One the outcomes of the new global financial climate is the shift from groups to customized private car FIT's, according to Ady Gelber, president and owner of tour operator Isramworld.
"While groups and motorcoach tours continue to be a very substantial part of our business," Gelber reported, "we have seen a 24 percent increase in customized FIT's in the first months of 2011 in comparison with 2010."
Gelber said there is a growing awareness amongst sophisticated travelers that traveling individually and at one's own pace is the 21st century way to take a vacation. He said that one of the elements that sets Isramworld apart is its team of Destination Experts, people who have grown up in - or are intimately familiar with - a certain region, people who are able to give clients and agents the kind of inside scoop usually only available from a local ground operator.
"Our destination experts are also able to sense what's currently in and currently not in their clients' eyes," Gelber said. For instance, according to Isramworld's Orient & China Destination Expert, Adam Mazo, the hottest destinations for 2011 are Vietnam and Laos.
In South America, says Destination Expert Cristina Almeida, Buenos Aires is a total must that no traveler is willing to miss. Eliza Pardo, Isramworld's Spain and Portugal Destination Expert reports that 45 percent of Spain travelers want to include a visit to Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Tina Ellis, the company's Israel Destination Expert has seen a dramatic increase in interest in staying in some of the country's luxurious new boutique hotels, particularly in the Galilee.