONCERN, ESTABLISHES AN OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE IN ISRAEL.
BY ILAN SHCHORI.
"Tui", the world's largest tourist concern, is establishing an official representative office in Israel, to be headed by Michal Cafcafi, formerly Vice President, Marketing of Africa Israel's Holiday Inn hotel chain in Israel. Uni Amiel, of Amiel Tours, who served as Toy's representative in Israel, was informed by the directors of the company that their contract would expire in a year. According to Michal Cafcafi, until such time as she can take full responsibility for Toy with the expiry of the contract expires between Toy and Amiel Tours, she will be responsible for "Isropa", a Toy subsidiary company, based in Holland that specializes in bringing tourists to Israel. It is still unclear whether Toy intends to include outgoing tourism in the Israel operation and if the company will also expand its operation in the hotel and aviation industries.
Tui, the largest tourist concern in the world, operates in 69 countries and owns 3,628 travel agencies around the world, in addition to owning aviation companies. Apart from Thompson, the English charter company purchased by Toy just two weeks ago, the company also owns Levid, the aviation company in Germany, and JMC in England. These two companies operate 62 airplanes with a seating capacity of 14,000. The Tui travel company owns 187 hotels throughout Europe, with 92,552 beds. The company, which has connections with 400 subsidiary companies throughout the world, also owns Robinson, the leisure club that operates in 19 countries and is generally recognized as one of the leading and most successful holiday villages in the world.
2. BID BY AMNON LIPKIN SHACHAK TO RETAIN THE TOURISM MINISTRY IN ADDITION TO THE TRANSPORT MINISTRY.
Minister of Tourism, Amnon Lipkin Shachak, is attempting to retain the Tourism portfolio in addition to the Transport Ministry. Minister Lipkin Shachak told Tourist Guide this week: "Everything's still open. There could well be a situation in which I will remain as Minister of Tourism." In the meantime, Finance Minister Avraham Beige Shochat has transferred a one-time supplement of 30 million shekels to the Tourism Ministry for its marketing budget.
According to the Tourism Ministry, Lipkin Shachak's great achievement lies in his activities related to security checks at Ben Gurion Airport, where he has succeeded in increasing the number of passport control booths and thereby releasing the pressure on passenger traffic both in and out of Israel.
3. SHOCK IN THE TOURISM INDUSTRY FOLLOWING THE TRAGIC DEATH IN TURKEY OF TRAVEL AGENT OTI FELDMAN
The travel industry was in shock this week, following the tragic death in Turkey of Oti Feldman, a 32-year-old travel agent from South Tours, the Rehovot-based agency.
Last weekend, Oti Feldman was in Turkey, on a study tour for travel agents sponsored by Clal Aviation. During a rafting cruise organized by Mediraft on the Korpolo River in Antalya, the kayak in which Oti and her husband Baruch were sailing capsized. Oti, who suffered with asthma, stopped breathing and despite efforts to resuscitate her both on the spot and at the hospital to which she was evacuated, she died several hours later.
Oti Feldman had worked for the last three years at South Tours in Rehovot. Arie Foster, manager of South Tours said, "Oti was a very conscientious employee. Our loss is very hard. All our clients would always talk about her outstanding work. She was good-natured and the sense of loss with her death is considerable." added Arie Foster.
4. 51% INCREASE IN TOURIST GROUPS VISITING ISRAEL COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS YEAR.
3,370 tourist groups visited Israel during May 2000, as opposed to 2,220 tourist groups who visited during May 1999 - an increase of 51%. According to these statistics, some 90,000 tourists visited Israel in coaches and minibuses. These figures were released this week by Ami Etgar, CEO of the Incoming Tourism Organizers Bureau, who said that part of the increase was due to groups staying in the Palestinian Authority.
5. THE GAL OR COMPANY WILL MARKET THE GILBOA COMPUTER PROGRAM WORLDWIDE AND ADAPT IT FOR DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.
The Gilboa computer program for managing travel agencies, produced by Gal Or, will now be marketed worldwide and adapted to the operations in different countries. It would appear that Greece will be the first country to use the Israeli program. This, according to Danny Chrost, Gal Or's recently-appointed Marketing Manager.
