Tzell Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Tzell President Gail Grimmett, Tzell Chairman Barry Liben and Alan Cumming

Tzell Travel Group celebrated its 50th anniversary last week with a black-tie gala on Ellis Island in New York City. Award-winning actors Alan Cumming and Sarah Jessica Parker, who are Tzell clients themselves, served as co-hosts for the 1,000 VIP guests attending the Tzell Gala. Earlier that day, 100 leaders from Tzell’s 59 Branches from throughout the United States and United Kingdom met for a session with top executives from some of the travel industry’s key segments.

Our partner publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, had the chance to discuss the 50th anniversary with Barry Liben, chairman of Tzell Travel Group and Protravel International, and Gail Grimmett, president of Travel Leaders Group’s Elite Travel Division, in a recent cover story — you can check that out here

That evening, approximately 500 of Tzell’s top travel agent advisors participated in an exclusive trade show to network with nearly 150 travel supplier partners. Among the roster of partners – participating not only in the trade show, but also among the top sponsors of the entire two days of events – is Delta Air Lines, designated as the sole Diamond Sponsor of the Tzell 50th Celebration.

Delta Air Lines President of International and Executive Vice President of Global Sales Steve Sear delivered a keynote address and was among those helping to officially kick off the Tzell Branch Meeting.

Tzell Chairman Barry Liben noted the enterprise’s dramatic growth since 1966. “Through all the ups and downs and pressures on our industry, Tzell has grown from two people at its inception to over 1,200 people today. We’ve grown from sales of just $4,000 per week to more than $30 million today.”

The crowd at the black tie gala on Ellis Island

When Tzell was originally founded in New York by Eli Blau in 1966, its initial mission was to assist travelers wishing to travel to and from Israel. That bond has been cited by Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, who stated, “You have demonstrated a commendable commitment to Jerusalem and Israel’s history and future. Your support of institutions in our capital ensures that the millions of visitors to our city each year can interact with the Jewish people’s rich history in a meaningful way.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also offered his congratulations, saying, “I am grateful to Tzell Travel Group for helping promote our diverse cultural and hospitality offerings.”

The conclusion for the 50th anniversary festivities was the Tzell Gala, which included many of Tzell’s celebrity clients from the worlds of entertainment, sports and politics, such as explorer and author Josh Bernstein, stylist and fashion consultant Stacy London, pop artist Peter Max, songwriter and musician Ric Ocasek, actor Adam Pally and model and actress Paulina Porizkova. All invited guests boarded specially-chartered ferries for a scenic 30-minute ride from lower Manhattan to the Ellis Island National Monument. The Tzell Gala celebration closed as a special fireworks display illuminated the sky above the Statue of Liberty.