Several of the world’s holiest sites, rich Biblical history, and sunny stretches of beaches along the Mediterranean Sea all await your group in Israel. For travelers looking for a spiritual experience and abundant adventures, Israel ranks among the top global destinations. We spoke with Jill Daly, director of the Midwest region for the Israel Ministry of Tourism, to learn more about why groups should add the destination to their tour roster.
Q. Why should tour operators and planners consider traveling to Israel right now?
A. As the world opens for travel again, travelers are seeking destinations that evoke a deeper connection. At one time, Israel was a bucket list destination. The pandemic taught us not to wait. Many travelers want to return, bringing family and friends who haven’t been there. Israel is one of the most resold destinations. Selling Israel gives you the opportunity for continued future business.
Q. How safe is Israel? Isn’t it just for religious travelers?
A. Israel has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. We take safety very seriously and do everything to ensure our guests’ peace of mind. As a woman, I feel safe traveling solo, walking confidently back to my hotel at night without worry. Israel is not just for the religious traveler. [Whether] wine lovers, adventure seekers, [or] those who are interested in archeology—there is something for everyone.
Q. How can the Israel Ministry of Tourism assist tour operators?
A. The Israel Ministry of Tourism helps operators plan trips. To expand your international business, add Israel to your schedule. If you host travel to Italy, Greece, or Spain, Israel is a natural extension. As a tourism board, we have connections to agents, suppliers, hotel partners, etc., and work to make it happen. We also do webinars on Israeli sites, providing knowledge about the destination and helping them see Israel as a viable destination. Our website features an Israel specialist course for those specializing in Israel travel.
Q. What types of activities or tours are trending right now in Israel?
A. While Israel offers more than religious travel, that theme is still the No. 1 reason tourists come to Israel. Hot trends include culinary tours where travelers dine with locals, shop in the market, and take cooking classes. Also, multigenerational travel, where families share history and culture, is very popular.
Q. What are the most popular venues for groups to see in Israel?
A. Jerusalem continues to be one of the most popular places to visit, as well as sites like Caesarea and Masada, which are outdoors and give groups plenty of room for exploring.
Q. What should travelers know before they go?
A. Over 50% of travelers arrive as part of an organized group, and we are uniquely equipped for [them]. Israel is a great destination any time of year. Temperatures are mild—with warmer temperatures during the summer and cooler temperatures in winter. When packing, comfort is key. Israelis are casual, so formal dress is not necessary. Travelers will do a lot of walking, so tennis shoes are the best option. If you’re planning to visit religious sites, be prepared with long pants and skirts, and shoulders must be covered to enter these locations. Israeli breakfasts are large and varied. Be prepared to eat well!
Written by Mira Temkin
Featured Image: Jerusalem; Credit: Robert Bye/Unsplash