Gal Or was established eleven years ago by Orli and Elitsur Levnoni. With assistance from El Al, the company developed a program that enabled travel agencies to open computerized travel files for their customers. Danny Chrost told Tourist Guide that, as of now, the company will participate in all the major international tourist exhibitions and present the Gilboa program. The Gilboa program was presented for the first time at Pow Wow, the convention for the American travel industry that took place a few weeks ago in Dallas, Texas. The program was presented to an audience of American tourism personnel at the program's special stand located in the booth of Tourico, the American company. Chrost added that the Gilboa program offers solutions for incoming tourism, for flight management in charter companies, for wholesaling activities and more.
6.CLAL AVIATION: PRESTIGE AND LUXURY AT THE CASSANDRA HOTEL IN ANTALYA, TURKEY.
The Clal Aviation company, headed by CEO Sia Harsit, revealed the last word in Turkish hotels to a group of several hundred travel agents: the Cassandra Hotel in Antalya, which cost more than $60 million to build. This luxurious holiday village operates on an "all inclusive" basis, with unlimited soft and alcoholic drinks available to guests throughout the day. The 420-room hotel features restaurants, massage, water sports, bowling and much more - all at no extra cost. A spa, covered swimming pool, saunas and Turkish bath are all located in the main building. In the evenings, guests can enjoy a performance by the hotel entertainment team. Children can take advantage of the many special activities in the hotel.
Shai Marina, Operations Manager for Clal Aviation, said that Clal Aviation will market the hotel to Israelis in packages including flights and 3-7 nights accommodation. Flights will be with Alpha, the charter company that is represented by Clal Aviation. Prices will be slightly higher than other luxury hotels on the Antalya coast. Prices for the first half of June will start at $369 per person for 3 nights accommodation in a double room and flights, and $409 per person for a four-night flights and accommodation package.
7. RITZ CARLTON WANTS TO BUILD A HOTEL IN TEL AVIV
Ritz Carlton, the prestigious international hotel chain, intends to open a hotel in Tel Aviv within the near future. Joanne Curtz Ahler, International Vice President, Sales and Business Development of the Ritz Carlton chain, revealed in a special interview with Tourist Guide that the chain will build a hotel in Israel within the next three to five years. Several years ago, Ritz Carlton attempted to build a luxury hotel on the Tel Aviv shoreline but negotiations between the two sides broke down even before the actual planning stage and Ritz Carlton withdrew its plans.
The chain has 40 hotels in the world's major cities and famous resort centers. 20 of the chain's hotels hold senior ranking in a list of the 50 best hotels in the world. Last year, Ritz Carlton opened a hotel in Egypt, near Sharm El Sheikh, which is marketed to Israelis by the Diesenhaus company. The hotel is situated on the Umm El Sid beach, just 20 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes from the center of town, and extends over 100,000 square meters. The hotel has 307 rooms and suites at six different standards of accommodation.
8. RAFI WIENER IS APPOINTED PRESIDENT AND CEO OF MARRIOTT HOTELS IN ISRAEL.
HEI Hotels, owners of the Marriott Hotel in Nazareth, have appointed Rafi Wiener President and CEO of the company in Israel. Rafi Wiener was formerly Operations Manager at Sheraton Moriah Hotels in Israel. HEI Hotels, owned by brothers Steve and Gerry Mendel from the USA and the Zavlodovitz family from Israel and Europe, holds the Marriott franchise in Israel.
The company manages the new 258-room Marriott Hotel in Nazareth Illit, the new 245-room Nazareth Renaissance Hotel and the 86-room Carmel Beach Hotel in Haifa that will soon change its name to the Haifa Marriott. The international Marriott chain owns over 2000 hotels in different countries around the world, with 330,000 rooms and suites and 140,000 employees. Previously, Rafi Wiener served as CEO of the recently merged Sheraton Israel and Radisson Moriah.
9. IDENTIFY WITH THE NORTH AND VACATION IN MANARA
Requests for accommodation have been flooding in to the guesthouse at Kibbutz Manara in recent days from both institutions and individuals, as part of the wave of identification with the North that has swept the country. There are 59 guestrooms at Kibbutz Manara. The kibbutz is located 888 meters above sea level on the ridge of the Naftali Mountains and overlooks the Hula valley, the Galilee panhandle and the mountains of the Golan.
