Israeli tour company Da'at ceases operations due to COVID-19

The Covid-19 pandemic significantly hampered the efficacy of Israeli tourism and caused severe damage to the travel industry as a whole.

Illustrative image of a plane. (photo credit: REUTERS/SARAH MEYSSONNIER)
Illustrative image of a plane.
(photo credit: REUTERS/SARAH MEYSSONNIER)

Da’at, a veteran Israeli tour company that has brought clients to Israel for the past 30 years, is ceasing operations, a company newsletter announced. The shutdown was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly hampered Israeli tourism, and caused severe damage to the travel industry as a whole.

“It is difficult to comprehend and fathom the economic and emotional havoc the corona crisis has wreaked on the world of tourism, our company included,” wrote Da’at tour operator head Ya’acov Fried. “In order to simply maintain Da’at’s infrastructure, the backbone of our team, while continuing to plan and create trips, which in most cases were repeatedly postponed and canceled, I was required to keep subsidizing the company’s operation on a growing scale.”

The announcement came on the heels of the Israeli government’s decision to allow the Health Ministry to update its list of red countries on a daily basis, essentially smothering any ability to plan future travel.

“Any tour guide that relies on incoming tourists for their sole source of income is at the end of their rope,” tour guide Mike Wiesner told The Jerusalem Post earlier this month. “It’s really very simple: No tourists, no income. It’s frustrating that we tour guides need to demonstrate and march against the government, which simply won’t give us the opportunity to earn a living.”

Travel agents across the country continue to protest government actions regarding the tourism industry.

Alongside the news of Da’at’s cessation, Fried took the opportunity to promote two books on which he collaborated: Heartbeats: The Insider’s Guide to Israel: An Anthology by Tour Educators, which was published earlier this year, and the upcoming book The Beating Heart: Exploration of Jewish  Communities Worldwide.

 Independent business owners and workers from the tourism sector protest, calling for financial support from the Israeli government, outside the Ben Gurion International Airport, on December 13, 2021 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90) Independent business owners and workers from the tourism sector protest, calling for financial support from the Israeli government, outside the Ben Gurion International Airport, on December 13, 2021 (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

“Both books offer a unique methodology of experiencing Israel and the Jewish world without having to leave one’s home,” wrote Fried. “We are opening the door to an opportunity to delve deeper not only into the destinations but into oneself.”