Egged Tours, a subsidiary of the Egged bus cooperative, announced Monday that it
is expanding its operations and forming a new department to specialize in Jewish
travel to Israel.
The new department, to be called Israel Way, will
attempt to capitalize on the increase in incoming tourism and build up its
capabilities in the field of Jewish educational tours.RELATED:Travel in space: Viewing the galaxy from IsraelDutch ad watchdog criticizes Israeli tourism maps
According to Egged
Tours CEO Guy Kahn, the move is part of the company’s growth strategy for the
next 10-15 years, during which they hope to become a leader in the
Egged Tours currently controls 60 percent of the market in
domestic educational tours, working with schools, youth movements and other
organizations, providing full operational and educational support.
new department will adapt the company’s experience in the field to formulate
tours for Jewish children, teens and adults coming from abroad.
backbone of our company’s operations are the 2,000 tour buses we own and can
utilize at any time, and our staff of Education Ministry- certified instructors
who are licensed to lead tours and train additional staff,” said
“We plan to cater to all sorts of Jewish visitors, working with
governmental, or semi-governmental projects like Birthright and Masa, working
with national Jewish organizations and with particular Jewish communities,” said
Kahn. “If someone’s son has a bar mitzva and wants to plan a tour to Israel with
60 people, we’ll do that too.”
According to Kahn, all Egged’s tours are
tailor-made, based on the client’s demands and provide a mixture of fun together
with Jewish value-based educational programming.
Running the new
department will be Danny Mor, the former CEO of the Israel Experience, a
subsidiary of the Jewish Agency.
“Danny brings with him years of
experience from the front lines of educational tourism,” said Kahn. “Under him
is a staff of 150 tourism professionals that provide expertise in planning and
designing trips, leading groups in the field and teaching about Israel and
“The new department is split up according to regions of
origin and we have staff that specialize in creating tours for people from North
America, Latin America, the former Soviet Union countries and Western Europe,”
said Kahn. “Some of the people already work with us and some are undergoing the
hiring process now.”
Kahn stressed that Egged is a commercial, not a
political, body and that its tours will be void of a particular political
“We will not engage in any content that is illegal, but we will
present the participants with controversial issues. We believe that part of the
educational experience is confronting participants with the issues and making
them think about them. We will not present one-dimensional pictures. We
believe that that misses the point,” said Kahn.
Kahn realizes that in
making the move to expand, Egged Tours will be stepping on other companies’
toes, but said he is convinced that there is enough room for other
“The incoming tourism market is growing. According to the
Tourism Ministry, there is a 10% growth in Jewish tourism to Israel on average
every year. We realize this is a competitive market, but we believe that we have
the resources to become a major player. At the end, those who benefit will be
the tourists,” said Kahn.
When asked about the company’s plans for the
future, Kahn said that after the development of the Jewish travel department,
Egged Tours would seek to work with non- Jewish groups, too.
the content and the emphasis will be different, but that’s where we’re aiming,”