NEW YORK -- Same-sounding business names are compounding the
confusion for Americans dealing with tourism to Israel.
Confusion, perhaps, is only to be expected by Americans dealing
with a part of the world where written language goes from right to
left, numbers go from left to right and the three major Western
religions claim the same holy sites.
Tourism professionals also are having a tough time with
English-speaking clients who are interested in learning a few words
of the language of the Bible. Having so many similar-sounding
business names in English operating in the same marketplace
compounds the confusion.
For example, for Jewish families enjoying a mazal tov, two
different tour operators, both based in Livingston, N.J.,
specialize in family trips to celebrate a bar/bat mitzvah
coming-of-age ceremony in the Holy Land.
Israel Tour Connection, which always worked through agents,
offers 17 departures this year.
Israel Tours & Travel, sometimes known as "the two ladies
from Livingston," decided two years ago to deal with agents after
28 years of retailing.
Hotels are mixing identities, too.
Israel Hotel Representatives in New York represents the Dans of
Israel Hotels and Resorts there, a chain of eight deluxe properties
in all of the country's major cities.
Israel Hotels Reservation Center in Closter, N.J., however,
represents that country's Isrotel hotels chain, most of which are
located in Eilat, in addition to other hotels and some car rental
The Royal Plaza Israel Hotels & Resorts, based in Jerusalem
but with representation here, is a new chain of "nearly deluxe"
properties around the Holy Land.
But what has always been known in Jerusalem as the deluxe Plaza
hotel a few years ago became a Sheraton.
One point of confusion may be eliminated.
Heavenly International Tours is a 14-year-old Milwaukee-based
company that specializes in Christian travel to Israel, other
Mediterranean-rim countries and Africa.
Heavenly Tours was founded three years ago in San Juan
Capistrano, Calif., and runs Catholic pilgrimages to the Holy Land
and other European holy sites.
Next year, however, Heavenly Tours' brochures will identify the
firm as Heavenly Journeys, and that may help lessen the
Israel Tour Connection
Phone: (888) 2-ISRAEL or (973) 535-2575
Israel Tours & Travel
Phone: (800) 326-ITAS or (201) 992-5073/2679
Israel Hotel Representatives
Phone: (800) 223-7773/4 or (212) 752-6120
Israel Hotels Reservation Center
Phone: (800) 552-0141 or (201) 750-2050
The Royal Plaza Israel Hotels & Resorts
Phone: (800) 538-4683 or (718) 338-6537
Phone: (800) 334-8484
Heavenly International Tours
Phone: (800) 432-8361 or (414) 352-8622
Phone: (800) 723-4111 or (949) 487-9494