Travel pros show camaraderie and good humor at virtual Passover seder

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USTOA CEO Terry Dale at the virtual seder.
USTOA CEO Terry Dale at the virtual seder.

In what is a first, the Israel Ministry of Tourism brought together travel leaders from all corners of the industry for a virtual Passover seder, the ritual meal that accompanies the holiday. 

Also a possible first: talk of commission protection accompanied the breaking of maztah.

Eyal Carlin, the Israel Ministry of Tourism’s commissioner of North America, thanked two of the participants, ASTA CEO Zane Kerby and USTOA CEO Terry Dale, for their efforts to keep the industry afloat. 

ASTA CEO Zane Kerby at the virtual seder organized by Israel's Ministry of Tourism.
ASTA CEO Zane Kerby at the virtual seder organized by Israel's Ministry of Tourism.

“With us, we have two wise leaders whose work to advocate on behalf of the travel industry has been on full display,” Carlin said. “In this crisis, they have known what to say, when to say it and how to act.”

Kerby and Dale read parts of the seder, along with Signature Travel Network CEO Alex Sharpe, Travel Leaders Group vice president of marketing Jim Nathan, MAST Travel Network COO John Werner and representatives from United, American and Delta, as well as Travel Weekly. More than 100 people took part.   

The event included a few quips about the hand-washing element of every Passover seder. “No, really that’s part of the Seder, not just corona paranoia,” Carlin said. Dale’s seder portion reminded everyone that nobody should “rejoice when your enemy is defeated” unless that enemy is coronavirus. 

There were also expressions of hope. Gal Hana, the Israel Ministry of Tourism’s director of Canada, said that while parsley is usually a reminder of springtime growth, “maybe growth is a bit stunted this time around, but it is still important to remember that growth shall return, and with it, prosperity for the travel industry.”

Sharpe, whose technical issues prevented him from showing up on Zoom, wrote a very current list of things to be thankful for right now: enough toilet paper, grocery delivery, Netflix binging and Zoom. He concluded, “If God had made everyone postpone and we got to keep ALL of the commissions … actually that would fix most of our problems!”

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