Isram Forms Agent Advisory Board

With CEO Ady Gelber back at the helm of IsramWorld, the agent-exclusive tour operator is now laying the groundwork for an active 2008, which will see the formation of a travel agent advisory board.  Ady Gelber

The decision stems from the company's commitment to travel agents, the best and least expensive channel for distribution, Gelber told Travel Agent during a visit to his Park Avenue office in New York. "We're looking to do better by the travel agents—and we're not just talking commissions here," he says.

Isram, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this May, is in the throes of assembling an advisory board of agency heads to routinely discuss how Isram can better serve the agent community. Invitations to join the board already have been sent—though Gelber declined to say to whom—and the first meeting is set for June.

"For our developments in 2008, I will need their input," he says. "The same loyalty that we show to travel agents, we expect they will show to us."

In recent weeks, Isram has announced a series of new tours and service enhancements.

Beginning April 17, the company will extend the hours of its New York headquarters to 8 p.m. Eastern time to accommodate agents in the Midwest and on the West Coast.

Family Travel on the Rise

Believing family travel is "no longer limited to theme parks and beach holidays," Isram earlier this month unveiled a new series of family-oriented vacation packages in Asia, like "Family Fun Thailand," a seven-night vacation with stops in Bangkok, the floating market and the Golden Triangle area. This is in addition to a new family tour in central Europe, the 12-day "Family Discovery Tour," with stops in Budapest, Prague, Vienna and Salzburg. "Family travel is growing very much," Gelber says.

He attributes about 48 percent of the company's business to trips to Israel, followed by the Orient and Latin America. IsramWorld, which houses seven specialty tour operators, also offers educational excursions for doctors with the Academy for International Medical Study, as well as Jewish heritage tours through the AJCongress International Travel Program.

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