10. AT KFAR GILADI, THEY HAVEN'T FORGOTTEN THE RESIDENTS OF SOUTHERN LEBANON.
General Antoine Lahat recently visited the families of the former South Lebanese Army who were staying at Kfar Giladi. Meni Griffen, the hotel manager, said that, since the day of the withdrawal, SLA families have been staying at the hotel. He added that the hotel is taking care of all their needs and keeping the children busy. Within the next few days, the SLA families will leave the hotel, vacating their rooms for tourist groups who are expected to arrive from overseas.
11. FOLLOWING THE POPE'S VISIT: A NEW MOVIE MARKETING THE STATE OF ISRAEL.
Following the Pope's visit to Israel last March, the Ministry of Tourism, in association with the Government Publications Office, has produced a new marketing movie that describes the visit of Pope John Paul II to Israel. The movie is intended to take advantage of the Pope's visit, using it as a stimulus to encourage Christian tourism to Israel from all over the world. The movie features the words of the Pope on inter faith understanding and universal peace, while presenting Israel as an interesting destination and one that is important to visit.
The movie uses footage shot by the Israeli television channels 1 and 2, the Italian RAI channel, the Government Press Office, and Albatross, the aerial photography company. The movie is being distributed to overseas offices of the Ministry of Tourism, where it will be presented in various languages and be incorporated into the marketing activities of the various tourism offices.
12. THE HUNGARIAN TOURIST OFFICE OPENS IN ISRAEL
Last week, the Hungarian Tourist Office was opened in Israel. "In 1999, 72,000 Israelis visited Hungary, and we are anticipating a 50% increase over the next five-six years." Said Dr. Peter Kraft, Deputy Minister responsible for tourism. Israel is one of the first three countries outside Europe where the Government of Hungary has opened a tourist office. It is seen as an important partner in the tourism industry. The Tourism Office, which operates within the framework of the Hungarian Ministry for Trade and Industry, aims to encourage and promote outgoing tourism from Israel to Hungary. In 1999, more than 70,000 Israelis visited Hungary, most of them as tourists. With the opening of this office, the Hungarian Government expects an increase of 50% in traffic up to the year 2003.
13. HAVE A NICE FLIGHT. AND WHAT ABOUT LACK OF SLEEP AND THE RISK OF RADIATION?
Moshe Lehrer writes in his personal column (under the pen name Jeremy Rosencrantz) that he flies over 200,000 miles a year. "I've tried everything, from sleeping pills and Bloody Marys to sleeping masks. It doesn't help. Jet lag is killing me." In the professional magazines published in the United States, the problems of jet lag are taken very seriously. Many people suffer from jet lag and there are many different suggestions of how to deal with it, such as a special Thai massage - a combination of a facial massage and a steam massage designed to relax - that is intended to relieve jet lag, for $85. Shuli Naor, who has worked with El Al for 39 years, suggests flying to New York at night, but she is more concerned about the risks of radiation.
14. IT'S POSSIBLE TO STOP THE NEXT DISASTER!
In his weekly editorial column, "A Personal Angle", editor Ilan Shchori writes that it is possible to stop the next disaster affecting the Israeli tourist abroad. He claims that the tragedy that happened last weekend during a study tour for travel agents in Turkey, when travel agent Oti Feldman met her death while rafting on the Korpolo River in Antalya, should teach us a lesson and serve as a warning to Israeli travelers around the world. It could be that, in this particular case, there was not sufficient adherence to the general safety rules in times of emergency, either by the deceased or by the company organizing the rafting. There can be no doubt that this unnecessary and sad death could have been avoided. This is neither the first nor the last time that Israelis will be killed during a trip overseas. For our own sakes, we should ascertain and absorb all the safety rules, before we set out on a dangerous adventure trip either here or abroad, of the type that could lead to such tragedies. If the accompanying team of professionals warns people with particular illnesses or certain physical restrictions, then they should not take part in the trip. And how foolish it is if someone chooses to ignore the warnings of the organizers or falsifies personal information on a health declaration form, such as is generally requested by the organizers of dangerous activities. Just who do we think we are cheating, if not ourselves?