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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"Breaking Bread Journeys" – a new Palestinian and Israeli tourism concept


February 2014

Jerusalem -- "Breaking Bread Journeys" is a new Palestinian and Israeli experiential tourism concept that will be introduced to the US travel industry and media at the National Tour Association annual conference in February in Los Angeles. The concept was recently created by two tour operators, Christina Samara, a Palestinian and owner of Samara Tourist and Travel Agency, and Elisa Moed, founder of Israel-based Travelujah. Both women were introduced by Tony Blair’s Quartet Initiative and are launching this new tourism concept with the support of the United States Agency for International Development under the Compete Project in the West Bank, which emphasizes economic development, including tourism, as a path to peace and stability.

"We realized that travel brings people together in many positive ways and helps in the pursuit of stability, prosperity and peace in the entire Holy Land," said Christina Samara. "So we designed a set of very special Palestinian and Israeli cultural and historic tours that include many of the classical sites that both of our companies have long been offering."

"However, we believed that what tourists really want is to experience the land in a personal way and we knew that by working together we could provide authentic experiences that would otherwise be virtually impossible," explained Elisa Moed. "Each of our experiences provides opportunities for small groups to engage directly with local communities. These include experiences for faith-based clientele, as well as other market segments that are keen to learn and enjoy local traditional cuisine, art, and music and, of course, break bread with the people of the land."

Tourism to the Holy Land is important for both Israelis and Palestinians. In 2013, the Israeli tourism sector received 3.56 million visitors, and the Palestinian tourism industry is estimated to have received over 1.9 million visitors. In fact, visitors to the Palestinian Territories increased an estimated 40% from 2007 to 2013 – a positive sign that the region can safely receive increasing numbers of visitors.

"We intend to visit Los Angeles during the period of 16th – 20th of February 2014 where we will be meeting tour industry professionals in the United States and we look forward to meeting tour operators, media and organizations interested in offering our rich, comprehensive cultural and faith experiences in the Holy Land," said Samara.

Samara Tourist and Travel Agency is being supported in the development of this initiative by the United States Agency for International Development through their COMPETE project in the West Bank as part of the Agency’s strategy to develop the Palestinian tourism sector and to make a significant impact in job creation and increased investment.

To view a brief Breaking Bread Journey tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CY5RbCrMu70

For more information, contact Christina Samara at +972-54-237-5288 or Elisa Moed at +972-52-744-4033. They can also be reached via email at:

christina@breakingbreadjourneys.com  or elisa@breakingbreadjourneys.com

Website: www.breakingbreadjourneys.com


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

NTA Offers Program for Travel Agents at Annual Conference (Travel Pulse)

Article link: http://www.travelpulse.com/news/tour-operators/nta-offers-program-for-travel-agents-at-annual-conference.html?u=7DA3C055-553E-419C-9FEC-25BC4842A38A

NTA, the travel association formerly known as the National Tour Association, is inviting travel agents to attend its annual convention in Los Angeles in February and has lined up two days’ worth of events especially for them.
The NTA Convention, now held in tandem with the UMA Expo of the United Motorcoach Association in a combined event called the Travel Exchange, will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles Feb. 16-20. The program for travel agents will take place Feb. 19-20.
The event will bring together most of its 700-plus tour operator members and thousands of hotels, museums, restaurants, attractions and destinations that are associate members of NTA.
It is the first time a program has been arranged at the NTA convention specifically for travel agents. “Travel agents have been invited to attend for networking before, but this is the first time we have a program for them,” said Suzanne Slavitter, co- owner Sports Empire and chair of the NTA Travel Agent. “This year we have set it up for one-on-one meetings between travel agents and tour operators, and we are offering seminars geared towards agents as well as tour operators.”
ARTA, the Association of Retail Travel Agents, and OSSN, the Outside Sales Support Network, are both on board in partnership with NTA in support of the new travel agent component of NTA’s annual convention.
The centerpiece of the travel agent program is a roundtable networking session between tour operators and travel agents in which travel agents will have their own table stations and tour operators will move from table to table to meet agents and talk. Travel agents will also be able to have one-on-one meetings with representatives of destinations and suppliers.
Educational seminars held on Wednesday, Feb. 19, will also be open to travel agents in attendance. Some are particularly relevant to travel agents, according to Slavitter, such as the seminars on the Hispanic travel market and on faith-based travel.
There will also be a travel agent town hall meeting with tour operators, a travel agent and a supplier on a panel for discussion of relevant topics.
NTA is giving a $50 Amex gift card to one agent in a drawing this week. All agents who are registered by Friday, Feb. 7, are eligible to win. At the conference, NTA will be giving away $500 Delta vouchers to two agents.
The cost to attend is $49. Agents can sign up at the NTA website.